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.
With 2021 almost behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2022. While there are still a couple of months left to go, most businesspeople are already strategising for what lies ahead. It’s been an exciting couple of years with many unpredictable events and trends. We’ve seen digital currencies, virtual reality, eSports, live dealer games, IoT, and many other technologies find their place in the sector. It’s also become apparent just how vital mobiles are to the gambling industry. So, what else have the last two years taught us, and what can we expect from next year?
2020 was a year none of us were prepared for. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the world on lockdown by mid-March, with sporting events cancelled and land casinos closed. Operators braced themselves for a difficult period, but many were able to recoup possible losses. This was the year that eSports started its transition to the mainstream. As sports bettors were left with limited options, eSports betting came to the fore. The sector grew exponentially, and even as the world opened up, its popularity remained.
We also saw more operators bringing on crypto payments and blockchain gambling either through integration or stand-alone platforms. Overall, gambling revenue continued to climb during the year, albeit after a slight stumble in the first and second quarters. Overall, it was a year that saw a variety of paradigm shifts. Gambling became more popular, more diverse, and more technologically advanced faster than expected.
Fast Offshore saw a significant influx of requests from entrepreneurs wanting to set up their own gambling companies. Many were interested in cryptocurrency payments and integrating them into their sites. We also had lots of eSports startups, from betting sites to those offering ancillary services.
Latin America showed promise in terms of regions as more governments legalised or took steps to regulate online gambling. As ever, Asia was one of the leading regions, along with Europe that remained steady in terms of growth.
2021 was also the year that the FATF greylisted Malta. This meant we got several requests to move jurisdictions, acquire other licenses, or set up in places like Kahnawake and Curacao.
2022 is set to be an even better year for the online gambling sector. According to the "Gambling: Global Market Opportunities & Strategies to 2022" report, projections for online and offline combined surpass an impressive $565 billion by the year-end. This demonstrates a growth rate of almost 6% on an annual basis.
When we look at just online gambling, the picture is even rosier. Figures from Juniper Research suggest that the total value of online wagers could reach $1 trillion. The figures vary depending on where you look, but all of them show a CAGR of over 10% in overall growth. Based on a CAGR of 12%, we can expect the value of online gambling to surpass $112 billion by 2025.
As for drivers of growth, we should be on the lookout for several different factors.
Most of us use or have used wearable technology such as smartwatches or similar. Many of us also have home assistants or use them on our phones and computers. We expect to see growing interesting in betting using these devices. While they don’t offer much in the way of visuals, they do offer convenience.
Particularly in sports betting, fantasy sports, and even eSports, using voice recognition technology and AI is sure to be a popular way to bet. While it may not be a massive driver of growth next year, we consider it an emerging market worth considering.
Consumer confidence in paying online has increased, and as a result, there is more demand for payment solutions. Going beyond traditional card payment methods, lots of exciting and innovative options are now available. Digital wallets are now one of the most popular ways to pay online, as are payment processors and integrated payment solutions.
Of course, you also need to look at cryptocurrency payments, especially other coins, not just bitcoin. There are many popular and stable coins out there being used widely for purchasing and spending online. The more payment methods and types you have, the more players you can reach.
Mobile gambling crops up every year as a significant driver for growth, but this is the reality. More and more people are turning to mobile, and this is a trend that is unlikely to decline or reverse. As more people use mobile and get accustomed to it, their demands will increase.
User experience, speed, graphics, apps or progressive apps- all of these are things we must consider in our mobile strategy. Providing your players with the latest mobile gambling technology will give you a competitive edge over those who aren’t.
If your new year’s resolution is to get your online gambling business off the ground, your best bet is to contact Fast Offshore. We can help you with incorporation, licensing, payments, compliance, and everything else you need to make your new venture a success.