The online gambling market was estimated at USD 58.9 billion in 2019. Experts project that the online gambling market will grow to USD 127.3 billion in 2027. This growth in popularity can be directly attributed to the rising adoption rate of mobile devices and increased internet penetration promoting access to online gambling platforms.
The rapid advancement in technology and the shift of consumer preferences from offline to online casino gaming are also a major boost. Increased digitalisation has led to creation of more secure methods of making deposits and withdrawals between player and casinos.
Market forces such as increased number of players, better standards of living and increased disposable income, urbanisation and commercialisation have all boosted this growth. The spread of COVID 19 and the lockdown has been the biggest boost to the industry in 2020.
The online casino market is segmented based on type, device (smartphone, laptop, desktop computer), end-user (male or female) and geography. Geographically, the market is divided into Europe, South America, North America, Middle East &Africa, and Asia Pacific.
Europe holds a major market share with the dominance expected to continue due to legalisation and implementation of favourable regulations. The highest growth is expected from Asia Pacific. The growth in the Indian market is however most notable.
There is huge market potential based on the number of trusted online casino India sites that are now present and continue to open. But gambling in India is under strict regulation measures. Most betting is illegal except for select classes such as lottery and horse racing.
While betting is illegal in most of India, there is no law against online gambling. Casinos in India cannot promote or offer online gambling but there is no law against non-Indian companies from having sites that are open to Indian players.
Non-Indian companies that operate in countries that allow gambling can offer their services to the Indian market. Despite the restriction on most forms of gambling, India is one of the fastest growing online gambling markets. The market was valued at 62 billion Indian Rupees (USD 830 million) and it is estimated to quadruple in the next ten years.
There are many games available in the Indian casino industry. They range from Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Sic Bo, Pai Gow, Keno ,Craps, Bingo, Video poker and Online Casino.
Developers have even included games that are specifically designed for Indian gamers like Andar Bahr, Bollywood Roulette, Teen Patti and Bollywood Blackjack.
In terms of payment options, India is perhaps the most advanced of the emerging markets. Games in India may make deposits and withdrawals through:
- Credit and debit cards: companies such as American Express (Amex), Visa and Mastercard are available for use by Indians. There is also a newly introduced Rupay card that does not have to attach to a bank account as it may be bought preloaded from the bank
- E-wallets: these are the second most popular mode after cards. The most common examples are PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and EcoPayz
- Online banking to transfer money between bank accounts and casinos
- Cryptocurrencies are fairly new but they are gaining popularity and a lot of casinos have begun to accept them as a mode of payment.
As one of the most populous countries, it is expected that their gambling industry would also reflect this. Like India, gambling in Brazil is illegal. The only form of betting allowed is betting on games of skill including horse racing and the lottery.
Online gambling is not spared from this criminalization. The Criminal Contravention Act of 1941 forbids companies in Brazil from running online casinos. This ban however does not include offshore companies offering betting services to Brazilians
A lot of European casinos offer their services in Portuguese to capture this market. The casinos also offer the Brazilian Real as a currency and provide a myriad of cash deposit and withdrawal options. This has contributed to the deposit of up to USD 1 billion in online casinos.
There are a lot of games available to Brazilian player including:
- Slot machines: online casinos have the best in terms of Video slots, classic slots and Progressive jackpots that keep players entertained with prospects of becoming millionaires.
- Video poker with games such as Deuces Wild, Joker Wild and Aces and Faces among others
- Table games: casinos offer a variety in terms of Blackjack, Roulette, Poker and Baccarat.
- Live casino where players react with a dealer as though they were in an actual casino.
Most payment options are linked to bank accounts. Players therefore mostly use credit and debit cards or bank transfers. PayPal may be available in some areas. E-wallet giants like Neteller and Skrill no longer offer this service but there is the option to use Bolento Bancario as it does not attach to a bank account. It is however not fast enough as deposits often take a couple of days to process.
Colombia was the first country in Latin America to create a regulated online gambling market. The eGaming Act signed in 2016 heralded a new dawn for the gambling market and the country as a whole.
The passing of the Act allowed foreign and home operators and companies to apply for online gambling licenses. The first license was issued in 2017. Since the legalization, there has been a serious boom in the market. In 2018, there were about 1. 7 million new registered online gamers with most of them playing online casino.
As of June 2019, online bingos and casino games in Colombia contributed about COP186.3m to the country’s economy. The industry has grown so much that the country now holds annual Casino Gaming expos.
There is a growing number of online casinos licensed and regulated in Colombia. A lot of Colombians however still play using foreign offshore websites.
Most offshore casinos do not provide for the option to make deposits in Peso and will often times convert it to USD. This conversion may cause some loss of funds and players want to avoid that. Most players in Colombia pay through:
- Credit and debit cards: Visa and Mastercard
- E-wallets: the most famous being Skrill and Neteller
- Prepaid cards that are not attached to a bank account like Entropay
- Cash payment: baloto
- Crypto currencies especially bitcoin is increasingly becoming more available.
Being Africa’s most highly populated country, it makes sense that it is also one of the top emerging online gambling markets. The law on gambling in Nigeria is not very straightforward. The law categorizes games as legal and illegal. The legal games include lottery, land-based casino and sports betting. Illegal games are roulette, unskilled card games and dice games.
Online gambling is not strictly mentioned as being legal or illegal. There is therefore no restriction for people to play on local and offshore sites. However, online casino companies are expected to follow regulations as though they were land based.
About 60 million Nigerians ages of 18 to 40 are involved in sports betting. They spend up to USD 4.6 sports betting daily. The gambling market in the country is currently worth USD 2 billion and is expected to continue growing rapidly.
Some of the factors contributing to this massive growth include increased access to mobile phones and internet access. The huge population also contributes to the increase as most online casino games are young. The changes in regulation have also contributed to this growth. Increasingly, casinos are accepting players from Nigeria, processing payments in Nigerian Naira and also offering secure banking options that are friendly to Nigerians.
Nigerians can play Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, SicBo, Pai Gow, Keno ,Craps, Bingo, Video poker and Online Casino.
Players in Nigeria mostly use debit and credit cards including Visa and Mastercard. They also have the option to use e-wallets like Neteller and recently USSD has also been introduced as a mode of payment.
South Africa grossed a total of USD 2.53 billion in 2019 in gambling revenue. This was 0.6% of the global total. Gambling was legalized in 1996 with the passing of the National Gambling Act regularizing the lottery, casino and horse racing. This legalization sparked the growth in popularity of gambling. However, online casino gaming is illegal after the passing of the Legal Act in 2010. As with most other countries, criminalization of online casino does not affect the activities of offshore online casinos.
By banning casino sites, the government places the responsibility on the banks processing payment and the sites themselves. Individual players have never been prosecuted. Without prosecution, the players will continue to place their bets with offshore sites. This means that South African sites that will risk breaking the law do it at their own risk. Offshore companies are aware of the law but are protected by being outside the jurisdiction.
Despite this ban, offshore companies are more than willing to let South African players play at their casinos. They offer deposits and withdrawals in Rands to avoid unfriendly conversion rates and they provide secure payment methods that are accessible to players. Being available in rand also simplifies the process as players can tack their spending and winnings.
It is clear that the ban on online casino gaming is a big impediment to the growth of the gambling industry. However, most markets are finding a way around the ban and continuing to thrive. This upward trend is not expected to slow down as most governments will eventually let up and allow gambling.
Even if online casino gaming is allowed in most of these places, any new non-offshore casinos will have a hard time playing catch up. This is because the rest of the world has had a long time to grow their applications and sites.
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