The gambling industry is considered to be among the most flexible sectors of the world economy at present. It continuously shows the growth and a high rate of return on big investments, as well as introduces impressive innovative trends that have been in many ways ahead of even the most positive industry experts’ forecasts. In the following article, the Login Casino team will provide detailed information regarding the general market situation in 2020 and forecasts for 2025.
The global gambling market: the main reasons for its growth
In recent years, the global gambling market has been developing quite rapidly. The chart below provides data concerning Gross Gambling Yield of the world’s gambling market from 2001 to 2019. GGY is the amount of money retained by the industry’s operators after the payouts to winners but before the deduction of operation costs. As you can see below, since 2015, this figure has grown steadily.
And, according to experts and the research of LoginCasino.Org magazine, this trend will not change in 2020. A huge number of factors contribute to the continuous increase in the level of popularity of gambling activities in the world. They are:
- active development of IT-technologies around the world;
- the formation of the economies of developing countries;
- increase in incomes of the world’s population;
- changes to legislation in the field of gambling in some countries.
Overview of gambling markets in diverse regions of the world
In order to provide a deeper insight into the world’s gambling industry, we’ve also decided to analyze each of the regions separately.
The North American continent has three states with gambling establishments in them, as well as three states with pari-mutuel facilities, including dog and horse racing or quite popular modern racinos which have video poker terminals or slots within the gamblers’ reach.
Here you will be able to find more gambling establishments than on any other continent. Of course, this is mainly due to the over one thousand casinos in the United States. As for other North American countries where gambling activities are permitted by law, they are Mexico and Canada. Thus, in North America, there are more than one thousand commercial gambling establishments, and they generate about twenty-nine billion dollars in revenue every year. The most popular options at gambling establishments are roulette, poker, craps, blackjack, and racing. Other popular activities include raffles, lotteries, and pari-mutuel wagering, which is legal in all the Canadian provinces and forty-three American states.
As for gambling on the Internet in North America, its legality is still an issue of debate. The United States’ authorities on gambling law claim that there are no federal statutes or regulations in the country that explicitly forbid virtual gambling. In spite of this, there are some things which the US government considers to be illegal. In order to not face any problems, it is necessary to follow these rules:
- to not participate in owning a share of the house rate;
- wager only against each other;
- participate just in the skill game and not bet sports;
- obey state laws.
As for the online gambling market in the region, we may speak on this subject taking as an example the United States. Here, the sports betting segment has been dominating the market due to the growing utilization of digital platforms. The following chart provides more information regarding other segments of the market.
This continent occupies a considerable territory, and the large population that shows interest in gambling certainly plays an essential role in the development of the global gambling market. In Asia, the number of land-based gambling establishments prevails over the number of domestic online operators, which, in most cases, are not permitted by law. However, both formats remain quite popular.
Thus, at present, gambling is completely legal in the following countries: Lebanon, the Philippines, and Kazakhstan. It is partially legalized in Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, India, and Vietnam. Access to games is completely restricted in the UAE, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Taiwan, where violation of the ban is punishable by fines or imprisonment.
A few words should be told about Macau, which is the administrative region of China, where gambling activities are allowed at the state level. Macau is called Asian Las Vegas due to the fact that forty-nine gambling establishments located here generate an annual income of nearly 2.8 billion dollars, which is approximately three times more than the income from one hundred thirty-five casinos in Las Vegas. The absence of a tax on winnings in Macau is the main reason why serious gamblers enjoy visiting this place.
Thus, what options are the most popular at gambling establishments in this region? They are Texas Hold’em Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Fortune 3 Card Poker, Three-Card Poker, blackjack, slots, roulette, craps, Fortune Baccarat, and Three-Card Baccarat. Sports betting is also quite popular in Asia, the main sports to wager on are greyhound and horse racing.
In addition, the lottery is omnipresent throughout the Asian continent. Lotteries here are individually run and operated by the national or regional governments within a certain country or region.
