nalysis from PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts that spending in the United States on casino and online gambling activities will rise by five percent from us$ 57.5 billion in 2010 to us$ 73.3 billion in 2015 while the Asia-Pacific region will see ‘dramatic growth’ of 18.3 percent in gaming spend to reach $79.3 billion in five years and overtake the US to become the world’s largest regional market.
“The casino gaming market in Europe, the Middle East and Asia has been the hardest hit of any region by the economic downturn with revenues slumping by twelve percent in 2009 followed by a further 7.2 percent in 2010, which was the third consecutive annual decline,” said David Trunkfield, Lead Gaming Partner for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
“We expect that revenues in Europe, the Middle East and Asia will reach us$ 18.3 billion in 2015, which is up from us$ 16.3 billion in 2010 and an average annual increase of 2.4 percent compounded annually. The weak economic conditions and the impact of adverse regulatory developments in some countries will curtail growth.”
Regarding online gaming, PriceWaterhouseCoopers stated that the industry has continued to evolve over the past year as policymakers around the world attempt to bring the sector into a ‘locally licensed, regulated and taxed framework’. The firm declared that this contrasts with the historical situation where online gaming was made up of fragmented pockets of legal and illegal spending served by operators licensed in a range of jurisdictions with the size of the market almost impossible to measure accurately.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that most of the world’s legal online gaming takes place in Europe, the Middle East and Asia with the UK being the largest single market. It revealed that the ongoing regulatory complexities, which are often unclear and open to different interpretations, still vary widely between countries and even between various forms of online and mobile gaming.
In particular, PriceWaterhouseCoopers discovered that a growing number of countries within the European Union are setting up regulatory regimes for online gaming, particularly poker and sportsbetting, with Spain, Denmark, Greece, Bulgaria, Germany and Hungary all taking steps towards developing a locally regulated and legal online gaming market this year alone. However, these nations are finding that this is more complex and taking longer than they expected as any national regimes in the European Union need to be consistent with the political federation’s laws.
“With governments now facing severe fiscal constraints and eager to replenish their coffers, their attention has been caught by the potential of legalised and licensed online gaming services as a valuable source of tax revenues,” said Trunkfield.
“There is also a strong argument that, since consumers will engage in illegal online gaming if countries don't regulate, it is better to license and tax it than to allow the revenues to go to unlicensed operators and player protection will be greater too in this scenario.”
PriceWaterhouseCoopers announced that the UK is also looking to change its regulations in order to capture tax revenues that are currently being lost to offshore jurisdictions such as Gibraltar and Malta.
“With online gaming being complementary to bricks-and-mortar revenues, there will be more than enough room in the market for both online and physical gaming services provided each offers a compelling experience for the consumer,” said Trunkfield.
“Whether you look at the physical casino market or online gaming opportunities, the overriding challenge is the same. In this ever-increasing digital world where consumers can access vast quantities of information and experiences from wherever they are, the gaming industry is competing for the increasingly limited share of money consumers have for discretionary spend.”