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The Growth of the Online Gambling Industry in Europe

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Photo: Ekurd.net/Creative Commons/with credits to Karolina Grabowska/pexels

Across much of the Middle East, online gambling is forbidden or socially unacceptable and access to online casinos is very limited. In Europe, the picture is a little different. In many of the EU countries, online gambling is legal and legislated.

This has led to a flourishing market that is still growing every year.

A brief look at the stats

The statistics available for online gambling revenue can vary greatly, presumably depending on which companies and countries were included in the data. Most place the 2023 figures for total gambling revenue at around $110-$115 billion.

As is illustrated by this stat, the market is huge and so is the revenue collected. By 2024, around $46.7 billion is projected to come from online gambling streams, with casinos and sports betting standing out as the top two sources of revenue.

According to a study published in the International Gambling Report in 2021, 63% of gamblers now prefer online over land-based establishments.

The rise of online gambling

Online gambling is taking an increasing share of the revenue compared to land-based casinos and betting shops. This is largely due to the convenience of going online, which is enhanced by the proliferation of internet devices.

In the EU, the internet penetration rate, in other words, the number of people who have access to the internet, is 92%. This has increased from 67% in 2010.

Hardware and software has also improved. Online sites often partner with well-established software providers to bring the latest casino games to their platforms, from blackjack variations to brand-new slots.

When it comes to the vast realm of casino games, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of lottery and scratchcard games, which are both available on online casino platforms. Lottery games, for example, now account for around 18% of Europe’s online gambling revenue.

These trends in online gambling are set to continue. The compound annual growth rate of the European gambling market as a whole is around 5%, with online gambling accounting for around 53% of this.

Legislation and legality

The Growth of the Online Gambling Industry in Europe

Photo: Ekurd.net/with credit to Mikhail Nilov/pexels

A lot of the reason behind Europe’s growing gambling market has to do with legislation. In many European countries, gambling and online gambling is legal. This is much different to casino gaming in the Middle East, or even to the USA where the market is only just becoming legitimate.

In Europe, gambling is a well-established market and considered a leisurely pastime. That doesn’t mean there are no rules. Each country has their own set of policies to regulate the industry with a particular focus on encouraging responsible gaming.

Those policies form the backbone of a regulated industry, ensuring fairness and transparency for customers when playing on licensed sites.

For leading companies, it’s a double-edged sword. It’s the legislation that allow for a mature marketplace, but any changes made can quickly change the face of the industry and force action.

Restrictions to advertising also mean that online casinos and betting sites are limited in how they attract users. This often leads to established sites providing generous bonuses for new customers.

UK leads the way

The UK takes the dominant slice of the market for European gambling revenues. This is largely due to favorable regulations that have been around long enough for the market to flourish. The UK is also known to have relatively more disposable income.

The UK is regulated by the Gambling Commission, who are responsible for regulating the industry across all markets.

Meanwhile, Poland is one of the European nations that prefers online gambling to land-based, with 63% of respondents in a survey claiming they prefer online.

Mobile gaming

Casino, gambling, blackjack, online gambling

Photo: Creative Commons/Aidan Howe/pixabay

A huge factor in the popularity of online gambling in Europe is access to mobile gaming. This puts the latest online casino games in the hands of players, whether at home or on the move.

Online companies have succeeded in creating mobile sites and apps that provide a similar user experience to web-based platforms, giving players access to casino games, sports betting, lottery and more all at their fingertips.

Mobile gaming now accounts for over half of online gambling revenues and has done so for the last few years. In 2022, mobile gaming took a 53% market share.

What’s next?

Emerging technologies continue to present new opportunities in the online gambling sector. As well as the rise of mobile, VR technology has surfaced as an entertaining form of casino gaming. Some land-based and online operators already offer VR casino experiences and others are likely to follow.

Blockchain is another technology that has potential, although online gambling has been relatively slow to adapt it for various reasons. As well as cryptocurrency payment options, blockchain smart contracts could also make for a fairer, more transparent service.

When it comes to market revenue, the growth is expected to continue. Projections suggest that the online gambling market could reach revenues of $88.9 billion in 2029, a compound annual growth rate of 11%.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Ekurd.net or its editors. This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Ekurd.net does not support or encourage any form of betting and gambling. Readers are strongly advised to approach such activities with caution and independently assess the risks before engaging in any form of betting, gambling.

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