Casinos in Europe are often divided up into Western Europe and Eastern Europe gambling establishments.
Firstly, we will speak about gambling activities in the Western part of the continent. It is exactly that region where the gambling industry has not only developed successfully but also is in the process of constant evolution. In this part of the European continent, in twenty countries, you can visit casinos, and four states offer pari-mutuel facilities, which include dog and horse racing, or special racinos where players have the opportunity to enjoy slots, as well as video poker.
Gambling activities in Western Europe are not only catching on but are also strictly regulated by laws. For example, the online gambling industry in the United Kingdom has two electronic betting licenses, one bookmaker’s license, and fourteen interactive gaming licenses that are in use at present.
Gambling establishments are also emerging quickly as one of the best means of entertainment in countries of Eastern Europe. There are a total of eighteen states with gambling establishments in them and one with pari-mutuel facilities in this part of Europe. Gambling arcades and casinos in states like Hungary, Albania, Croatia, and Bosnia are becoming highly popular. At the same time, gambling activities in each country is governed by a set of law – each of them has its rules and regulations.
Other regions of the world
On this continent, nine states have legal gambling establishments and four states offer pari-mutuel facilities. As for legal issues, the predominant part of the entire legal base in this region is based on outdated laws.
In South America, you will find Argentina that has more gambling establishments than any other country on this continent – seventy-nine casinos. Among them, the largest one is Casino de Tigre with seventy-four table games and one thousand and seven hundred casino slots/video poker games. In general, South American gambling establishments are popular enough due to the fact that they offer luxurious locations for those who want to enjoy trying diverse games of chance and relax.
Gambling activities are highly popular in Australia since more than 80% of all adults living here enjoy taking part in them in their free time – it is the highest gambling rate in the world. Near 10% of all state revenues are brought by gambling. Games of chance, sports wagering, horse and dog racing, lotteries, and well-known "pokies" (slot machines and video poker consoles) all draw significant interest. Overall, you will find here over twenty casinos, as well as hundreds of small venues with pokie machines.
As for online gambling operators, they are licensed in the country but they can’t offer their games to residents in accordance with the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act. At the same time, the Australian government doesn't forbid players to have access to gambling sites.
When it comes to African gambling establishments, for many people, it seems to be a real dark horse with many changes occurring just in the last few years. However, at present, gambling in Africa is gaining popularity.
In general, there are thirty countries with gambling establishments and gaming machines on the continent. Among them, South Africa has the highest number of gambling establishments, namely forty. Egypt comes close with over twenty casinos. There are also other states that are popular enough for gambling on the continent of Africa. They are Morocco, Cameron, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe among others.
Forecasts for 2025: future leaders and trends
Most likely, the United States and China will remain market leaders. However, countries from other regions will also be able to compete with them. First of all, we are talking about different Asian countries, where the demand for gambling is growing steadily. There is also a certain easing in terms of regulations: more and more states are legalizing virtual gambling and betting.
Further, some European countries are also expected to improve their performance in this regard due to the constant development in the field of technologies. Operators in this region are already developing more and more innovative products, and this applies not only to video slots, for instance, but also to such areas as VR-gambling.
Of course, the African region seems incredibly promising at the moment. However, given that virtual gambling is not regulated in most states of the continent, it will be a long time before their potential is fully revealed. If nevertheless, a number of important points are successfully worked out, the countries of the African region will have incredible results already in 2025.
As for the main trends in 2025, they are forecasted to be:
- mobile gambling. The number of players who visit virtual gambling establishments utilizing mobile devices is increasing every year. This is achieved due to the fact that such devices are becoming more functional and affordable. An important role in the spread of mobile gambling is the improvement of the quality of Internet coverage.
- wide usage of cryptocurrencies. They will continue to spread in various areas of the business, including the gambling industry. For users of virtual casinos, the ability to deposit and withdraw money in cryptocurrency provides anonymity and security. This will determine the future popularity of the method.
