iGaming 2015: What to Expect in the US, UK & Asia
These three markets offer established gaming markets, improving economies and billions of potential players. At the same time, the Big Three throw down plenty of challenges and are probably not the places you’ll want to go searching for a fast buck.
If you’re thinking about expanding your marketing plans in 2015 to include Asia, the UK or US, here are a few things to consider.
With its deeply entrenched gambling culture and massive population, the Asian-Pacific market has long been igaming’s Holy Grail.
Grabbing a share of this massive prize, however, is going to require a bit of patience as regulatory challenges have kept much of this market fenced off from affiliates.
Internet gambling in countries like Singapore and China is, for all practical purposes, illegal. This isn’t particularly surprising given the billions of tax dollars that land-based casinos raise in this part of the world.
At the same time, this region’s rapidly growing middle class and wide embrace of mobile technology mean that legal igaming opportunities should, eventually, come to pass.
For the foreseeable, however, affiliates who want a piece of the Asian pie should focus on the very large Asian expat demographic in countries where igaming is legal. Established programs like Lotus Affiliates already target this group and are a great place for getting the lay of the land until the Asian regulatory situation shifts.
UK gamblers are very friendly to igaming, especially when it comes to sports betting and bingo. Even better, punters in this part of the world have embraced social gaming and mobile wagering in a big way.
Last year online gambling in this part of the world generated around £2 billion ($3.3 billion USD) in revenue for online operators. While this may seem like a golden age, the party in Jolly Old England might slow down a bit in 2015.
Thanks to a new point of consumption tax (POTC) designed to close offshore tax loopholes, operator and affiliate revenues could take a big hit in 2015.
Though it’s not necessarily a done deal, the POTC is project to cost UK-based operators big bucks and there doesn’t seem to be a way around the new tax. (Which is the point of the POTC in the first place.)
Already big name UK operators like William Hill and Paddy Power are bracing themselves for the POTC by shaving down operating expenses and shoring up their player bases. In short, they are battening down the hatches in preparation for what could be a major storm in 2015.
The United States of America
To say that the regulated American igaming market is in its infancy is something of an understatement. As of this writing, only around 13 million or 4% of the US population has access to legal online gambling in just three states.
While more states are expected to jump on the regulated igaming train in the future, progress in that department will be slow at best. And even the states that do offer online gambling, US players have been slow to embrace this newly legal activity.
The good news in this sector is that Paypal is planning a return to the US igaming market. Paypal’s name brand credibility could be exactly the nudge reluctant US gamblers need to start depositing into online casinos and give the industry a much needed shot in the arm.
Though the US market has incredible long-term potential, it doesn’t seem like 2015 is going to offer a lot in the way of growth. Efforts to legalize online gambling in big markets like California and New York have been slow at best and it’s unlikely that any of them will be market ready in the next year.
Patience is clearly going to be virtue in 2015 for anyone hoping to cash in on Asia, the UK or US igaming markets. That said, 2015 is the perfect time to build a content and SEO framework that will keep you competitive in these markets in the future.