Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gambling market in Europe: Current developments and trends

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2021 has been a good year for gambling in Europe, with the Gross Gambling Revenue growing by nearly 7.5%. Online gambling has grown significantly by 19%, and the trend is expected to continue in this vein in the coming years.

Some key trends that are clearly visible across markets in Europe:

  • Online is growing significantly over the last few years, with many new operators entering this sphere and a lot of player interest as well.
  • The use of cryptocurrency has also fuelled more interest in gambling because of the assurance of anonymity.
  • Mobile as a medium of online gambling is growing, while desktop and others are declining.
  • Despite the growth of online gambling, there are many countries like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain where penetration of online gambling is still low.
  • The regulated market of online gambling is growing in Europe as more countries are bringing in regulations to legalize it.

Let us explore some interesting country-wise trends for a few of the major European markets in more detail below.

Spain

Spain’s gambling market grew by 13.7% in 2020, coming up to €850.7 million in GGR. Sports betting is understandably huge in Spain, contributing to roughly 43% of the entire GGR. Some key trends in Spain include:

  • Close to 80 licensed gambling operators in the country by the end of 2020.
  • Online gambling has been growing at a blistering pace for the last four years.
  • Spain introduced gambling advertising restrictions in 2021, whose impact is yet to be clearly seen in the market.
  • Despite a huge share of sports betting, its overall growth is slowing down and, in fact, in 2020, saw a slight decline.

Sweden

Traditionally Sweden was a monopoly gambling market with government-licensed agencies running lotteries and betting. However, the Swedes moved with the times and decommissioned their monopoly system, so much so that more than 100 licensed gambling operators to operate out of Sweden now.
Sweden is a fairly large gambling market whose GGR was SEK 24.7bn in 2020. Some of the key trends in this market are:

  • It is a fast-growing market. Several new gambling sites have opened up recently that are offering high bonuses and enticing players to come and play on them.
  • While the number of gamblers is going down, the ones who are gambling are betting more
  • Technological development and the introduction of crypto is accelerating the pace of growth
  • Mobile as a gambling platform is growing significantly.

Finland

The Finnish gambling industry is expected to grow by 10% in 2020-21 and is likely to grow significantly in the coming years as well.

The Finnish gambling market is a state-run monopoly. However, many offshore operators have been surreptitiously working in Finland, especially in the online gambling scene. These operators use innovative marketing and social media influencers to promote their sites.

The Finnish government came out with the Finnish Gambling Law Reform towards the end of 2021, which makes marketing and advertising non-state-owned gambling operations completely illegal, and has put in strict penalties on social media influencers who are doing so.

It has also created a blacklist for banks to stop accepting and routing money to those gambling operators that are operating from offshore. Finland continues to be a very lucrative gambling market since nearly 80% of Finn’s gamble in one form or the other.
The impact of this latest reform is likely to come in full force in 2023 when the blacklist mentioned above comes into full effect.

Germany

Germany announced the Federal Interstate Treaty on online gambling in July 2021, effectively legalizing online betting, slot machines, and casinos. This has been a major area of concern for international operators since the market was effectively illegal until then.

While the black market was certainly thriving, there was no clear picture of actual earnings and how many people were gambling.

The treaty was intended to raise the veil on all this black market activity by awarding gambling licenses to operators, thus making this a regulated sector. Unfortunately, the treaty was challenged in the courts by a local gambling operator Vierklee, and the treaty is held in abeyance.

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