It’s official: the global gambling industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world. In many ways, this was inevitable. Physical-based gambling events and venues such as brick-and-mortar casinos and horse races right across the world have been forced to close as social distancing regulations and other measures take effect. Meanwhile, many of the world’s premier sporting leagues and tournaments have been thrown into disarray, postponed, or cancelled altogether, resulting in significant obstacles for sports gambling providers. Consequently, gambling revenue has decreased significantly across the board.
But it’s not all bad news for the industry. We live in a digital age, and this is providing newfound flexibility — and resilience — in the gambling sector. Rather than floundering, digital and online gambling is going from strength to strength and is expected to reach $876 billion in global revenue by 2026.
The Digital Sector Is Supporting Growth
A report published by Global Industry Analysts in June 2021 identified the Asia-Pacific market as a key driver in this ongoing growth. Online gambling is expected to hit $322.4 billion in revenue by 2026, compared to $262.4 billion in the United States.
Online casinos are proving instrumental in this surge. Casinos in the USA, Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are projected to be the key movers, supporting a global 3.7% compound annual growth rate in this sector. Again, the Asia-Pacific region, including China, is expected to lead the pack, achieving $34.5 billion in revenue by 2026.
A Growing Market, Built on Innovation
Innovation is always at the heart of financial resilience, and this is proving to be the case in the gambling industry as we move towards recovery and growth following Covid-19. One example of this is found in the rise of eSports — the video game competitions that are taking the world by storm.
As well as providing an exciting spectacle for physical and online audiences, these eCompetitions are generating significant gambling revenue. A Market Research study predicts that this revenue will reach $1.85 billion by 2026, up from only $7.76 billion in 2019 — an astonishing compound annual growth rate of 13.67%.
eSports represent just one instance of innovative practices disrupting the industry. Another example can be found in the growth of fantasy sports drafts, which are expected to follow a compound annual growth rate of 6% over the next four years. If this trend is correct, we will see a growth of $5.38 billion in this sector by 2025, with North American markets leading the way here, contributing 45% of the total global market growth.
An Optimistic Future for the Industry
So, all is certainly not lost for the gambling industry. In fact, the future looks very bright indeed. Instead of a struggling market, we can expect to see an evolving industry, providing new opportunities for growth and development. It’s no longer a case of going back to what once was but rather looking forward to an industry that supports its customers, employees, and stakeholders. The online sector is going to be pivotal in achieving this.