Despite the difficult year for the global economy and cryptoindustry in particular, the iGaming market continued to grow. Still, one of the main problems for the players of this market remains a reasonable government regulation, but even here the year 2019 looks optimistic.
New technologies are taking the businesses into exciting new horizons, and the gambling industry is no exception. The market has more than doubled from €16.3 million in 2009 to approximately €40 million in 2018, revealing the various new possibilities that online gambling creates for the customers. And this figure continues to grow. According to a study by online statistics portal Statista, the global iGaming market is expected to be worth over €50 billion by 2020.
It isn’t possible to give exact facts and figures, let alone a breakdown with 100% accuracy per gambling segment or per country, as both user preferences in various regions and the regulatory landscape are changing rapidly. It’s further complicated as some countries are heading towards legalisation of at least some segments of iGaming in either online or offline forms, while others prefer to monitor the situation.
For instance, China is one of the world’s largest online gaming markets and is in a rapid growth process. As of 2014, approximately 366 million Chinese internet users had been engaged in online gaming. With a total of around 650 million internet users, online gambling in China still offers a massive market potential that is yet to be unlocked. Now imagine for a minute that 75% of gambling is underground, and thus unaccounted for in the measurements. In just that one market you can see so much hidden potential.
Furthermore, those running illegal gambling sites in China and South Korea were arrested. The USA already allows online gambling in three states, and it is expected that more states are going to adopt similar regulations. The government wants to benefit from the tax revenues by allowing the market to grow in these regions. Africa is like Asia in that there have been no plans for legalizing online gambling anytime soon.
Though there is a growth in the online gambling industry, land-based gambling still dwarfs the Internet activity, which can be a constraint for this industry in the long run. In specific regions there has been minimal growth of this industry due to strict government regulations, which are a huge constraint for players in the market. However, a major driver for this industry is the opening up of new markets in countries like USA and Europe where certain states are allowing legal online gambling.
This will keep increasing in the future as it has still not reached saturation stage and the governments are moving to regulate this practice, creating more gaps in this market.
Growth factors of the iGaming industry in 2018
Improved features in gaming offerings, such as the introduction of live casino games, have helped increase the number of players, since they’d rather see the dealer “face-to-face” than play through a computer simulation. The next step in this direction would be to employ the VR/AR technology that can further immerse users into the authentic casino experience remotely and, at a small cost, provide completely new and amazing experiences.
Still as of 2018, mobile devices remain the most robust contributors to the growth of iGaming, as over 60% of the segment uses them. The operators have been exploring various ways for the development of a good mobile user experience to exploit its virtues and this trend will most likely be observed well into 2019-2022, improving the overall accessibility and mobility of gambling across the world.
As long as technology continues to evolve, the gambling industry will keep taking advantage of its possibilities to make the gambling experience more appealing to users worldwide.
A major breakthrough that we can’t possibly fail to mention is blockchain technology that finally appears to be on the verge of mass-adoption. This especially includes Malta, a recognized world-class jurisdiction for online gambling, that has set its eyes on the blockchain industry for gambling and gaming operations.
The nature of iGaming lends itself to a rapid adoption of digital ledger technology (DLT) and virtual currencies (VCs). Online gaming operators tend to be tech-savvy entities who already have experience with what may be considered digital assets, such as in-game tokens or credits. For gaming companies, making the shift to cryptocurrencies should be an easy one. A lot has been said (and done) in this regard, and DAO.Casino is perfectly positioned to enter the market and become a pioneer in decentralized gambling solutions, among other dynamically growing companies.
Key iGaming events of 2018
Earlier in 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing states to legalize gambling on individual sporting events. Previously this was legal only in Nevada, but the Court’s decision means this potentially multi-billion dollar market is now open to the rest of the country. Gambling companies based outside the U.S., which have been taking sports wagers in other parts of the world for years, are already seeing a significant upturn in business.
While the USA is obviously one of the largest markets, similar processes are happening in other countries,who are looking to introduce new, more favourable regulations into the iGaming sector. Sweden, Belarus, Denmark, to name but a few, are all reviewing their current regulatory practices.
Some countries are uniquely positioned as providers of online gambling licenses. One of the most well-known is perhaps Malta, and this year it has definitely seen its share of action. Last May the Gaming Act was enacted and officially came into force on August 1 2018. The new framework has brought about significant changes that will affect both present and future companies that operate within the sector.
“Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money, more transparent since it helps filter good businesses from bad businesses.” - Malta Prime Minister, John Muscat.
In a speech at the general debate of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the U.N. on September 27, Muscat raised Malta’s move to set up as a “Blockchain Island” and said that the nation is the “first jurisdiction worldwide” to regulate the technology that “previously existed in a legal vacuum.”