- live casinos. According to numerous experts, players around the world will increasingly prefer live casinos due to the combination of the atmosphere of a traditional gambling establishment and accessibility. Another important factor that makes this type of gambling establishments even more popular for users is the presence of a live dealer in the game.
- new board games. Operators of land-based gambling establishments understanding that their segment is gradually being supplanted by the virtual casino industry and will be trying to make the user experience more interactive. And the introduction of new board games might become a great solution.
The most important features of the gaming industry development
To date, the gaming market around the world is the largest segment of the global digital content market. Annually, it generates multi-billion dollar revenue and attracts a huge audience. Thus, according to Newzoo, in 2020, the global market will be able to generate revenues of 159.3 billion dollars, and most gamers will be from the Asia-Pacific region.
As for the largest gaming markets in the world, they are:
- The United States
- South Korea.
- The United Kingdom
Types of platforms: which one is the most popular?
The most popular platform for gaming in 2020 has turned out to be mobile devices, and it can be explained by a few reasons. Such type of gaming has the lowest barrier to entry: over two-fifths of the population in the world has smartphones, and a large number of mobile games are free to play. Another reason is that the mobile development process is not so complicated and, therefore, it is less likely to experience any negative consequences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What the pandemic has had an impact on is console gaming. Physical distribution, collaborations between diverse companies, and certification represent major parts of console game development that lead to some delays. The current situation has also a negative impact on the games that have been scheduled to accompany the launch of next-gen consoles since the development process for next-gen games was a complicated one even before the coronavirus pandemic.
Finally, according to experts, revenues from PC gaming are growing in comparison with the previous year, which is also connected with the lockdown measures. The ecosystem of personal computers has moved to digital much quicker than console did, that’s why physical distribution isn’t a serious issue for PC. However, it would not be right to tell that this segment hasn’t been completely unaffected by the pandemic: PC titles are also getting delayed because of COVID-19, and one of the examples is the port of Death Stranding.
It should be also noted that the current year, across all three segments, nearly 50 % of consumer spending on games comes from the United States and China.
Leading game developers
It goes without saying that, at present, there is an incredibly large number of new developers in the world. Every year, new companies emerge in this field, set ambitious plans, and try to develop projects that will be able to impress the whole world. However, in 2020, the key players of the market are still those companies that have been engaged in this field for many years. Below, you will find more information regarding the most famous companies represented in the gaming market.
This is a well-known American company, a division of Sony Corporation, which was founded in 1993. Sony Interactive Entertainment specializes in developing video games, hardware, and software for the PlayStation consoles, and the company also publishes video games designed for its consoles.
Xbox Game Studios (formerly Microsoft Studios)
The company is a well-known subsidiary of Microsoft that specializes in developing and publishing video games for Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows, as well as Windows Phone. Microsoft Studios publishes both proprietary and third-party games.
The oldest interactive entertainment maker in the world, Nintendo Co. Ltd., develops hardware and software for its Wii U and Wii consoles, as well as the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS portable systems. In addition, the well-known company created such successful gaming industry brands as Pokémon, Mario, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and Zelda.
This is an American corporation that has been engaged in the field of development and distribution of video games. Currently, the company’s most successful projects are various sports games published under the EA Sports label, games from long series such as FIFA and Need for Speed, as well as games that are based on popular movies, for instance, Harry Potter.
This is a French company specializing in the development and publication of computer games. Ubisoft is one of the main game publishers in the European continent. Among the most popular company’s projects, there are Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance Tom Clancy's Shard Cell, and so on.
The most popular genres of games
Nowadays there are a great number of genres of games, and each of them has special features. Of course, tastes differ but it is still possible to determine which genres of games are the most popular among players.
- Adventure games
Games of this genre require players to solve diverse riddles to advance the plot. As a rule, the plot, in this case, can be predetermined or there are multiple outcomes, the choice of which depends on the actions of a player.
