In the existing economic conditions that most of the world is experiencing, many of even the most established industries are feeling the pinch, particularly those that are reliant on consumer spending. However, whereas many areas of retail, particularly those that could be considered luxuries, struggle in a recession, the gambling industry continues unabated, and even expands.
For example, a study commissioned by the Gambling Commission in 2010 found that 73% of Britons gambled in 2010, slap bang in the middle of the global recession, up from 68% in 2007. And the growth in online gaming was considered largely responsible for this. As Internet speeds grow, and producers of online gaming apps continue to develop the industry and offer punters more betting options, this industry is expected to grow further. In the year 2011 alone, mobile gambling increased by 25%.
This has contributed to an already burgeoning industry. In 2011, global revenue from online gambling broke through the $30 billion barrier for the first time, and since 2003, online gambling has averaged a 23% growth in revenue per annum.
Thus, the Internet has changed the way that many industries operate, and the gambling industry is no different. But one territory that has remained reluctant to be seduced by its charms has been the United States. Stringent gambling regulations in America have meant that mobile gambling operators have been, in many cases, unable to launch their popular products in the world’s largest economy.
But though the US authorities still take, to some degree, a restrictive attitude towards online gambling, this is changing slowly. Recently, individual states within the United States have begun to legalise intrastate online gambling. New Jersey, Delaware and, of course, Nevada have already legalised online gambling in 2013, and other US states such as California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania are all either in the process of legalising online gambling, or at least contemplating it.
An indication of how big this potential market is was provided by the figure achieved by New Jersey in its first year of legalising online gambling. The concept only ‘went live’ in new Jersey on 26th November, but by the end of the year it had already generated $8.3 million of revenue. GamblingData predicts that New Jersey’s online gambling market will generate $262 million in gross gambling revenue this year and $463 million by 2017, while third-party projections predict that the United States could account for approximately 30% of the global online gaming market eventually.
Casino operators have been denied access to the mobile market in the United States, but more permissive and tolerant legislation is steadily changing this; providing a huge opportunity for the industry.