Prospects of the iGaming Niche: Expert Analysis

18 december 2023

A provider of solutions for casino and sportsbook platforms, Uplatform, conducted a comprehensive study of the entertainment market. The main attention was paid to betting since it is the most highly profitable and dynamically developing area.

Specialists of the CASEXE studio will present the results of the report and give their opinions on the key trends in the iGaming niche.


General Information on the Industry

Gambling and betting industry: general info

Uplatform research shows that the sector will grow rapidly during the next 10 years.

The company predicts that from 2023 to 2030, gross gaming revenue (GGR) will increase by an average of 11.7% each year. At the end of 2022, global GGR reached $63.53 billion, and by 2030, this figure will be $117.6 billion.

Let us consider the key indicators of the development of the casino and betting market:

The Loosening of the Regulatory Rules

It means a change in gambling policy presented in the form of the legalisation of games for money in many EU countries, Latin America, and Asia. This approach ensures stable capitalisation of the segment: operators have room to grow and scale their projects, enter new areas, as well as raise productivity.

At the moment, the attention of global investors is focused on LatAm. Shortly, the Brazilian market with a multi-million audience, experienced professionals, and a well-developed IT infrastructure will open.

Demographic Shift

Mr. Randall, sales manager for Uplatform, noted:

The online casino niche is always developing. Among the most significant changes, we can name the influx of millennials and Generation Z into the gambling sector.

In most jurisdictions, access to the placement of bids is prohibited for anyone under 21 years of age. Due to such restrictions, only 20% of the younger audience can legally bet money in digital casinos and bookmakers’ offices. And even this number of users brings stable income to operators.

As for millennials, they generate about 30 or 40% of iGaming platforms' revenues.

The nuances of attracting juveniles to entertainment resources:

  • provision of a dynamic and exciting experience;
  • the use of advanced technologies to create a realistic and interactive environment;
  • improvement of interaction with the audience thanks to gamification tools.

Technology Footprint

Active implementation of innovations is typical for many sectors of the economy, including gambling. Modern IT solutions increase customer engagement, provide the most accurate and realistic picture, as well as speed up mutual settlements.

The Uplatform company calls the metaverse the main driving force in the iGaming sphere.

Mr. Randall said:

The expansion of such a market in recent years offers opportunities to find new sources of income. Online casinos and sportsbook portals open up new perspectives.

The capitalisation of the digital entertainment niche is also affected by the following technologies:

  1. AI. The solution is used to automate routine tasks of entrepreneurs, improve the quality of client service, combat fraud, and identify individuals with signs of ludomania.
  2. Blockchain. Cryptocurrency speeds up settlements with players and ensures anonymous gambling from anywhere in the world.
  3. VR and AR. Providers create 3D spaces that resemble real casinos.

Change of Gaming Preferences

Mr. Randall noted:

Finding the right mix of products that resonate with the audience, promoting them effectively, and implementing strategic marketing approaches are those steps that operators need to achieve better results.

In 2023, it will be important for business owners to find a balance by offering a wide variety of content with different levels of volatility to meet the demands of players and satisfy their risk appetite.

Continuous testing, monitoring, and prompt resolution of issues, as well as taking into account user feedback, form a win-win strategy for maintaining a high-quality iGaming environment.

Popular types of casino entertainment:

  1. Skill-based games. These are poker, blackjack, and some versions of digital solutions. To achieve the best results, customers will need to have experience and the right strategy.
  2. Slot machines. This category includes products with a cluster structure of prize combinations, VR/AR games, and options that support cryptocurrency payments. Many software vendors take traditional slots as a basis and improve them with innovative mechanics, effective retention tools, and original bonuses.
  3. Mini-rounds. It may be fishing, hunting, catching eggs, building a pipeline, or other fun tasks that go beyond traditional casino offers. The content combines skills, excitement, and engaging social features.

Gambling in Latin America

Gambling in LatAm: the main characteristics

Mr. Randall said:

LatAm is a very unique region. It is influenced by European and American gaming traditions, especially in the betting segment. The market is characterised by a variety of products and sports.

Key features of the local industry:

  • the expected GGR of the sector in 2027 is $7.38 billion;
  • the number of active players reaches $2.2 billion;
  • the share of football betting is estimated at $67%;
  • the percentage of wagers placed via mobile devices is $76%;
  • the number of views of the eSports competition at the end of 2022 was $70 million.

