Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based International Business & Corporate Services consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over 24 years of real-world experience in iGaming Licensing and Payments, Regulatory Compliance, Tax-Efficient Corporate Structuring, Incubator and other Hedge Fund Licenses, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency related services, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.
By the end of 2021, the global online gambling industry was worth some $61.5 billion, which is forecast to grow by some 86% by 2028. Overall, the gambling sector, including offline, is worth more than $287 billion and is projected to reach over $450 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate of 18.4%. If you consider that much of the gambling sector is crossing over to the digital realm, you will understand that, just now, that much potential remains untapped for online gambling operators.
So we know the figures overall, but how do they break down regarding region and game type? In his latest column for Yogonet, iGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson attempts to answer this.
In Europe, the online gambling sector is worth $34.6 billion as of the end of 2021, while it is set to grow to $56.8 billion by 2027. In Europe, sports betting remains one of the most popular online gambling, accounting for 40% of all revenue and related mainly to football, basketball, and eSports. Other popular European betting forms include bingo, scratchers, lottery, and video slots. While table and casino games are widespread across the region, they have more fans in the land-based sector than online.
That said, live dealer games are becoming increasingly popular, along with any form of gambling that facilitates cryptocurrency and digital currency payments. The strongest European markets are the UK and Italy, accounting for around half of all revenue. Back of the queue was the Netherlands with less than 10%. New entrants are boosting the sector to the market, such as Germany, and countries in the east, such as Estonia, Hungary, Norway, Romania, and Moldova.
As of 2019, the North American gambling sector was worth some $7 billion, but this was when many states in the USA banned it. Since then, the online gambling ban has been overturned at the federal level, leaving regulation matters to the states. Several states have since legalized online gambling, while others are planning to. In short, revenue has likely increased significantly since then and will continue to do so.
The predicted CAGR is around 20% before 2026, although we think this could be higher. The continent is set for great things as the USA continues to roll out online gambling and Canada increases its revenue. However, there is always the risk, particularly in the USA, of a change of tune, so for that reason, we will exercise a bit of caution in the medium to long term.
South America's online gambling industry was valued at some $77 billion in 2020 and could reach more than $127.5 billion in the next three years. It is still illegal in some key markets such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil, but there could be changes in the future. Panama, Costa Rica, Curacao, Mexico, parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay all allow iGaming through regulation or unregulation.
The industry has been seen as a significant source of revenue for countries on the continent, so despite somewhat conservative views in many countries, we expect to hear more in the years to come.
Asia-Pacific has long been the most lucrative region for online gambling because it is home to some 4.3 billion people. Over the last decade, rules in many countries have loosened up to allow online gambling, while in others, citizens gamble online regardless, using foreign sites.
The most popular kinds of gambling here include live dealers, casino games, slots, and then betting. It is also seeing much growth in cryptocurrency gambling and emerging verticals such as eSports and fantasy sports betting. This will be a region always interested in new technologies, new kinds of gambling, and innovative ways to pay. For all online gambling operators, the Asian market remains a crucial part of your strategy.
The most recent data from 2020 states that the African online gambling sector is worth just over $1 billion, but this is set to shoot up by the end of the decade. The African industry is perhaps the most underdeveloped, but key players such as Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria are already emerging. Sports betting again leads the way across the continent, particularly in football, basketball, and athletics. In addition, horse racing is famous, along with video slots.
Africans are particularly keen on alternative payment methods and crypto, due in part to a high rate of unbanked across the continent. There is no doubt that Africa has significant opportunities for online gambling operators looking to expand, which should not be overlooked.
Fast Offshore has 25 years of experience in the online gambling sector, and we have helped operators work with their markets in each area. We are the best solution for expert advice from those with their finger on the pulse. Let us help you get set up, licensed, and compliant, and allow us to take care of all ongoing maintenance. With a promise of transparency and reliability, contact Fast Offshore today.