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European Union, United States Determining Future Of Global Online Gambling Industry

Future Of $37B-A-Year Industry Depends On Regulatory Decisions


The global online gambling market is worth $37 billion a year, which represents nine percent of the overall global legal gambling market. Roughly 85 nations across the world have chosen to OK Internet gambling, according research from the American Gaming Association. Many of them are in Europe.

Thanks to the United States curbing online betting within its borders, only to slowly bring it back via state-by-state regulation, the EU is the world’s largest regulated market for the business. According to research from KeyToCasino, more than 70 percent of the world’s online casinos restrict access to Americans, which makes the US the most restricted country in the world for the industry. For comparison, roughly 30 percent of gambling sites restrict access to Iran.

According to the European Commission, online gambling is worth about $14.7 billion these days, and it’s still growing. Online casino gambling is the fastest growing service activity in the EU betting sector, with annual growth rates of almost 15 percent.

There was an estimated 6.84 million online gamblers in the EU in 2012.

There has been talk of streamlining some of the rules across the EU.

“Online gambling operators established in the EU increasingly hold multiple licences across several Member States which have chosen license-based systems in relation to gambling regulation,” the European Commission said last year. “They could benefit from a more common approach. The multiplication of compliance requirements can create unnecessary duplication of infrastructure and costs, resulting in an unnecessary administrative burden on regulators.”

The largest online gambling markets in the EU are the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany, in that order. Britain’s is considered the most established in the region. For now, many operators offer the best online casino bonuses in the industry.

By putting in place more rules for real-money online gaming, the EU and the US are changing the face of the industry. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, insiders believe that the increased regulation means there will be more mergers in the industry. Consolidation will be important as regulatory costs and taxes increase going forward. That could create more stability for the industry, though there will be fewer companies vying for any significant market share.

The US is cut off from the EU when it comes to online poker, but New Jersey could get the ball rolling whenever it partners with one or more EU jurisdictions to share online poker liquidity. Nevada and Delaware, the two other US states with online poker, share liquidity with each other. New Jersey is eyeing joining up with them, as well as getting players from Europe. Tax sharing agreements would be reached so all jurisdictions involved would benefit.

The emergence of PokerStars, which was bought last year by Canada-based Amaya Gaming Group for $4.9 billion, in the Garden City market would likely expedite this liquidity sharing. PokerStars is awaiting a license from New Jersey gaming regulators.