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What Is the Situation With Online Gambling in the Biggest Markets?

Online Gambling

The online gambling industry’s market share is currently expected to reach almost $60 billion this calendar year. This figure represents an increase of over 10% compared to 2019 and highlights the general trend of the industry in recent years.

The growth of online gambling has trounced the expectations of most industry experts. Forecasts were positive, but the proposed estimates can now be considered conservative. The biggest markets have seen unprecedented revenue figures, with the industry’s flexibility, an improved product, and world events having undoubted effects on demand.

In this article, we will discuss the conditions that have facilitated online gambling’s growth in the biggest markets, as well as those that may still be hampering the industry’s expansion. What can we expect in the coming years?

North America

Gambling has long been a popular activity in the United States, but American citizens have been hampered by federal policy for decades. This situation changed in 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that prohibited sports betting in most states. While this does not cover online gambling as such, it does indicate the direction of legislation.

It is currently not legal to gamble on a website operating in the United States. However, you can place casino and poker bets as long as the company is offshore. Sports gambling still has limits depending on the state, but the situation is slowly shifting. States are increasingly loosening online gambling regulations, especially as the industry’s activities result in significant tax revenues.

Canada represents a smaller percentage of the market, but online gambling is still a popular activity. While it is against the law to operate an online casino within the country’s borders, individual gamblers can place a bet with a legal casino registered offshore.

Asia

The online gambling industry is rapidly developing throughout Asia. While land-based casinos still enjoy the largest chunk of the gambling market, their online counterparts are quickly gaining ground. Websites like asiabet.org, for instance, offer a greater choice of games, a convenient way to gamble via mobile devices, and generally more flexible betting options.

Perhaps it’s best to understand Asia as a collection of separate markets, each developing at differing rates and directions. In China, for example, gambling is only legal in Macau and Hong Kong. Online gambling is prohibited on the mainland. Nevertheless, the industry is still bustling, with consumers using VPNs and the Tor browser, for example, to access betting sites. In recent years, however, China is showing more enthusiasm for enforcing the law.

China is also attempting to lobby other countries to follow suit, but considering the value of the industry, many are not taking the bait. Cambodia and the Philippines, for example, have a thriving online casino market. Despite the Chinese government’s wishes, we expect to see continued growth throughout the Asian market.

Europe

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) recently released figures that show online gambling has grown 11% in the past year alone. The UK leads the line in terms of market share, accounting for a sizable 32.4%. This growth is partly explained by the growing popularity of smartphone devices, while Covid-19 has also pushed many consumers to online casinos.

Gambling firms have shown remarkable resilience during the pandemic. For example, to combat losses on canceled sporting events, developers quickly created the concept of virtual racing. According to Online Gambling Quarterly, a third of executives in the industry are expecting revenues to continue to rise in 2020, or at the very least stay level. 888, for example, has seen people turn to online casinos and poker instead of sports betting, offsetting lost revenue.

While growth in Europe has been steady, governments are increasingly placing restrictions in order to protect vulnerable gamblers. For example, the UK’s Gambling Commission has banned the use of credit cards to fund online betting accounts (representing roughly 4-5% of users). Members of Parliament are further seeking limits on how much consumers can bet online. Will similar regulations be implemented in EU countries? And if so, what will the effect be on the industry’s growth?

Beyond the ‘Big Three’

North America, Asia, and Europe are clearly the leading online gambling markets. However, the rest of the world is quickly playing catch up. South America and Australia are experiencing steady growth, with gambling already having a strong foothold on these continents. In Australia, for example, over 80% of adults enjoy a wager. It’s no surprise that gambling constitutes 10% of state revenues.

It is in Africa, however, where gambling has the potential to enjoy stratospheric growth. The continent is experiencing economic growth, betting has long been a popular pastime, and foreign and local investors alike are pouring money into local gambling markets. The industry is also becoming increasingly regulated, introducing legislation designed to protect consumers and tax revenues. It is more than likely that we will soon be discussing the ‘Fantastic Four’ of online gambling, rather than just the ‘Big Three’.