Development of the Sportsbook Direction in the Region

It is worth mentioning that it dominates the LatAm gambling sphere and is considered legal in almost all jurisdictions, including those (such as Mexico) where the operation of virtual casinos is not allowed.

The Uplatform company identifies several trends in the betting vertical:

  1. Popularisation of various sports. Football, horse racing, tennis, basketball, and motorsports are the most interesting to the audience. The first one, however, is an undisputed leader: 67% of bets are related to this discipline. People in Latin America enjoy watching the World Cup, Copa Libertadores, Italian Serie A, English Premier League, and other competitions.
  2. Switching to games in the live mode. Top bookmakers organise broadcasts of popular athletic events, which attracts the customers’ attention to the sportsbook niche. Gamblers are looking not only for favourable odds for the main matches but also for attractive live offers. These are quick bids with high odds: which team will score first, at what minute, etc.
  3. Increase in the number of mobile bets. The trend is especially noticeable in Mexico. Here, more and more people are using their gadgets for wagering and watching top matches. A similar situation is observed in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and other countries.
  4. Growth of the eSports betting direction. The region is home to many professional teams in such games as Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Bookmakers are happy to cover iconic competitions and offer a balanced event line, as well as profitable promotions.

Online Gambling

Experts of the Uplatform brand predict that Brazil, Peru, and Chile will start issuing casino licences already this year. They will follow the successful example of Argentina and Mexico.

For these states, the launch of the iGaming vertical turned out to be quite profitable. It attracted multimillion-dollar investments, created thousands of jobs, and brought enormous revenues to the budget.

Cultural values ​​and local traditions have a huge impact on the LatAm entertainment market. People have been betting money on horse races, lotteries, bingo, and keno for centuries. Today, this is one of the most popular activities in the region, which is allowed in most countries.

Among the audience preferences, it is worth mentioning the following live dealer solutions:

  • roulette;
  • blackjack;
  • baccarat;
  • Texas Hold'em.

Gamblers enjoy placing bets in live casinos and communicating with opponents, as well as friendly croupiers.

Asian-Pacific Region

Mr. Randall stated:

The entertainment industry in Asia is on the cusp of significant growth. This is due to the active introduction of innovations, increases in people’s income, and a positive attitude towards gambling on the part of regulators.

The Uplatform company highlights the following features of running a casino business in Asia:

Focus on Traditional Solutions

Board games are in the lead among the audience’s preferences. This is content with built-in GPS and live broadcasts.

The most popular products are:

  • Andar Bahar;
  • Teen Patti;
  • Rummy;
  • Poker.

The decision to offer slot machines also brings good traffic to entrepreneurs. Users like solutions designed in an oriental style, with traditional colour combinations, images of animals, and relevant music.

The Role of Affiliate Marketing

The sales manager for Uplatform noted:

Affiliates play an important role in the functioning of virtual casinos in Asia. Collaboration with local partners will facilitate understanding of cultural nuances, customer preferences, and effective marketing strategies.

60% of the world's population lives in Asia. It is the most profitable gambling market in the world, which generates 40% of total GGR. The revenues of entertainment brands are constantly increasing.

Growth of the Betting Vertical

Bookmakers’ offices are developing in 2 directions:

  1. Popularisation of local disciplines. These are Muay Thai, kabaddi, cricket, and other traditional sports. The people’s choice varies depending on the country. Thus, in India, good income comes from the placement of quotes on cricket, and Indonesians are more interested in badminton.
  2. Coverage of international events. Gamblers like basketball, football, wrestling, cycling, and water disciplines.

In recent years, the region has seen a surge in the popularity of eSports. They are well-developed in Japan, China, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries. The most in-demand directions are League of Legends and Dota 2.

An interesting feature of local betters is their excessive thriftiness. They rarely take risks and deposit large sums on one event. People tend to divide their current budget into several small bids. Therefore, it is important for bookmakers to provide a wide event line with a large selection of main and side options.

Gambling in Africa

Casino entertainment in Africa: key nuances

Mr. Randall said:

The local industry is undergoing a powerful transformation. This is influenced by the active digitalisation of the economy, the spread of smartphones, the popularisation of Internet banking, and the growth in incomes of the population.

