Online platforms set to continue shoring up the gambling industry

In many ways 2019 was not a vintage year for the gambling industry. In Britain, which has long been a strong gambling market, the gross gambling yield (GGY) – that’s the total income minus the total value of their payouts – for the whole sector was down by 0.3% from the previous year, according to figures from the UK Gambling Commission. Exclude data from lotteries and the picture is bleaker, with a decrease of 1.4% – although the amount still topped £10bn. Suffering even more substantial declines were the number of premises (3.2%) and employees (5.5%).

One notable feature, though, was the differing performance of land-based and online gambling businesses. Land-based business fared particularly badly, with their GGY falling by a precipitous 10.3%. But the ‘Remote sector’, incorporating online gambling businesses, was more robust, with a comparably modest 0.6% decrease in GGY overall and a trend-busting 5.8% in GGY from online casino slot games.

Online platforms set to continue shoring up the gambling industry

Dunes:Dunes Hotel & Casino, 1980’s” by Roadsidepictures (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The resilience of the online gambling sector is in line with global trends, in fact. The online sector is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of an impressive 8.77% between 2019 and 2024. The key drivers of this growth include the increasing use of advanced computational data analysis technology, an increasing number of females choosing to gamble online, and the increasing ease with which people can send and receive money to and from online sites.

Of course, the online betting market is a diverse one. Online gambling companies offer bingo, lotteries, betting on a vast array of sports and other futures, and casino games including virtual and live games, classic and novel. Within this, it is the sports betting sector that is doing the most to drive the growth in the online gambling industry, with soccer being the most popular sport, followed by horse racing. The rising popularity of e-sports also offers an avenue for strong future growth.

But perhaps the main driver of global growth in the online gambling industry is its inherent competitiveness. Online gambling businesses do not typically attempt to differentiate themselves from one another through what games and services they provide. This is because those services are mainly widely-played games over which sites cannot claim or enforce proprietary rights.


Online platforms set to continue shoring up the gambling industry

Chips: “Poker” by Javier Morales (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It is true that there exist cosmetic variations between games on different sites and there is a sizable amount of investment in developing new ways of playing – such as streaming live casino games. But given that most major sites offer very similar services, they mainly compete to deliver effective marketing and offering attractive deals, offers, and bonuses. This includes appearing on review sites that compile those deals – free spins and bonus funds, in particular. It will likely turn out to be easier to get your rewards here, as you can browse several casinos at a glance and pick whichever deal is the most suitable in the moment. And, due to their lower overheads, online casinos can typically offer much higher return-to-player (RTP) rates than land-based casinos, too.

With an array of emerging technologies, trends, and the fundamental economics aligning in its favor, the online gambling sector’s domination of the global market’s growth is set to continue.

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