For gambling operators last year was pretty good, which is confirmed by a large number of gambling providers. But this is already in the past, and we are more interested in the question – what will happen in the future? What business climate does the gambling business expect in 2017? What impact will it have on new trends in politics?
In 2016, the global online gaming market grew by more than 9%, as more than 85 countries worldwide legalized online gambling. Online bets and online casinos together account for 70% of revenues from the online gambling market. Gambling on the Internet is a huge success because of the wide range of games offered and the convenience of the game without any restrictions. China, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, France, Germany and Italy are some of the key countries that generate revenue in the market.
The global online gambling market is expected to exceed $ 60 billion by 2020.
Consolidation of the online gambling market
In recent years, the development of online gambling is determined by the fact that the development of the online gambling market has not yet reached its maximum, however, it is very close to this. This led to some takeovers and mergers of gambling companies. Some of them occurred for strategic reasons, others – for example, the absorption of Bwin, – because companies simply can not stand competition alone. And in the future, with the development of technology and changing consumer preferences, the level of competition in the market will only increase.
According to the Financial Times, William Hill is currently struggling to find a new CEO. Last year, there were trilateral talks to merge with Rank Group and 888, but the deal did not take place. If this happened, then Playtech could potentially lose one of its biggest customers. But if the three-way merger of William Hill, Rank and 888 failed to reach, perhaps it could be done together with Playtech? Experts predict that in 2017 it is very likely the merger of William Hill, 888 and Playtech or any two companies from this three.
New technologies for the gambling industry
New technologies continue to have a strong impact on markets. Mobile gambling will continue to grow and develop, this is beyond doubt. However, this growth, with the increase in the speed of mobile data transmission, is possible only for new and better products. But for users, these changes should not be particularly noticeable – probably, improvements will occur in the background.
Technologies of virtual and augmented realities can also present surprises. It can be assumed that, thanks to the development of Microsoft HoloLens, Playstation VR and HTC Vive, one day slots and other games will become as vivid and impressive as ever.
Last year, the UK Gambling Commission decided that Bitcoin could be used as legal tender for online gambling in the UK. Large operators around the world are also beginning to use Bitcoin. Experts believe that in 2017 we will see an avalanche of the popularity of Bitcoin online. And this happens not only because it is convenient, but also because the use of Bitcoin will allow for greater transparency. After all, every financial transaction is documented in the blockchain, each spin of the roulette wheel and every roll of bones. To break, replace, fake these data is impossible, and at the same time they are available to all. Any player will be able to know for sure whether the gambling institution behaves honestly or not. We can say that we are at the beginning of the era of transparency, in which the technology of blockchain will change the whole world. In its importance, this can be compared with the spread of the Internet or smartphones, without which our life is now difficult to achieve.
Security is a big problem
Security issues, taking into account the development of new technologies and their influence, are a big problem for gambling companies online. Recently, DDoS attacks on gaming resources have become popular, in the past year they have been hit hard by online bookmakers. It turned out that even such giants as William Hill are not protected from such attacks – in the autumn of last year for two days the services of the British operator worked intermittently. Given that on the day WillHill earn 5.4 million dollars, losses from hacker attacks can be considered serious. Therefore, the investment of gambling operators in security in 2017 will be large.
The increase in the number of gamblers among women
In 2015, the growth trend of gambling among women was formed, last year it gained strength, and in 2017 growth is expected to continue. Studies show that women prefer to gamble privately, on their personal electronic devices, where they can play confidently and not be afraid of the mockery of male players. And women under the age of 35 are much more active in games than women older than 35 years.
Beginning to appear online casino for women, the first of which was opened in 2015, Cameo Casino with the slogan “made by women for women.” Although Cameo Casino was not successful and closed, not having worked for two years, nevertheless the market matured and the initiative was immediately picked up by others: 888Ladies, Pink Casino, Maria Casino. These operators apply special advertising campaigns, which are directed specifically at women.
Increased penetration of credit and debit cards
The biggest problem of online gambling is legal differences in different countries. Although some countries allow land-based casinos, as they contribute to the development of tourism, they are extremely strict about online gambling. Examples include countries such as South Korea, Japan, Portugal and Norway. However, online gambling can not be completely banned, because users can easily access foreign websites through proxy and freely play gambling using international credit or debit cards.
The governments of countries do not take serious measures to ban these websites for two reasons:
They assume that people who participate in such activities are sufficiently educated and aware of the consequences, or are financially secured, so that the losses cause them significant damage.
