European Online Gambling Leads the Way to Market Recovery

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At a time when mid-year financial results are published, most gambling companies have reported the first signs of post-Covid recovery. This is particularly the case in Europe where online gaming has raised revenues in addition to people returning to physical venues.

A Busy Time for Financial Reports

Over the past month the gaming industry has been putting out financial results for Q2 and the first half of 2022. Giants like Flutter Entertainment, Entain, 888 Holdings and LeoVegas have issued their statements with a somewhat inconsistent performance globally.

This was largely expected as a number of markets continue battling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, macro regions like Europe have seen a strong recovery over the past few months, particularly when compared to last year’s results.

On one hand, the continuous transition to online casinos, mobile betting and online roulette has shown to be the “new normal” for many of the EU countries. On the other hand, the lifting of most restrictions to daily life has given the industry a boost, with entertainment venues reopening and gambling-themed tourism picking up.

Lithuania notably posted a 66% increase in gambling revenues, hauling in €89.3 million over the first semester of 2022. The Danish Gambling Authority also reported a sizable year-on-year increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Q1 2022, up 20% – online casinos, betting and land-based casinos totaled $210 million. This was largely expected since most physical venues and gambling arcades were shut at the same time a year ago.

Portugal’s licensed gambling operators also had a healthy jump in year-on-year GGR, 17% compared to last July, reporting €146.4m for the month alone. France’s National Gaming Authority had published annual figures for 2021 in April of this year, citing €10.7 billion in revenues, up 7% from 2020.

The UK Gambling Commission also saw a marginal rise of 1% in online gross gambling yield (GGY) for Q1 when compared to Q4 of 2021. Market experts not that such a mature gambling market cannot realistically expect drastic changes in either direction, positive or negative.

Most gambling regulators pointed out a couple of defining factors for their domestic markets’ recovery. A decisive shift to online gaming and the dropping of health restrictions were at the bottom of most standout performances. An “enthusiasm” for online sports betting was explicitly quoted in a couple of reports.

Looking outside Europe, the American Gaming Association also reported Q2 rising by 3% from Q4 2021 and reaching $14.81 billion. Since the liberalization of the US market in 2018, both online and land-based operators have grown constantly, albeit at different rates.

However, Asia is still struggling with restrictions, with China’s “zero Covid” policy raising eyebrows to this day. Macau has largely followed suit with that approach and has seen a dramatic decline in gaming revenues over the past couple of years. Moreover, its operators are mostly land-based which does not help their case.

In the end, the European markets’ performance is sufficient cause for optimism. Despite increasing regulations around the EU, stringent safer gaming has not hurt the industry but only raised its standing as a transparent market. With a growing number of players choosing online outlets over physical venues, the recovery is expected to continue throughout next year as well.

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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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