The iGaming industry has been one of the most eye-catching business sectors in terms of growth over the last couple of years.
The numbers involved in the industry are staggering. Over the past five years, iGaming developers have doubled their customer base, generating almost $100bn in revenue. The market should go beyond $61.5bn this year, and growth is projected to be 86% by 2028, resulting in a market worth an eye-watering $114.4bn.
Much of this is driven by the United States and China, although Europe and the United Kingdom are leading the way in certain sectors. However, the term iGaming feels ambiguous and can incorporate many different industries under a single umbrella. To help you pick through the numbers, we’ve provided a handy guide to the world of iGaming.
What is iGaming?
The term iGaming is not to be confused with eSports; it is a standalone sector within the online gaming market. At a base level, iGaming is any online platform upon which a wager can be placed. That means online casinos, poker and such like, but also sportsbooks, which is a growing sector in North America.
How Has It Grown So Quickly?
There are multiple reasons why the industry has grown quickly. The first is the technology upon which it is played; the last ten years have seen smartphones get faster and more powerful, meaning better user experiences. That also applies to tablets, offering big screens for the best online experience possible.
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The onset of firstly 4G and now 5G has also helped. Online providers rely on people being able to play on the go, just as much as they play at home. That means a more stable connection is required, and developers can rely more on the connection as 5G rolls out worldwide.
That reliability and better tech mean they can also be more ambitious with their games. An online casino is now not just a selection of slot machines and digital games; it can be a live experience, too. Often, developers have real-life dealers handling the games, making the experience more personal and enjoyable.
However, one of the significant changes in poker during the past few years is the rise of competitive poker games in online casinos. For instance, PokerStars held virtual poker tours for European players, while GGPoker offered official World Series of Poker Circuit and bracelet events. Thanks to these online poker tournaments, more casual players started to try their hand at these accessible professional games.
What Threats Does It Face?
The iGaming industry might be booming, but it is not without threats. For instance, sports agers are a huge part of the industry, but there is a desire in some areas to reduce the number of people drawn into this sector. This is exemplified in the UK, where companies advertising iGaming on soccer jerseys are being frowned upon and potentially banned by those in charge of the game.
There’s also the question of legislation within other significant markets, not least the United States. Online poker is one sector only available in certain states; five currently offer online poker players real money games, and just two more have provisions but not a developer as yet.
Legislation is changing, but the slow process could restrict the industry’s growth in North America. There is a slightly more relaxed view on sports wagers, but the laws vary from state to state, making growth somewhat challenging.
Startup founders can learn a lot from the iGaming sector’s success, especially now that a global recession is on the horizon. Startups have to be more efficient and have to run as lean as possible to thrive. As such, businesses need to follow in the footsteps of the online gaming industry which has never been afraid to embrace new technology, such as live-hosted games.
The industry also faced numerous challenges by being at the forefront of other developments, such as conducting business in the metaverse and even embracing cryptocurrency. Many online casinos and poker providers have been accepting crypto as payment for a couple of years now and will continue to do so to attract new customers.
There are worries in some locations about how ethical certain sections of the industry are, but tight legislation ensures fairer games for customers, removing one barrier to growth; customer resistance. With clever marketing, the iGaming industry will continue to thrive, even during these times of financial uncertainty. It thrived in the past few years and will likely survive the current adverse economic climate.