PokerBaazi parent plans $15 million ad spending

NEW DELHI : Moonshine Technology Pvt. Ltd, which runs online platform PokerBaazi, said it plans to spend $12-15 million this financial year on advertising and marketing activity, a threefold increase from last year.

Moonshine, which also runs apps like CardBaazi and fantasy cricket game BalleBaazi, is also looking to offer new card games such as Solitaire.“Now we think it’s an apt time to take poker to the masses and so, we are tripling our marketing and advertising budgets,” said Moonshine co-founder and chief marketing officer Varun Ganjoo. “In gaming, the topmost source of discovery is through peer recommendations. And so, the experience of a user becomes important,” he said.

The company’s games fall in the real money gaming category. Moonshine had started its business with PokerBaazi, later expanding into fantasy sports and card games like rummy etc.

“Poker is a game of skill, and is in the real money gaming category. But we are marketing it more like a sport and not a game, and are also looking at tying up with management institutes and corporates,” he said. Ganjoo claimed that PokerBaazi has over 150,000 monthly active users and 20,000 daily active users. Its other apps like fantasy cricket have a more fluctuating user base. Overall, its user base is 12 million with 3 million exclusively playing poker and a majority playing fantasy cricket, he added.

Moonshine’s subsidiaries are BalleBaazi, run by SBN Gaming Pvt. Ltd, while PokerBaazi is run by Baazi Networks Pvt. Ltd. CardBaazi is registered as Baazi Games Pvt. Ltd.

According to data accessed via the business intelligence platform Tofler, Baazi Networks reported an 82% jump in consolidated revenue in FY22 at 84.3 crore. It reported a profit after tax of 4.52 crore in FY22, nearly doubling from 2.49 crore in FY21, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies.

Moonshine reported a revenue of 21.4 crore in FY22, nearly doubling from 11.22 crore in FY21. It earned a profit of 1.73 crore in FY22, up from 84.5 lakh in the previous year. Baazi Games posted an 80% drop in revenue to 1.55 crore from 7.49 crore.

Ganjoo said Moonshine expects to achieve revenues of 180 crore in FY23, which will primarily be led by a product-led strategy where PokerBaazi will continue to remain the focus.

Moonshine has raised funding of $20 million since its inception in 2014 across various rounds during 2017-2021.

This June, Moonshine signed actor Shahid Kapoor with whom it did a television commercial and a 360-degree campaign which was broadcast during four recent cricket team tournaments played by the Indian team, excluding the World Cup. “Offline cricket is a go-to game for any advertiser. This is where the audiences lie. Our next big partnership is going to be with the television show Shark Tank India where we will be the co-presenters,” said Ganjoo.

Ganjoo added that in poker, its skew is largely tilted towards men with about 90% male players. But now more women are now entering the fore. Typically users spend about 120 minutes on average when they are playing a tournament of poker.

He said the game receives maximum traffic from Maharashtra, Delhi NCR. But it is also now seeing traction from cities in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh etc. With locations like Lucknow and Nagpur picking up, the company expects an increasing number of business coming from tier 2 cities.


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