The global online gambling market continues to go from strength to strength, with year-on-year growth adding billions of dollars to an already insanely valuable industry. Recent reports show the estimated forecasts for the coming years as well as expose the reasons behind this growth. Online gambling is now more accessible than ever before.
The Exponential Growth
According to recent reports by Coherent Market Insights, the global online gambling market looks to surpass $123.5 bln by 2026. That includes all forms of gambling, such as online poker, casinos and sports betting.
In 2017, the industry had a value of $46.9 bln. That’s a big number, but it would also be a huge leap up to the $100 billion mark. However, the report suggests a compound annual growth rate of 11.4 percent from 2018 to 2026.
The report identifies the major players in the marketplace. They are 888 Holdings PLC, which includes 888poker for online poker and 888casino as well as GVC Holdings, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, Bet365, Kindred Group, Stars Group, Draft Kings and Betsson. The data also shows that certain markets around the world grow faster than others. Specifically, Asia-Pacific is a hot market in the coming year, with figures projecting an annual growth rate of 14 percent.
That’s only one set of numbers, but data covering the same topic suggests a similar level of growth. A report titled “Online Gambling Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018–2023” estimates that the global gambling market will be worth $74 bln by 2023. This specific report also offers insight into the breakdown of activities within the online gambling industry, with online casinos dominating around 50 percent of the market share. However, $74 bln seems a conservative estimate given that Statista figures suggest the value to be $94.4 bln by 2024.
No matter which figures you choose to trust, they all paint a similar picture of the exponential growth of the online gambling sector. The figures also all point to similar reasons for this growth.
Factors Affecting Industry Growth
Caption: The more people that have internet access, the more people can play online games.
There are many factors affecting the growth of the online gambling market, and it is the fact that they all seem to happen at once that makes the value so explosive.
Consider first that we live in an increasingly digitized world. In 2016, there were over 3.4 bln internet users. As of April 2019, 56.1 percent of the world’s population has access to the internet, compared to only 16 percent in 2005. Simply put, advances in technology mean it is easier for people to connect to the internet and play online games.
Mobile gaming is one of the major driving forces behind this accessibility. Smartphones have brought internet to areas of the world that previously did not have it, opening up new markets for mobile gaming. Meanwhile, the popularity of mobile gaming continues to increase in areas such as Europe, and online poker and casinos fall into an “entertainment” category for many.
As the industry has developed, so too has the level of trust that players have for well-established and regulated sites. Online gambling for real money requires a safe and secure environment for the transactions and a guarantee of fair play when it comes to the outcomes of the games. Reputable sites make sure they prioritize this trust.
As such, online payment options have also improved, with secure banking and credit card options available on major sites, along with alternative payment options like PayPal and NETELLER, which for some people, offer more security and accessibility.
A final consideration is regulatory policy itself. Each country or state sets their own boundaries when it comes to online gambling, but over time, many have relaxed laws to benefit from tax revenue. Such is one reason for the rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific region. In India, Sikkim became the first state to legalize online gambling, with others expected to follow. These marketplaces are huge, and nowhere near tapped.
Cryptocurrency and Online Gambling
That brings us back to the question that is most relevant to our cause: Is cryptocurrency a major factor influencing the growth of online gambling?
It’s hard to know how Bitcoin betting feeds into the economics of the situation. The figures that we do have come from Bitcoin Strip, who tracks online Bitcoin casino sites. Their figures show around 24.5 bln bets made with Bitcoin over a two-year period or 3 BTC per minute across 60 sites.
Despite the potential benefits and the number of Bitcoin bets made, the major players in the online gambling space haven’t made their move to cryptocurrency yet. Crypto gambling is still a niche space, with smaller sites tending to offer the option.
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