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Around the world, revenue gained from online gambling continues to rise, with recent reports suggesting that the market will be valued at over billion by the year 2023. One sector to benefit greatly from this has been online casinos, with many people worldwide choosing to move online to do their casino gambling rather than travel to the traditional brick and mortar casinos that the industry is renowned for.
With advancements in technology now making it easier than ever to place a bet, online casinos are aiming to cash in on the boom by making their sites far more accessible than they were previously. This is reflected by a recent study, which found that 61% of online casino revenue had been gained from bets placed online, with over 70% of that coming from bets placed on mobile.
Whilst gambling in general regularly brings about connotations of Las Vegas and the glitz and glamour surrounding it, the growth in online casino gambling has in a large part come from Europe. But will the continent maintain its market pull in the coming years? Or can the North American market react to recent social changes, and, in turn, become a larger force in the online casino market.
Holding a slightly different approach to gambling compared with the USA, Canada has quickly positioned itself as one of the major players in the online casino market. Latest polls found that six in ten Canadians gamble, with revenue from many an online casino in Canada rising sharply in the last decade. Perhaps the biggest challenge to online sites in the country at this stage is their ability to attract the millennial age demographic, with almost 50% of that age group claiming to not spend any money on gambling per month. Despite this, however, Canada still pulls in over 17 billion Canadian dollars per year from gambling, and this figure is increasing year on year.
Despite the burgeoning Canadian market catching the attention of the big online casino sites, it is Europe that remains the trailblazer. Over €22 billion was generated by online casinos in 2018, and this is in no small part due to the fact that, in the same year, Europe held just shy of a 50% share of the entire global online gambling market. Traditional sports betting remains the most popular form of online gambling amongst Europeans, with over 40% of revenue arriving through that medium. However, online casinos are slowly lowering that deficit, with 32% coming through casino gaming in 2018. That figure is likely to increase as online casino sites manage to tap into some of the less saturated European markets.
European dominance in the online gambling sector is heavily weighted by the UK; where 32% of the population are said to gamble at least weekly. Furthermore, revenue for the UK gambling industry grossed over £14 billion from October 2018, to September 2019. This eye-watering sum is helped by online casinos, where revenue is now almost three times that of land-based UK casinos. For the US to pose a serious challenge to Europe, this is a sector that they will need to increase dramatically. Revenue from land-based casinos in the US, in areas such as Las Vegas, still take up a significant part of their overall gambling revenue.
Whilst the UK clearly leads the way in Europe’s online casino gambling, it is by no means the only country that contributes to the continent’s huge revenue. Ireland has long held an association with gambling through its sports betting and casinos, and this has gradually resulted in a greater interest in online gambling. There has also been an increased recent interest in online casinos from countries such as Finland, Norway, and Italy - nations that are not normally associated with gambling interest. This perhaps illustrates the reach that the online casino industry currently has across Europe.
With the Canadian and European online casino markets performing to such great effect, it is no surprise that the United States of America are starting to pay closer attention to the online gambling industry.
One of America's main issues is the affiliation with Las Vegas. For many American gamblers, Las Vegas is seen as a must-visit location, with many saving all year for a short gambling splurge. This clearly impacts Americans' potential online gambling budgets, and, with the social element that comes with the Las Vegas experience, online casino sites may have to market their product differently to attract American gamblers.
For the companies that attempt to tackle North America, however, the rewards could prove incredibly fruitful. Despite the restrictions in numerous states, online gambling revenue in the USA tripled in the last year, with the online poker and casino sector pulling in over 0 million dollars in just a three-month period (April-June). With the industry proving so profitable for various states across America, it is likely that we will see different states taking a more in-depth look into their gambling regulations in the near future.
Arguably, the advancements in mobile technology has naturally resulted in greater availability, and, in turn, greater revenue for online gambling sites worldwide in the last decade. Moreover, this only likely to increase as more and more people get access to smartphones - so you can expect online casinos to only increase their share of the online gambling market in the coming years.
Whilst Europe is currently comfortably larger and more successful than North America in terms of online casino revenue, it is likely that the North American market will attract plenty of interest and gamblers in the future. Because of these factors, and the inherent expanse of the online casino industry itself, we can expect the gap to reduce significantly. This is particularly relevant in countries such as Canada, where there are already signs of that expected improvement and growth. Who knows what the next few years will bring for the industry but, if our predictions are anything to go by - the only way is up.
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