Digital entertainment in the 21st century is big business – this is no more apparent than when one looks at the relative fortunes of the wider video game industry versus the legacy film and music industries. Around 2004, these three markets were on a par in annual revenues, however since then, whereas the latter two have remained at roughly the same level, the games industry has ballooned to some 5 times the size of its rivals. Today, estimates range that it is worth upwards of $300 billion a year, ensuring its position as the dominant entertainment sector to emerge thus far in this century.
The gaming industry is vast, and comprises a range of sub-sectors each with their own unique background and qualities. In recent years, two of these have enjoyed the greatest growth – the first is esports, the name given for competitive “sport” video gaming, and the other is iGaming. This latter term is a moniker employed to refer to everything from sports gambling to online casinos, a collection of concerns united by their concern with real money wagers.
Origins of iGaming
The origins of iGaming are manifold, but two main currents are considered the major contributors. One has been online casinos – the digital incarnation of those experiences made popular in brick-and-mortar venues from the Las Vegas strip to Macau. The other is sports betting, which blurs the lines between gaming and betting due to its ongoing and persistence digitization, and gamification. Taken together, this sector represents the fastest growing market not only in the world of gaming, but in gambling in general.
The Smartphone Surge
There are several reasons why this market is enjoying such significant growth today. One is that internet connections are now faster and more widespread. This has the knock-on effect of smoothing access to online casinos and related products to more people around the world. In tandem with this, the rise of the modern smartphone, particularly since the 2010s, has come to be considered the major determining factor in iGaming’s rise.
Whereas desktop and laptop computers are expensive and lack extreme portability, smartphones are comparatively cheap, widespread, and highly portable. This means that players can access the gameplay experiences they want, when they want them. The logic follows that a shop that is open 24/7 is always going to benefit from more sales than one with limited hours.
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Another key component in online casino gaming’s rise is the sheer variety on offer in this product category. In fact, with 20,000+ online casinos trading today, many gamers are running into the novel issue of having too much choice, rather than too little. This has led to a new breed of platform emerging designed and dedicated to helping prospective patrons find the deals and providers to suit their needs. In recent years, one of the better established and highly regarded examples of this trend has been casinobonusca which collates a huge array of online casinos together on its platform, with the express purpose of reviewing them all, and furnishing visitors with competitive welcome offers and bonus deals for use with them. That a platform such as this, which hosts literally hundreds of unique promotional offers, is not only popular but arguably necessary in today’s iGaming space speaks to the surge in demand around this category.
Shifting Regulatory Landscape
In addition to the sector making a strong case for its existence through outcompeting legacy rivals, the 2020s are witnessing significant shifts in the prevailing regulatory landscape in which these providers operate. This trend is often regarded to have started in 2017 when PASPA was repealed – US legislation that had restricted the industry’s growth in the world’s largest economy since 1992.
Since its removal, the sector has enjoyed enormous growth as the market has been able to trade in the continental USA. This has had knock-on effects in neighboring regions like Canada, and this growth in interest around online casino gaming and related concerns is being felt around the world in turn.
While it’s hard to say when or if iGaming’s boom will begin to slow, it’s unlikely that the market will experience anything other than growth into the 2030s as the sector filters into new lucrative regions across the world.