With the online gambling industry gaining huge traction in the last decade or so, we’ve decided to take a closer look at individual countries’ gaming habits. Just as broadband introduced us to gambling online, 3G/4G has introduced us to mobile gambling, making it even easier for the everyday person to have a few spins or place a few bets on their favourite entertainment. In this article, we’ll kick off with a quick look at how the industry has dramatically changed in recent times, before delving into the unique cultures of different European countries.
An Overview of Online Gambling in Europe
During the year 2015, online gambling in Europe represented almost half of the entire industry (47.6%). Just under €35bn was generated globally during this time, meaning that the EU market contributed around €16.5bn – and predictions are rife that this will increase to just under €25bn by 2020. Despite all these figures and what you may think, online gambling in Europe only takes up 17.5% of total European gambling in 2015, but this is also expected to rise to 22% by 2020.
However, with so much money involved it’s impossible for online gambling to be dismissed. Different European countries often bring their own unique culture to the table which operators need to consider, but the market is very heavily favoured towards the player at the moment. Here’s a few examples of why:
- Online casinos are being founded on a near daily basis so players have the pick of the bunch
- Increased competition brings better welcome bonuses and incentives
- Different cultures has seen different types of casinos founded (e.g. adventure – Casino Heroes, themed – CasinoCruise, mix of sports and casino – Betfred)
- Advancements in technology allows players to access online casino content on their mobile devices
With the European market evidently being a critical part of any online casino’s plans, the needs of specific regions have to be identified. This is done by analysing betting and playing patterns, leading online casinos to determine, for instance, what welcome bonuses are most appropriate by location. Let’s take a look at some of the different online gaming cultures.
Online Gaming Cultures Around Europe
Horse Racing Takes the Lead in the UK
The UK, as you may have heard, shares a keen interest in gambling. It’s been a common practice for many years now for punters to head down to the local bookies (such as William Hill or Ladbrokes) early on a Saturday to choose their winning horses and football teams for that weekend. Although online gambling may have changed the way that UK players actually gamble, it hasn’t necessarily changed what they gamble on.
The most popular event to bet on in the country is horse racing. However, the results also showed that online sports betting has now overtaken offline sports betting to second place, demonstrating online gambling’s meteoric rise. This is an incredible shift if you consider that offline betting in various forms has been around for decades, whereas online gambling has only taken off since the turn of the new millennia.
There was also a jump of 22% for the category of remote betting, bingo and casino between 2013 and 2014, despite the non-remote sector claiming a 47% share of the entire market. With mobile gambling predicted to only increase, it’s safe to say that the UK online gambling community will get stronger and stronger as the years go by.
Sports and Casino Popular in Denmark
Online gambling in Denmark has essentially exploded into life since a law change allowing private operators to enter the market came into effect on 1st January 2012. For the first time, online casinos other than the state-owned Dankse Spil could offer sports betting, poker and casino entertainment to Danish residents. However, bingo, lottery and horse racing was still only offered by Dankse Spil.
The results of this decision are perhaps unsurprising: a direct increase in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for both betting and online casino. In fact, if you peel away at the actual figures, the GGR for betting has increased by around 66% while online casino has shot up by around 75% since Q1 of 2012 to Q2 of 2015.
This means that Danish residents are now much more likely to bet on their favourite sports or access quality casino entertainment from a variety of online casinos.
Finland’s National Sport Pesäpallo Demands Attention
Finnish online gambling used to be a strange one, with two different organisations competing (and often ending up in court) for the attention of players. The Aland province used to be operated by Play among Friends (PAF), whereas mainland Finland was organised by Raha-automaattiyhdistys (RAY).
Arguments between the two began when PAF began offering better odds for sportsbook and better prizes for casino online than RAY for mainland Finnish players. After many years of squabbling, the government decided to allow both to operate which drove the two to compete with one and other properly.
The result was hugely beneficial for Finland players, with huge markets opened up by both organisations. Sportsbook, poker, casino, horse racing, bingo and lottery are now all available for Finnish players, although it is the national sport of Pesäpallo that often gets the most popularity. A variation of baseball, Pesäpallo continues to see its betting numbers grow due to the public holding it in high regard.
Italian Casino and Sportsbook Markets Boom in 2015
Finally, the Italian online gaming industry has been a tricky one for many years, with restrictions in the past often throttling its potential. However, a number of recent measures put in place to open the market up, such as liberalising the sportsbook market, reducing unlicensed establishments, and providing the latest entertainment, seem to have done the trick.
Compared with 2014, the Italian sportsbook and casino market for 2015 increased by 25% and 27% respectively. This suggests that Italians are now using online methods to gamble more often, and this is only expected to rise due to even more red tape being reduced. Better tax rates, a possible deal with the UK to allow Italians to bet on .com platforms, and the awarding of 120 new licenses are all examples of this, so we truly hope that the Italian market begins to thrive.