The online gambling industry has exploded in the couple of decades or so since the first online casinos appeared. From a fringe hobby amongst early adopters of the then-new technology of the Internet, it has exploded into a multi-billion dollar global market, providing access to a range of consumer choice and innovation like never before.
Similarly, the advent of mobile, when it came along, changed the game again, and provided another shot in the arm of the gambling sector, on its way to its position of today. And now, with new research published this week by Juniper Research, online gambling could be set to get all the bigger in 2018.
According to their findings, 2018 will see the value of online betting rise to over $700 billion, rising from $620 billion over last year. In their report, Mobile & Online Gambling: Casinos, Lotteries, Betting & VR 2018-2022, the company identified an 11.4% growth over the period, as new markets and opportunities for operators come on stream.
Perhaps more interestingly, by 2022, the report revealed that online gambling bets could top as much as $1 trillion, with the number of online gamblers rising by around 100% to 684 million. This is a reflection of new markets coming on stream, as well as improved market penetration from established operators across their core markets.
Analyst Lauren Foye also added a few other suggestions that could have been driving the growth.
“We believe new channels, such as chatbots, have the potential to drive customer engagement, through delivery of personalized offers, alongside 24/7 player support.”
Improving technologies have proven historically to be one of the main drivers of growth in the online gambling sector, with the Internet, mobile and live gaming amongst a handful of examples that have had a profound impact on operators. Chatbots, machine learning and AI are all improving technologies that could have a similar transformative impact, as well as the likes of virtual reality gaming, with concepts already well underway from some of the industry’s leading developers.
There’s also the growth opportunities offered by liberalising markets. While many in the last year have chosen to go the other way, with Poland and Australia amongst the most notable examples of jurisdictions clamping down on online gambling, plenty of others are pursuing a liberalisation agenda. This means more new markets will come on stream for gambling operators, including many for the first time, which could present further avenues for revenue growth.
In particular, the report also spoke of the opportunities in the USA, with individual states adopting an ever-more liberal approach to online gambling. Long in the international wilderness on online gambling, a handful of states have now, or are now considering opening up their laws to online gambling providers in a regulated, managed market, which could present opportunities for the big players across casino, sports betting and other verticals.
On balance, the news is a positive signal to the health of the wider online gambling industry, and reflects just how big the behemoth of digital gambling has grown. With no signs of a slow down anytime soon, it looks like 2018 could be set to be another strong year for the gambling sector.