EDMONTON, Alta. April 28, 2017/ Troy Media/ – The geographical aspect of iGaming is as changeable now as the map of the world was for much of the 20th century. We’re all aware of how strict regulations in North America as a whole, and the U.S. specifically, are in terms of placing a bet or playing the slots but the situation in Europe is the one that is more fluid.
Certain operators began to close their doors to players from the UK after the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014 forced a change in tax laws that made trading cost prohibitive for some. Since then, certain Eastern European countries have also seen their access blocked while, by contrast, gambling in the U.S. remains relatively static.
So how has this rapidly changing legislation affected iGaming trends on both sides of the Atlantic?
Shift in play
In the United States, a number of reports from 2015 onwards indicated a marked shift from casino play to online gaming. At the very start of 2015, Forbes noted that players were deserting the glossy strips of Las Vegas and heading for other, notable destinations around the world including Macau on the south coast of China. The report continues to chart the fall in Vegas revenue through the economic uncertainty of the late 2000s but it concludes that the industry has yet to climb back to its pre-recession levels of 2009.
In Europe, there are land-based casinos all across the continent but with the possible exception of Paris and perhaps London, no single centre is as renowned as Las Vegas. In the UK in particular, the move towards online play happened some time ago and now, the trend has shifted to playing on the go. Operators such as 32Red mobile casino have seen significantly more traffic to their dedicated mobile sites and apps and in that sense, Europe is moving ahead of its counterparts across the pond. This is a dedicated mobile site that offers over 100 slots while also containing all the usual variants of blackjack and roulette. This is important for any operator to drive the mobile sector forward as it is imperative that the account holder gets the same experience from mobile as they would from a static PC.
Staying at home
Forbes cites Macau as a popular alternative destination to Las Vegas while Asia as a whole has enjoyed an increase in casino tourism. Those U.S. citizens who are unable or unwilling to travel have switched instead to online play.
Any form of gambling remains heavily regulated in the U.S. so the stats concerning the rise in online users are even more remarkable. In September 2016, studies forecasted the anticipated growth in internet gaming in the U.S. and concluded that it had the potential to exceed US$4 billion in the four years leading up to 2020.
So, two very different studies show that the trend for U.S. gamers is towards online with the market share for that sector set to explode.
Mobile switching in Europe
The UK is a very strong barometer for European iGaming as a whole and a report from SBC news from 2015 is typical of others that have been published since and it makes for very interesting reading. Once again, it shows that online play is increasing in popularity with casino and bingo enjoying some of the biggest growth.
In the period between April 2013 and March 2014, there was a 6 per cent growth against the same period twelve months previously with the casino sector picking up a healthy 16 per cent of overall revenue. The report concluded by predicting that mobile online play would be the main beneficiary over the next few years and that seems a perfectly logical step.
Technology has an important role to play in how we access online gaming and when your iPhone or Android allows you to quickly download a free app from an online casino such as 32red or Royal Panda, it’s naturally going to be popular. Both of those operators provide both apps and dedicated mobile sites with the same experience available for all players, mobile or otherwise. The mobile app of any online casino has to be at least as good as the static site or the trend for play on the go would naturally slump and that’s not an option for operators.
In the world of sports betting, being able to play on the go is a vital part of anyone’s overall gaming strategy as few players will be stationed at their PC indefinitely in a wait for the best live odds to come in. With casino play, mobile use is more recreational with the chance to play on the train, in a bar while waiting for friends or anywhere where a game or two will kill a few idle moments.
If there is a clear difference between U.S. and European trends it’s outlined in those various reports. The U.S. is starting to catch on to online play in a very big way while for players in Europe, the move to mobile gaming will gather even more momentum.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all Troy Media columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Troy Media.
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