Perhaps one of the most surprising trends to have come out of the global economic chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is the significant growth rate experienced within the online gambling and iGaming sector.
In fact, this sector proved to be remarkably resilient, with positive growth forecast for all segments of this market. As of 2019, the online gambling market size was estimated by one analysis report to be $53.7 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.5% predicted from 2020 to 2027.
But perhaps what is most interesting about the iGaming sector is how truly global it is. Although iGaming will ultimately be regulated at the individual state level, we are beginning to see a degree of uniformity emerging across various jurisdictions.
From a market growth perspective, this is a positive development and it creates the conditions for global iGaming players to enter the market. With iGaming and gambling laws increasingly similar across various jurisdictions, this makes it much easier for international players to operate in multiple regions and locations. With that said, as more countries move to regulate online gambling and iGaming, we can expect to see a flurry of activity as more operators enter the market, followed by a period of market consolidation as a few key players emerge.
With this in mind, what are some of the latest legislative and regulatory developments across the world that are bringing about change in the global iGaming market?
Of the countries I will cover in this article, there are some that have experienced a dramatic shift in attitudes towards iGaming and other forms of online gambling.
Thanks to a US Supreme Court decision released in late 2018, which, save for four states, essentially ended a decades-old federal prohibition on sports betting, a wave of liberalization has taken place across the US. In this environment, numerous US states have put in place regulatory frameworks to regulate various forms of iGaming and online gambling.
The consequences of this development have been hugely significant. And as a sign of the times, even the prominent sports leagues such as the NBA, MLB and NFL are beginning to open up to sponsorship deals from prominent online betting companies.
Since the passing of two stringent anti-online gambling laws in 2009 and 2011, there have been significant restrictions in place on the ability of the residents of Poland to place wagers online.
These laws were controversially passed by then President Donald Tusk, and ever since have raised the ire of Polish residents. The European Union was similarly annoyed by the failure of the Polish government to notify them that these changes were being brought into effect, particularly where they would have an impact on the wider European market.
Much of the annoyance came from the specific allowances these legislative regimes made for certain types of online gambling. Sports betting, for example, was permitted under them, while other forms such as online casinos were not.
It seems that Poland is beginning to turn a corner, however, and in recent months it has begun to look increasingly likely that the 2009 and 2011 laws will be reworked or revoked entirely. This intention was set out in a report of June 2019 by the Minister of Finance. As of March 2020, a bill amending the 2009 and 2011 laws is working its way through the legislative process.
The hunger for this type of entertainment is already quite apparent from the quality and quantity of polish casino bonus codes that are available online on sites such as Kasynoorzel, and the number of sites that offer Polish as a language of choice to users.
Similarly positive developments are also underway in Germany, where the federal government is in the process of implementing a new, expanded regulatory framework.
As of March 2021, the state parliaments in Schleswig-Holstein and Sachsen are the latest to ratify the treaty, which will establish a new federal regulatory authority to oversee iGaming and various other forms of gambling in the country. Although once passed it will still take two years to become fully operational, this is nevertheless an encouraging step for consumers and the industry.
The proposed restrictions include not only making provision for new taxation arrangements but will look to put in place specific controls on online casino games. It will also introduce new restrictions on which particular operators can apply for a license.
What does the future look like?
With all that said, it is clear there is significant movement in the iGaming and online gambling sector. The growth rates experienced in the past year have combined with potentially fruitful regulatory changes happening across Europe to signal big things about the future of the industry.