To solve the riddles in such games, the player should have good intelligence and developed logical thinking. The main help in these games turns out to be various items that the character meets while traveling in the playing space of numerous levels. The most popular games representing this genre are Grand Theft Auto V, and Read Dead Redemption II.
- Role-playing games
In games of this genre, the player has at his or her disposal a set of characters, each of which performs a separate role or function. The goal of the characters is to jointly explore the virtual world and complete the task that has been set at the beginning of the game. The task might be to find a particular treasure or other things. The way to achieving the necessary goal is usually blocked by various obstacles, which must be overcome.
The main peculiarity of role-playing games is the choice of strategy for the development of the character, which allows players to go through the same game in different ways, changing each time the features of the characters and the strategy of the game as a whole. Popular games in this genre are, for instance, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Torchlight II, Pillars of Eternity.
- Strategy games
It is a genre of games in which conditions force the player to make strategically correct decisions. The main goal of strategic games is usually to manage troops, minerals, energy, or other similar resources. Moreover, it is often necessary to carry out not only long-term planning but also to monitor the current situation. The ultimate goal of a game representing this genre is to conquer enemies’ settlements, enter into the necessary alliance, or gain a fixed amount of points.
As for popular examples of this genre, it is possible to mention such games as Sid Meier's Civilization 6, XCOM 2, and Into the Breach.
- Arcade games
Of course, modern times are not the peak of popularity of arcade games but still, a lot of people enjoy this genre. A characteristic feature of arcade games is the existence of many levels, and the reward is the player’s right to move on to the next mission. As a rule, at the end of each mission, the player needs to achieve a major victory. Besides, games of this genre are characterized by a system of points (additional bonuses) provided for the speed of passing, finding secret doors or items, or defeating an opponent.
The most popular games of this genre are considered to be Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders.
Other notable market features
To better understand the gaming industry, it is also worth considering the age and gender divide of all gamers. If we take, for example, the United States, the second-largest gaming market, people aged eighteen-thirty-five years old make up the majority of the gamers in the country.
As for the gender divide, the following chart breaks the common stereotype that very few women are interested in gaming. In fact, at the moment, the difference is almost imperceptible: female players make up forty-six percent of all gamers in the US.
The gaming industry: the five-year forecast
Taking into account the fact that the gaming industry changes so fast, we can say with certainty that, in 2020, the world of games will be completely different. Based on diverse industry experts’ assumptions, these will be the main future trends:
- Virtual reality. The technology can give players what they need – deep immersive experience. At present, VR headsets are still quite expensive; the technology advancement is forecasted to make them much more affordable for both experienced gamers and casual players.
- Augmented reality. It is also expected to become another important game-changer in the future. Why will it be popular? There are a few reasons: AR will help to make the game experience more interactive, due to the integration of the real world with the virtual one, the person will be involved in the game much more, and it will push the boundaries of reality, sometimes adding a motion control element to the process.
- Face and voice recognition. Face recognition technology has already been utilized in numerous fields, and gaming is one of them. The further development of technology suggests that soon players will get the opportunity to scan their appearance to create characters similar to themselves in various games. Similar innovation is thought to be human voice recognition. Using it, you will be able to control the whole gameplay and even turn the console on and off.
- Better graphics. Video game graphics are getting better and more realistic every year. To create a character, you can now fully digitize an alive actor, transfer his/her facial expressions and gestures to the screen. Drawing details is also getting better, allowing the gamer to experience the maximum of emotions from the game.
What should game developers take into account?
Based on all of the above, we can give one important piece of advice to game developers: if you want to stay afloat in this business, follow the trends. Create games based on Virtual reality or Augmented reality, face and voice recognition that will have an amazing quality of graphics and will be able available for mobile devices. Do not focus only on one age group or just male/female players – think more broadly, try to make the product that will be interesting for the largest possible group of people. Only following these rules, developers of games will succeed in such a competitive field.