What to Watch For: Online Gambling Trends 2017
2016 has been a year of strong growth for the online gambling sector. So what will the online gambling trends be in 2017?. Revenue and growth rates continue to increase, with the outlook positive for 2017.
Although operators in Europe are preparing for 2017 with an unprecedented amount of uncertainty on the cards, thanks to Brexit. After the referendum on the EU, when the UK voted to leave, the pound and stock markets plummeted. Since then, the High Court have ruled that Parliament needs to debate Brexit.
The government will challenge this in the Supreme Court, although with Scottish and Welsh intervention also allowed, it could be some time before (and if) Article 50 is triggered.
What does this mean for online gambling companies?
After the result, the media reported that the biggest winner was the gambling industry. Bookies made a profit after the results were announced, but there could be wider ramifications for the online gambling sector. Negotiations need to include cross-border trade and the status of Gibraltar. However, with the government facing new legal and democratic hurdles, the economy has absorbed the initial impact and is awaiting further developments.
UK Online Gambling Trends
UK Gambling Commission data for 2016 shows that the sector has never been healthier. The gross gambling yield (the amount wagered after winnings) was £3.6 billion in the UK, halfway through the year. Morgan Stanley is confident this will continue into 2017: “While lower consumer spending and a possible recession would reduce growth rates, we would expect continued market growth for online in a mild consumer recession,” with “strong structural trends” supporting online gambling brands.
An insights report from KPMG predicts the sector will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6% in 2017, with the global market value worth £30.6 billion.
What Else to Expect in Online Gambling Trends in 2017?
#1: Mobile gaming will keep growing. We have seen it in retail, and now that Google is actively penalising those that aren’t mobile-friendly, we can expect every gambling platform to have a mobile website or app in 2017. Customers want to gamble on their smartphones.
#2: Online gambling will benefit from the Freemium model. In software and other online games sectors, consumers can trial a product for free before making a commitment. More frequently, we see this in online gambling and bingo. Customers are spoilt for choice, with brands wanting to gain a competitive edge allowing them to play without making deposits. Bing websites are also offering a signup bonus. We expect this trend to continue in 2017.
#3: eSports will keep growing. Industry watchers and analysts expect eSports to surpass $1 billion revenues in 2017. We anticipate more online gambling operators will include an eSports offering in their services, to diversify revenue and gain access to new groups of customers.
Even with the uncertainty of Brexit – and Trump – online gambling and eSports will continue to grow in 2017. Companies in this sector need to find ways to differentiate their offerings beyond bonuses and no deposit signups. As we have seen in other sectors, such as retail and leisure, customers want unique experiences. Content and the online experience will gain significance, as a way to establish brand loyalty and stay innovative.
Get the Secure Trading Online Gaming and Fraud Report here for more information about customer behaviour, payments and fraud.