The online gambling market has been one of the world’s fastest growing sectors over recent years, estimated to be worth over $60bn in 2021. Over recent years, however, such growth has seen a partial trend reversal due to new challenges and considerations. Increased regulatory pressure, added licensing requirements coupled with an overarching lack of harmonisation, enhanced anti-money laundering requirements, growing demands for safer gambling, advertising restrictions, stricter aff ordability checks, stake and deposit limitations, are all factors that take signifi cant resources and squeeze remote gambling operators’ margins.
Couple these with the significant fines imposed by gambling regulators for compliance failings in major jurisdictions, the unfair competition brought forward by unlicensed operators and the rise of the black market, and it becomes clear how the factors boosting industry growth over the past years are increasingly mitigated by the heightened compliance and operational costs.
This is a trend that is thought will continue in the years to come, however, as the online gambling industry continues to evolve, new opportunities come into play. A key aspect operators are capitalising on at the moment, particularly in the US, is the convergence of gambling with the sports, media and video gaming industries. Technological innovation, such as 5G networks, metaverse, NFTs, VR/AR and immersive tech, as well as blockchain technologies, are all expected to generate growth opportunities.
As games change and we witness a convergence of spheres, innovation can fall within grey areas, and this is where margins can oft en exist. Whether margins can be retained in the future will largely depend on the operational sustainability and the industry’s ability to self-regulate. Certainly, operators must act responsibly to ensure the sector has a sustainable future.
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