The second reason is that a complete ban on foreign gambling resources will force advertisers not to advertise on national websites, which will lead to loss of revenue.
Change in consumer habits
One of the key trends in the gambling industry is the growth of the market of social and mobile gambling. The increase in the number of mobile device users has accelerated the growth of online gambling and betting market. Social games that earn money on monetization in social networks, today are one of the main directions in gambling, followed by players.
Now there is a significant change in the behavior of consumers in the global online gambling market. Increasing the popularity of social gaming applications is the main factor that is expected to contribute to market growth. Suppliers of gambling software follow the trend and increase funding for the development of innovative social gambling for mobile devices. The number of people participating in the social gambling business is growing, as they are motivated to “compete with friends.” Other reasons for the growth in the number of social gamers are:
Communication and interaction with the help of games,
Multiplayer gaming tournaments.
In addition, the wider use of the F2P (Free to Play) model in social games will also stimulate market growth. This model does not generate revenue directly, because it does not charge a fee for participation. Instead, revenue is generated through the sales of virtual goods, which open up access to more opportunities for the game or give an advantage over competitors.
What factors generally affect the gambling industry? It:
Policy (regulation, political climate).
Business climate (market size, market growth and so on).
Trends (demand for existing, as well as new products and technologies).
The first two factors will be especially significant in 2017.
The gambling business of Macau last year reached the bottom and began to grow. And in 2017 is also projected a steady increase in casino revenues in Macau. Although there may be unpleasant surprises. So, during the election campaign, Donald Trump said some provocative things about the US trade with China. And even more, he angered Beijing when he took a phone call from Taiwan. The US-China relationship can not be called friendly now, so it is likely that Beijing will want to strike at Trump by taking action against American investments in Macao that belong to friends of Trump Sheldon Adelson and Steve Winn.
The slowdown in China’s economic growth rate is unlikely to affect outbound tourism, as the country moves to an economy based on consumption growth, unlike resource extraction and production. The rapidly growing middle class and wage growth in China will stimulate gaming revenues in the region, and stimulate the development of casinos in the border countries: Vietnam, Malaysia, Russia, the Philippines. And, of course, in Macau.
More than 55% of Macau casino gaming revenue was received from VIP players last year, despite the fact that their number is only about 100 000 people, compared to 30 million annual visitors to Macau. In the future, this figure should decrease, because government regulations are aimed at combating the shadowy play of high-rollers and diversification of revenues through the development of the resort infrastructure.
The best chance for the legalization of sports betting in the US in 2017 would have been if Donald Trump was the president. Well, he won the election, now you need to wait and see.
For many years Donald Trump was the owner of the legendary casino “Taj Mahal” in Atlantic City. There are several representatives of the American gambling business in the team of consultants and the Trump community – but they are not supporters of online casinos. One of them is Sheldon Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which has a fortune of $ 31 billion, which is a heavyweight among casino magnates. He donated several tens of millions of dollars to the election campaign of Trump, and he completely does not accept online gambling.
In addition, Steve Wynn, Phil Ruffin and Carl Icahn are considered to be influential advisers to the president. Phil Ruffin, owner of the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas, is Trump’s personal friend. Steve Winn owned several casinos in Las Vegas and Macau.
Karl Icahn is probably the most famous American raider. He bought up numerous companies, in various ways quickly increased their cost (reductions, mergers, etc.), and then resold them with profit.
Icahn is Trump’s special advisor on “regulatory issues,” including gambling. One of its companies is the Tropicana Group, which owns the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City and operates the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. Karl Icahn is probably the most important gambling adviser in this galaxy: if he decides that he can make money on online gambling, then Americans have good chances to see the legalization of online gambling soon.
It is difficult to predict the outcome of this confrontation between the advisers of Donald Trump, but somehow the movement towards the legalization of online gambling in the US in 2017 will be significant.
Germany, Japan, India, Brazil
Each of these four countries is a very important market in their region, and all four governments are considering the possibility of legalizing or liberalizing their gambling laws in 2017. Four countries have a total population of 1.7 billion people, which is very important for the development of the market.
The growing middle class in India, the gambling population of Brazil and the high level of per capita income in Germany and Japan – all this is encouraging for the gambling industry. Very important will be the terms of licensing and taxation in the newly adopted legislation of these countries. If all four countries open their gambling markets, it will be like a new Klondike for the gambling industry.