An overview of the global online gambling industry
The online gambling industry is growing at a phenomenal rate with global revenues set to grow from $465.76 billion in 2020 to $516.03 billion by the end of 2021. The industry isn’t just growing in terms of revenues either, it is also expanding in size.
In countries like Canada, the online casino industry is booming, with many players searching for the best casino website to play their favourite casino games on.
In this article we take a wider look at the industry in an attempt to understand why online gambling is growing so quickly around the world. The best place to start, is with the nitty gritty of the law…
Global Easing of Gambling Restrictions
In 2000, an American man named Jay Cohen was sentenced to 21 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for operating an online gambling site – which was illegal at the time – in the United States. Since then, there have been hundreds of arrests and convictions in the US for the illegally operating of online gambling services.
In addition to that, regular run-of-the-mill players have also been charged at State and Federal levels for placing wagers online. Which from an outside perspective is bizarre, especially when you consider that Las Vegas is the spiritual home of gambling.
Disbelief aside, the US has recently taken steps to move toward the 21st century when it comes to online gambling. Since 2018, a number of States have taken individual decisions to legalise online casino betting and online sports wagering.
New Jersey, which was one of the first such States to take the bold steps to legalise online gambling, regularly posts monthly revenues of $100 million plus from the industry. This is a trend that is been mirrored all over the country.
As a global financial powerhouse, the United States slow steps toward online gambling legalisation have been a major boon to the industry. It is not just changing attitudes in the Land of the Free that is boosting the industry though.
Recent law changes in the United States have had a major impact on the fortunes of the global online gambling industry.
In the Far East, many countries are beginning to take a more liberal approach to the industry which has resulted in greater revenues.
Legalisation, whilst undoubtedly important, is not the only reason for the recent successes of the online gambling industry though…
In 1994 the world’s first ever online casino was launched by Microgaming, who at the time took all payments and deposits over the phone. Payment processing was not the only thing that was clunky either, the games which were available were dull, bland and prone to crash.
27 years ago, all of these issues made playing with an online casino something of a chore and a vastly inferior experience to visiting a land-based casino. In the years between then and now, industry leaders have worked tirelessly to fix those issues.
Not only has technology improved to the point where signing up for an online casino and placing your first bet is easier than ordering your groceries online, but technology has also increased the allure of online gambling.
Technological advancements have helped to make online gambling easy to understand and play for consumers as well as increasing its appeal.
In recent years, features such as virtual rooms and live casinos have become a regular addition to online casino websites. These innovations have helped to persuade many players that there is no real drop off in quality between playing casino games online and visiting a land-based venue.
As such, players who would regularly travel to their nearest casino are being persuaded to stay at home and play roulette on their phone or tablet, which is helping to boost online gambling revenues around the globe.
There is one other area that the online sector dominates its land-based counterparts….
Availability and Choice
Over the course of the past decade, online casinos have been battling it out with one another for market share. One of the key weapons in their arsenal has been the selection of games that they offer to their players.
This ‘gaming arms race’, has led to even the most bog-standard of online casinos having a huge selection of slot and table games. The former is the most popular with casino lovers and thus most profitable.
By offering hundreds and hundreds of slot games, online providers are not only winning the ‘gaming arms race’ with their online competitors, but they are also sticking the boot into land-based casinos, who have their range limited by space constraints.
In this way the gambling industry is becoming much like the world of retail, where consumers know that a physical trip to a store will not only be more costly, but more frustrating than shopping online as the range and availability of stock will be lesser.
As this trend continues, expect the online gambling industry to claim bigger slices of land-based market share year on year, until bricks and mortar casinos are forced to evolve into entertainment hubs first and gambling centres second.
Obviously, there are hundreds of other reasons behind the growth of the online gambling industry that have not been discussed in this article. The three mentioned however, are quite possibly the most impactful and will continue to be so in years to come.
Continued legalisation across the United States and in other territories will continue to significantly boost online gambling revenues. Technological advancements when they come, such as the successful integration of VR and AR technology will be financially massive for the industry too.
All the while, availability and choice will continue to increase which will help the online sector to take more and more of the land-based sectors market share. If you are an investor, there aren’t many better industries to invest in now than online gambling….
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