Navigating the key iGaming trends and regulations in 2024 – European gaming industry news

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We sat down with him Irina Pisanko, CPO at Alpha partnerand talked about the key iGaming trends and regulations in 2024.

Our question and answer session will help understand the state of the iGaming industry globally – whether it is impacting economies around the world and how regulations and trends are impacting it.

How has the iGaming industry evolved globally over the last decade and what are the key trends driving its growth?

IP: With the development of technology in the last decade, the iGaming industry has experienced significant growth. We have seen a shift in users from desktop devices to mobile devices, especially as 58% of online casino players use mobile devices. It is also important to note that cryptocurrencies have changed the world and taken significant positions in our business. Almost every online casino now allows deposits in various cryptocurrencies, and there are also separate casinos that specialize in cryptocurrencies, with the currency itself being used in the games.

In addition, it is impossible not to mention that in the early 2000s, operators mainly obtained licenses that allowed them to operate in several countries at the same time. However, many countries, particularly in Tier 1 countries, are now introducing their own local regulations, restricting single-licensed online casinos operating across borders, and therefore the entire iGaming environment is more regulated worldwide.

What are the main economic contributions of the iGaming industry and what impact does it have on the local and national economy?

IP: More and more countries are now adopting local regulations, which brings new economic impacts. First, there are tax implications. Any operator operating in markets with a local license must pay taxes. Secondly, after receiving a license, the operator must establish a company in the country of operation, open a bank account and, accordingly, deposit a significant amount of money. Of course, these factors have a positive impact on the economy, otherwise the taxes would go to the country that issues the license and not to the country where players spend their money. Countries like Malta and Gibraltar are able to maintain their economies at a commendable level through tax revenue from the gambling industry. Regulation leads to job creation and thus contributes to improved living standards in the country.

Which countries are currently leading the iGaming sector, both in terms of market share and technological advancement?

IP: Currently, countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, China and Australia hold leading positions in both the iGaming industry and technological advancements. These countries have well-developed online gambling and land-based gambling sectors, which contribute to the growth of the entire industry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most market participants opened their online casinos, not only retaining their player base but also expanding it manifold.

In addition, these countries were among the first to introduce local regulations, thereby securing a dominant market position. Promoting online casinos with local licenses has become more accessible and offers the opportunity to reach and engage a larger audience.

Can you explain the key factors that contribute to the success of these leading countries in the iGaming industry?

IP: The development of offline casinos in these countries is probably the biggest factor in their success. People in these countries are used to viewing online casinos as a form of entertainment rather than an opportunity to earn money. The progress of information technologies has promoted the development of online casinos and eliminated the need to spend time on travel, expenses, etc. Now you have the casino in your pocket at all times. This has contributed significantly to the rapid growth of online gambling in these countries.

How does the iGaming industry impact job creation and employment opportunities in the regions where it operates?

IP: First and foremost, the introduction of local regulations helps create jobs, as licensees, law firms and payment companies all need staff. And of course we can’t forget the operators themselves. An online casino may involve specialists from different areas such as marketing, development, traffic management, finance and more, which means there are more positions to fill. Simply by promoting the national language, numerous jobs are created for low-skilled people.

Additionally, industry events held in different countries provide employment opportunities in the events sector, which inevitably impacts overall employment.

What are the potential future growth areas or untapped markets for the iGaming industry and how might these impact its global presence?

IP: In my opinion, new potential markets for the industry include Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Looking at Latin America, the population in this region is very large and the vast majority of residents do not have access to offline casinos, making online casinos more accessible to them. The country has a strong affinity for gambling and enjoys sports betting, bingo and lotteries.

Asia is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Many countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and certain regions of India are in the discussion phase about regulation. While Japan restricts online gambling, sports betting is proving popular among its residents. Especially in India, the growth of iGaming became evident with the development of the Internet. Sports betting is popular among gamblers, especially for cricket and the local IPL as well as live dealer games.

In Africa, the most potential markets are South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. The region’s potential lies primarily in sports betting, and with the growth of mobile phones and the Internet, online casinos and betting platforms are increasingly penetrating these markets.

The growth areas undoubtedly include cryptocurrency casinos. The cryptocurrency removes restrictions on monetary transactions and, with a high approval rate, increases the number of players worldwide. Crypto casinos don’t care about the player’s location; What matters is an option to deposit and a good internet connection.

Another interesting idea, albeit for the distant future, is the transition of online casinos into metaverse universes. There has already been an experiment in which a casino was opened in GTA, which gained overwhelming popularity. After all, our lives increasingly take place online.

Can you discuss the challenges and risks associated with expanding the iGaming industry, both from a regulatory and market perspective?

IP: The biggest risk to the development of the iGaming business is the proliferation of so-called “gray” online casinos. These establishments operate without obtaining a license and, unfortunately, sometimes do not pay out profits to their customers.

This primarily affects the reputation of online casinos, as after encountering such problems, users may hesitate to make deposits on other platforms. This, in turn, can reduce the total number of online players. Secondly, such casinos evade tax payments, which leads to a loss of government revenue. Thirdly, these operators could prove to be unscrupulous employers and may deprive their employees of their due wages.

How are technological advancements like blockchain and virtual reality impacting the iGaming industry and which countries are at the forefront of adopting these innovations?

IP: The future lies in such technologies that significantly simplify the lives of players and operators. Cryptocurrency offers us payment anonymity and a 100% approval rate. As for virtual reality and metaverses, they have the potential to replace offline casinos by offering real interactions and the feeling of being part of an event. However, this is not in the immediate future, but rather something we can expect later.

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