Gambling has a long and rich history. The first registered casinos in Europe opened their doors at the start of the 17th century, with casinos appearing in America a century later. The development of gambling and casinos initially followed the development of society. However, in the past century, this gambling evolution has followed the development of technology.
Being able to bet over the phone was the first move towards the digitisation of gambling. Today, the internet has brought the world of gambling into practically every household.
Despite the gambling and casino industry only embracing the internet in relatively recent times, the number of online gaming sites has increased at a staggering rate year on year.
Online gaming has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, particularly in Europe. While online gaming used to mainly attract younger men, its appeal has expanded to include both women and older age groups. Since 2004, the number of female internet users in Europe between the age of 16 and 74 has increased by more than 80%, while the same age group for men has seen an increase of 60%.
The US market has had a slow start as Congress stepped in with new laws to halt the surge in online gaming. But the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware legalised intrastate online gambling in 2013 and several other states are signing up to the online gambling legislation.
How big could online gaming become? Well, in New Jersey, online gaming legally began on 26th November and generated more than $8 million by the end of the year. GamblingData predicts New Jersey's online gambling market will generate $463 million by 2017 and third party researchers believe that the US could earn gross winnings of more than $7.4 billion by 2017. This figure represents around 30% of the global online gaming market, so just imagine the benefit to the US's tax coffers from this sort of revenue.
Such potential tax earnings could provide a pull for markets such as Australia, where online gambling is restricted, but not banned, by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Australian gambling habits are quite complex and the country could well be on the brink of changing its online gambling laws under the coalition government.
The end of the traditional casino?
Despite a steady decline in traditional gambling over recent years, online gambling is a competitive business with companies increasing their marketing investment to attract higher income groups.
Whether the gambling landscape will shift to a sole online presence is highly unlikely; global legislation remains in a constant state of flux and punters are still happy to flock to the range of gambling bricks and mortar outlets, from Blighty's bingo halls to the glitzy casinos of Las Vegas.
One possible avenue of growth is mobile online gambling, as adoption and use of smartphones hits an all-time high. According to the Global Online Gambling & Betting Market 2014, mobile gambling is expected to reach more than two fifths of the total online gambling market by 2018, as the number of mobile gambling users increases by one hundred million. In 2015, 40% of mobile users are expected to use mobile apps in order to place bets and, by 2018, the mobile gambling industry is expected to be worth $100 billion.
Whether gambling evolves into a purely online venture or not, it will always be a huge market and one that must keep up with technological advances if it wants to secure its future.
This article is sponsored by Casino Tropez