The online gambling industry is enjoying solid growth globally at the moment, even despite the challenges being presented to land-based casinos in 2020. Here is a look at the state of play today and how it is likely to evolve in the near future as a result of regulators in many regions becoming more amenable to legitimizing online gambling.
First and foremost, it is worth restating that the gambling industry looks set to enjoy double digit annual growth for at least the next half-decade. In 2019, the market was worth almost $54 billion worldwide and it should expand by 11.5% a year if current trends continue.
Sports betting will retain the lion’s share of online gambling revenue generation, but the launch of an online casino in NZ and other similar sites across hundreds of other territories will grow the revenue of digital table games and slot machines for operators.
In short, the prospects for this industry are very good and there is little which could reasonably be expected to disrupt the predicted growth.
Catalysts of Growth
There are a variety of factors at play in helping to paint a positive outlook for the online gambling industry going forwards, chief amongst which are the combined catalysts of increased internet connectivity and growing smartphone ownership.
More than 4.5 billion people now have the ability to get online, and the rollout of high speed mobile connectivity in developing nations, in combination with increasingly affordable handheld devices designed to take advantage of this fact, is opening up a world of possibilities. Indeed, for many years the limitations and expenses of fixed line internet connectivity hampered the proliferation of various digital services, but developments in the past decade have helped to overcome these.
Another important boost that the online gambling industry has received in recent years is an increased acceptance for the practice of placing wagers online and playing games of chance. There has also been more relaxed regulations regarding this type of activity. Sports betting has been legitimized at a federal level in the US, leaving individual states the option of issuing licenses to bookmakers and legalizing it within their borders if they wish.
While the online gambling industry has a strong foothold in some areas and is making headway in other regions, there are still many countries in which it is either explicitly outlawed or has yet to be adequately accounted for in a regulatory sense. The real challenge is not that the industry needs a means to access new marketplaces, but rather that its services are already being used in nations where players are not technically allowed to gamble in any capacity.
This situation is somewhat similar to the one that the creative industries found themselves in a little earlier in the internet age. When it became possible to distribute copyrighted works online with ease, it took a long time for record companies and movie studios to stop trying to fight the pirates and instead adapt to this brave new world, offering their own digital services. Likewise, regulators will need to accept the fact that online gambling is now available to literally billions of people, so outright bans are essentially meaningless and impossible to enforce.