We are living in an unprecedented period in history. Amid a global pandemic, a looming economic recession, and people living evermore digital lifestyles, it’s no surprise that online gambling is on the rise. In fact, the European online gambling market is projected to grow, witnessing a CAGR of 9.20% between the years 2020-2025.
The growth of the European online gambling market has been motivated by the exponential popularity and rising number of live casinos and sports betting gambling, burgeoning hardware and software innovations, along with enhanced internet applicability and accessibility.
The Online Factor
With the rise of technology, the increase in users online, and players’ desire for games at their fingertips, Europe’s online gambling market is growing at about 10% per year, faster than land-based gambling, such as casinos or bookmaker shops. The economic size (or gross gaming revenue) of the EU online sector is expected to rise from €22.2 billion in 2018 to €29.3 billion in 2022.
Countries Leading the Way
The global gambling market is driven primarily by North America and Europe, augmented by factors such as the increase in per capita income, high adoption, growing interest, and growth of dual-income households.
The gross gambling revenue (GGR) of European countries tends to be highest in the United Kingdom and Italy, followed by Germany, France and Spain.
Technological innovation means that consumers can now enjoy online gambling and betting anywhere, anytime, across the EU. The growth of the online gambling market has encouraged growth, expansion, and significant advancement in technology and software sectors to accommodate this growth.
Here are some of the major players that are making their presence known across Europe.
- Betsson AB
- 888 Holdings PLC
- The Stars Group Inc.
- The Kindred Group
- GVC Holdings
- William Hill PLC
The interplay between the major competitors in the market and software providers has also evolved over time. Usually, online gambling companies rely on third-party providers for software solutions. The largest of these, Playtech PLC, provides software solutions for many online gambling companies.
This convention, however, has actually started to change in favour of the companies becoming more self-sufficient and not relying on providers, even driving company acquisitions in due course.
888poker, for example, chose to backwards-integrate with providers, investing heavily in its own software development so as not to primarily rely on suppliers and fluctuating prices. Furthermore, William Hill PLC in the United Kingdom actually focused on backward integration and ended up acquiring Grand Parade, a software development company, in the process.
Games that Drive Growth
The vast majority of gambling revenue in Europe is generated by sports betting, online casinos and online lottery. Poker only accounts for six per cent of the online gambling market in Europe. Although land-based casinos still occupy a significant portion of the market share, the global Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing, and consumer inability to travel is causing gambling to become more of a predominantly online activity.
As the consumer demand for online gambling options increases, the selection of excellent online casinos is sure to continue to rise. These new providers are likewise continuing to improve their offerings. With the amount of games expanding rapidly, especially the number of slots, players are reaping the benefits and boosting market growth in the process.
When online gambling started, way back in the 90s, it started on desktop computers. Despite the proliferation of more transportable devices, desktops still predominate as the major share device that players prefer. It makes sense, as desktops and laptop computers are the most convenient on which to play, mostly due to their bigger screen size.
Online casinos focus most of their development capital on improving player experience, creating a smooth user-interface, high-quality graphics, and an overall incredible online gaming experience. The majority of development still goes into desktop gaming since there are significantly more games and deposit options available than on mobile devices.
This trend may be slated to change in coming months and years, however, as the use of smartphones to gamble online is on the rise. Mobile devices offer a certain level of convenience that players are opting for more and more, affecting the growth and demand for more mobile options in the near future.
The Consequences of Covid-19
The projected market growth can definitely be a result of people’s increased online activity, incredible technological advances (including blockchain), and the convenience that comes with that. Current events, however, seem to be playing a significant part as well. Surely a global pandemic and economic uncertainty are key candidates for the growth of this industry.
With this staggering growth, some have floated the idea of regulating the European online gambling industry to help cover the growing costs of the Covid-19 pandemic (where we are now seeing the vaccine rolling out). The numbers are speculative, however, and based on current conditions. Following trends and accurate analysis is important to monitor change and continuously adapt to new and evolving market conditions.