Over the last 18 months, the industry has witnessed a host of new countries open their interactive borders to embrace online casino and igaming.
So with that in mind, in the latest edition of CasinoBeats 100 Club we cast our eyes around the globe and asked our members to predict where the next big opportunity for igaming growth will come from.
We asked: Where is the next big opportunity in growth for igaming?
Eyes firmly fixed on the Latin American market, Vera Motto, business development executive at Habanero, noted that the region is “one of the fastest growing markets in igaming” – pinpointing that three operators within the continent are in the “global top ten” which Motto predicts is “only going to increase”.
She continued: “The region holds so much promise for emerging suppliers and operators who are not only looking for new territories to expand into, but are actively looking for relatively untouched territories to establish a zone of authority in.
“Some markets in the region are well developed, such as Colombia and Mexico, which have become shining examples of the strength of modern regulated markets. ColJuegos reported that the Colombian market is doubling year-on-year, which is extremely impressive, and gives hope to up-and-coming markets like Argentina and Panama.
“We’ve seen the growth that regulation has brought to Colombia, and we expect to see the same for these markets. I think Argentina will exert itself as a leading market in the coming years and challenge Colombia for size, thanks to its higher GDP and strong casino culture.”
“With favourable regulations in the horizon and expected revenue of around $2.6bn by 2025, there is so much potential for igaming brands…”Vladimir Malakchi, CCO at Evoplay
Another vote for the LatAm market came from Vladimir Malakchi, CCO at Evoplay, who stated that the region “currently possesses an unsaturated entertainment market of over half a billion socially and economically stable people” – 469 million of which Malakchi noted are “regular internet users”.
“In contrast to the well-established European markets, Latin America looks very advantageous for up-and-coming suppliers and casino operators who are not only looking for new territories to expand into but are actively searching for untouched territories to establish a zone of influence as a pioneer,” explained the Evoplay CCO.
“With favourable regulations in the horizon and expected revenue of around $2.6bn by 2025 (provided by VIXIO GamblingCompliance), there is so much potential for igaming brands to establish and elevate their standings.”
Latin America was a hot focus for TVBET’s Business Development Manager Utku Sarper, who believes that this market is among the “growing stars” of the global gaming industry – noting that the African market also presents a host of new opportunities.
“From TVBET’s perspective, we can certainly mention Latin America and Africa as growing stars and big opportunity for Live Games products,” Sarper disclosed.
“Live games products incorporate a novel approach, and players from these jurisdictions are eager to discover/consume this kind of content. Obviously in the short term, hurdles within regulation and market specific glitches will occur, however with commitment, these will resolve.”
“Canada as another modern affluent economy creates another potential powerhouse next to the US…”David Mann, chief commercial officer, Swintt.
Whilst Latin America was a popular answer among many of our members, it was not to everyone’s taste with Andreas Koeberl, BetGames CEO, believing the market “suffers” from being “overhyped”.
Instead, the CEO threw his support behind Canada, stating that the country is a “massive opportunity going forward.”
He noted: “With regulation gradually coming in and the massive value for players there, it might well be the most promising market outside the US if you get your content right.
“When a market opens up and quickly turns into a tier-one territory, competition is fierce but as poker and lottery make up a significant share of the existing volume, this presents excellent future opportunity for us – especially considering that the potential size of Ontario’s market, which is the first province to be regulated, is projected to more than triple by 2025.”
Providing an argument for both LatAm and Canada, Swintt’s chief commercial officer, David Mann, stated that the Americas as a whole presents “unique opportunities” whilst combining Latin America into ‘one’ general market offers “huge potential”.
“We can all see the promising numbers in the regulated US markets already – but Canada as another modern affluent economy creates another potential powerhouse next to the US,” Mann shared.
“Combining LatAm as ‘one’ general market gives huge potential as the player bases mature into the online gaming products from land-based though the individual markets will have their own niches and inevitably regulatory frameworks.
“Overall the US is a core focus for us at Swintt and we’re looking forward to growing stateside in upcoming months.”
“The States needed such an enormous boost as the full closure of brick-and-mortar casinos for the things to change in the online sector…”Ekaterina Giganova, CMO at Evenbet.
This sentiment was reiterated by Allan Auning-Hansen, CEO of CEGO, who claimed that despite its “limited lifetime”, the US market has “proven to be powerful” and offers “huge potential”, alongside Canada.
“The challenge in the US market is currently the high CPA values and the licensing system,” CEGO’s CEO stated. “Thus we might see that some of the other mentioned markets could be more interesting. For CEGO it is important only to operate in regulated markets.”
SkillOnNet’s head of corporate, Maor Nutkevitch, also supported the US and Canada, noting the “positive regulatory movement” which, he believes, is “slowly opening up each market”.
Nutkevitch continued: “Taking into account the unique licensing regime adopted in the US where competition is limited in most states, early entrants will have the advantage to gain and substantiate long term market share.
“Nonetheless, the regulatory rollout of igaming in the various US states is slower than anticipated and it will be interesting to see how long it will take igaming to catch up with sports betting (if at all).”
Ekaterina Giganova, CMO at Evenbet, added that, for her, the choice was “obvious”, as she backs the US market.
She expressed: “For a long time, all forms of igaming were prohibited in the US, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislation was barely moving forward. The states needed such an enormous boost as the full closure of brick-and-mortar casinos for the things to change in the online sector.
“Now, the US igaming market is one of the fastest growing in the world, even with only a bunch of states that have introduced full regulation for sports betting, casino, and other online verticals.
“I’m quite sure that when at least half of the states do that, we will see the new biggest igaming market globally, both in players’ number and revenue.”
Echoing Giganova, our final member Victor Pronk, commercial director at Incentive Games, stated that operators “cannot afford to ignore” the US market.
He concluded: “The opening of the US market is by far the biggest opportunity right now. We are seeing operators from around the world investing heavily to gain a market share and rightfully so.
“If we look at the top ten online regulated markets by estimated GGR, three US states make the global list. This includes Michigan in ninth place. This is staggering when you consider the state only opened its doors to regulated sports betting in January this year.
“We should also take into account that the four biggest states – California, Florida, New York and Texas – have not gone online yet. Of course, there is no guarantee they will open up any time soon.
“Also, the cost of player acquisition is very high and the licensing process is different per state and sometimes limits the number of operators that can enter the fold. This makes the barrier to entry high.”