In his latest column for Yogonet, iGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson shares insights on the European online gambling market trends. The expert provides an analysis of the various verticals, including sports betting, casino, lottery and bingo, as well as poker.
There is often much focus on the Asian online gambling sector and emerging markets such as South America, but what about Europe? While Europe is popular for licensing- think Isle of Man and Malta- what about gamblers? The European market is different regarding preferences and trends, so let’s look at what is hot on this continent, home to 746 million people.
Sports betting is by far the most popular kind of betting in Europe, accounting for up to 40% of the market share as of the end of 2020. This includes soccer, horse racing, US games like football and basketball, and even eSports. Over the last three to four years, eSports became a popular alternative to regular sports, providing more flexibility for gamblers.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, eSports filled the gap caused by the cancellation and postponements of sporting events due to restrictions. Even after the pandemic has somewhat subsided, eSports has remained popular with gamblers. This year is set to be an even bigger year for sports betting as the World Cup will take place in the autumn and winter.
Online Casino is the second most popular form of online gambling in Europe, accounting for at least 34% of the market share. This term includes casino games such as roulette, baccarat, craps, blackjack, and slots. In fact, slots are one of the most popular within this sector because they are easy to understand and come with lots of variations and themes.
This vertical is further boosted by technology such as live dealer streaming and enhanced graphics. We also expect the metaverse to impact the sector as players have the opportunity to enjoy virtual experiences through the integration of virtual reality and augmented reality.
Lottery and bingo
Online lottery is not quite as popular in Europe as it is elsewhere, accounting for just 17% of the market share. That said, lottery and scratchers remain extremely popular in the offline world, which could explain the discrepancy. The proliferation of new technologies, similar to those used in the casino sector, could see numbers stay steady. Still, it is unlikely to swallow up a much more significant share of clients. Despite this, it should still be a part of any online gambling operator’s portfolio as it offers steady revenue and customer loyalty with little in the way of additional investment.
On the other hand, bingo accounts for some 3% of the European market, far behind lottery. Again, this could be due to its offline appeal, particularly among older generations who do not use online gambling so much. Like lotto, it is still worthy of inclusion on any online betting and gambling site.
Poker is a massive draw for Asian online gambling clients, but it is a different story in Europe. It accounts for just 5% of the local European online market. This is partly due to the skill factor involved in playing it, as opposed to the chance factor of other games. European players prefer to log on and play or gamble without going through a learning curve, whereas Asian players are happy to learn and cultivate their skill sets.
That said, the sector is growing more and more, and with the introduction of liver poker and other dealer games, this will continue. While poker may be a bit more niche in Europe, its players are loyal, and once they find a site they like, they will continue playing and gambling on other games. Poker is an essential investment for any online gambling operator, particularly live dealer poker and video poker.
Over the next couple of years, the European online gambling sector is set to grow at a rate of up to 10% a year. This puts it on track to surpass EUR 52 billion by 2026, with the UK leading the way in terms of revenue.
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