Online casinos are still a long way off replacing their physical counterparts, but one thing is certain: they are growing rapidly in many places across the world countries like the UK have seen many new casino options over the last few months and years and this trend is set to continue. The global revenue from online gambling is expected to reach 100 billion USD by 2026, and only expected to continue growing from there. The big question for the industry right now is where that growth is happening most conspicuously. Despite their global reach, online casinos are still by and large seeing most of their growth in a few areas of the world.
Let’s look at the regions where online casinos are growing.
Despite the current legislative status quo in the United States, which only allows online betting in a few select states, at the moment, the fastest growing market for online casinos is North America.
As of 2020, there are only three U.S. states which allow companies to use online casino services. In Nevada, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are the only places where U.S. citizens can legally play in online casinos. New Jersey is currently the largest market for online gambling generally, including online casinos and casino games.
Due to the popularity of online casinos, citizens will routinely cross state lines to play in online casinos.
We can only expect the growth to continue and the legislative reform to spread to other states. But the market is not limited to the U.S.
In Canada, the online casino industry is largely unregulated—at least when compared with the U.S. So, Canada, too, contributes to the growth of the industry.
Mexico, on the other hand, is making moves to more strictly regulate its online gambling industry. Whether or not that will have enough of an impact to offset the continued growth of the U.S. market is difficult to say, but it does not seem likely.
Of course, the other big market currently is the European one—but that continues to grow, too. Online casinos continue to gain popularity and traction all over the continent, where it is much less heavily regulated than in the U.S. The biggest markets currently are in Germany and the United Kingdom, but France, Spain and Italy are also huge contributors.
The European market certainly embodies a different cultural history than that of the United States. There are various historical reasons why online casinos are not legal in most of the U.S. which simply don’t apply to Europe.
It is really only for this reason that Europe’s market does not grow as fast as the U.S.—it is already too well established. Despite that, whereas the whole European market brings in around $27.6 billion USD annually, the figure in North America is close to $60 billion.
But European growth cannot be denied and it is certainly a rapidly expanding market for online casinos.
It may not be a surprise to learn that the areas where the online casino market is growing quickest also tend to be the most developed parts of the world. After Europe, the next fastest growing online casino market is the Oceanic countries of the Asia-Pacific.
Australia’s laws around online gambling have been somewhat ambiguous for a while, and can vary between regions in the country, but more and more options for online casino games are becoming available to Australian citizens. With 80% of the population engaged in one or another kind of gaming, the growth has been huge and rapid. There are still legal restrictions put in place under the Casino Control Act of 2006, but the online casinos that do operate offer a great variety of games.
New Zealand, too, has a large and growing market for online casinos. There are still restrictions in place, and domestic online casinos must be licensed by the official body. But this has not stopped the country from seeing rapid growth in the market; it is expected to grow by 20-30% in coming years.
So, as you can see, the online casino market is growing rapidly effectively everywhere in the developed world. North America is by far the biggest market for it currently, and given the huge legal restrictions on such online casinos in the U.S., it only goes to show how far the market will grow as more and more states come to legalize the activities.
What we can take away from all this growth is that the world of online casinos has a long way to come, and that what we are seeing now remains only the first steps of the industry. There are going to be considerable hurdles to overcome in the future, particularly legislative but also cultural issues surrounding gambling and betting generally.
Online casinos, though, are without doubt the future of the online betting industry. While brick and mortar casinos are not going anywhere, they are going to learn to live alongside these online casinos.