Europe: The iGaming Development Leader
Written by Matt
Published date · Sept. 6, 2021 | Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 | Read Time: 3 mins
The online casino industry has been one of the biggest growth areas in the world economy since the turn of the millennium, and it’s continuing to rise at a rapid pace, giving opportunities for technological producers, investors and consumers. In particular, Europe has been at the forefront of this rapid growth. This article will look into why this is the case and if anywhere else is challenging Europe’s dominance.
The Size of the Market
Nowhere else in the world compares to Europe when we look at the size of the online casino/iGaming market. According to figures that came out in 2018, online gaming revenue generated by just the European Union operators was £22.2bn. It is estimated that by next year, this number is set to reach £30bn. To put this into context, the European sector of the market is worth nearly half of the global market. And that market is reflective of all the socio-political factors that affect the industry.
In recent years, Europeans have had access to online casinos via many different methods, whether by using mobile casino apps on their smartphones or through desktop/laptop computers and tablets. In addition, many European countries have gambling traditions that go back centuries.
The United Kingdom and Ireland have seen a thriving gambling tradition. BGO Casino is a licensed UK Casino, but it is a part of the UK’s grand scale of online operations. These kinds of operations sit alongside land-based casinos, sports betting shops, bingo halls and amusement arcades. France also has a strong gambling tradition, but it is more based in casinos than sports betting.
Historically, gambling has been restricted in many countries across Europe, but the social and economic liberalisation over the last few decades has meant that there are legal iGaming sectors in all major European countries. Five of the top ten gambling nations are located in Europe. The continent is the wealthiest in the world, which makes it a perfect place for iGaming.
Due to all the aforementioned reasons, it has made Europe the ideal place for iGaming companies to base themselves in Europe. This has led to the greater investment in technology. As a result, many of the most innovative companies are located in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, where the combination of gambling tradition and a huge emphasis on technological improvement has proven profitable.
This means that European brands have offered players an extensive range of games backed by some of the most innovative technologies in the world, while their approach to attracting players and retaining them has been tried and tested.
There are casino gaming hubs in other parts of the world like Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. Europe has a number of hubs, with the Mediterranean island of Malta, being one of the most prominent examples.
Malta is often referred to as the iGaming capital of the world. This is due to the number of operators that are based in the country and the level to which the iGaming industry dominates the island’s economy. The Malta Gaming Authority is one of the most respected gambling authorities, authorising operators across Europe. Alongside the UKGC and Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, MGA is widely respected for the high level of requirements it imposes on licence holders.
This level of expertise is another aspect that adds to Europe’s iGaming dominance. Operators that do apply for a licence from the MGA have to adhere to strict rules in various areas, including data protection, customer security and fairness.
The Fightback From the USA
Whilst Europe is currently leading the way in the iGaming industry; dominance is not guaranteed as other parts of the world aim to boost this sector. The most significant of these challenges are coming from across the Atlantic from the USA, which has seen major changes in its gambling sector.
The 1992 PASPA Act was struck down in May 2018, which means that states in America can now legalise sports betting. iGaming may not have become legal in most states, but many experts believe that this is just temporary. Once online casino gaming is available to more people in the US, the wealth and size of the US market could see them become the world leader in iGaming.