Uplatform published the following data:

  • the average annual increase in GGR in the region is 3.9%;
  • the percentage of players who place bets at least once a week is estimated at 72%;
  • the share of the audience aged 18 to 29 years is 21%;
  • the percentage of clients who replenish their accounts using credit funds is 5%.

Gaming Preferences of Local Users

Let us consider what content Africans like the most:

  1. Casino slots. These include digital solutions, electronic options, and video poker products.
  2. Bets. People usually choose bookmakers’ offices with fixed odds, sweepstakes, and sites that accept bids on the outcome of lotteries.
  3. National lottery. In most countries, the organisation of raffles is monopolised by state-owned companies.

Nuances of the Development of the iGaming Sector

Experts of the Uplatform company highlight the following characteristics of the African entertainment niche:

  1. Diverse market conditions. While in some countries (for example, Nigeria or South Africa) the casino and sportsbook segment is growing at a tremendous pace, in others (such as Morocco or Egypt) gambling is strictly prohibited. The penetration of technologies is also uneven. 85% of Kenyans have smartphones and constant access to the Internet. In Western Sahara, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, the number is only 10%.
  2. Traditional betting channels. The mobile vertical is growing in Africa, given the smooth digitalisation of the economy. However, despite this, most people continue to use SMS and Telegram, as well as place bids at stationary points. Bookmakers’s offices function not only as offline centres but also as public places for meetings and communication.
  3. Updating the regulatory framework. The market is expecting big changes in the near future. They will be aimed at introducing the principles of responsible gambling. Many African countries have high levels of poverty, and games for money are seen as a get-rich-quick scheme. Updating the legal basis will protect customers and become an effective method of fighting ludomania.

The European Casino and Sportsbook Niche

This region is showing impressive growth rates (CAGR of 13.4%), although many jurisdictions are working on tightening the legislation. The UK and Germany lead the way in terms of gross gaming revenue, return on investment, and other KPI metrics.

Main Trends in the Local Market

Let us consider how the entertainment segment is developing in Europe:

  1. Strict regulation. Governments of many states impose restrictions on the number and cost of spins, the size of bonuses, and gambling advertising. France, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other regions have followed this path. It is expected that the example of Western European countries will be followed by Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania, promoting the principles of responsible attitude to the placement of bets.
  2. High competition. There are dozens of large corporations and hundreds of young but promising iGaming startups operating on the market. State lottery monopolies provide huge competition to private companies (casinos and bookmakers’ offices). They are common in the Balkans (Romania, Greece, and Slovenia) and other countries.
  3. Powerful IT support. Europe is covered by a 5G broadband network. There are many advanced data centres and reliable consulting companies working on the continent. Top software vendors are actively introducing innovations, be it bonus programs with NFT assets or instant cryptocurrency payments.

Preferences of European Players

Uplatform analysts highlight several key features of the local audience:

  1. Unconditional love for sports betting. The annual GGR of the sector is estimated at $34.5 billion, or $72.33 per adult user. Experts predict that by 2027, the niche will generate 41% of all income, well ahead of casinos and lotteries.
  2. Risk appetite. Gamblers enjoy playing at higher limits and are not afraid to bet large sums of money. People are in search of strong emotions and consider excitement as a way to have fun.
  3. Interest in long-term bets. Europeans enjoy participating in forecasting tournaments, seasonal promotions, and other events where decision-making requires experience and a good strategy. Express bets are the most popular offers.

The Main Things about Global iGaming Trends

Global gambling trends: future of the market

We offer to your attention several conclusions from the research on the development of key entertainment markets:

  • Analysts predict stable growth of the online casino vertical by 2030. Its capitalisation will be affected by the easing of regulatory rules, demographic shifts, the introduction of innovations, and changes in the audience’s preferences.
  • Latin America is one of the most promising gambling sectors. It is dominated by the betting vertical, while websites with slot machines are not considered legal in all jurisdictions. Investors' expectations are related to Brazil and the plans of the local government to allow the activity of digital casinos.
  • The Asia-Pacific region is experiencing impressive GGR growth. To become a leader in this highly competitive market, operators need to focus on traditional entertainment and set up an effective affiliate network.
  • Gambling in Africa is characterised by favourable legislation, growing penetration of smartphones, and high interest in sportsbook solutions. Locals prefer traditional betting channels: SMS, Telegram, and land-based points.
  • Europe dominates global gambling. The region has strong IT support, stable legislation, and a well-developed community.

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Author: Matt Grant
iGaming business expert
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