Despite several stops and starts, 2021 will most likely have delivered better returns for casino operators in Europe. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) expects a year-on-year increase in revenue will be recorded when 2021 closes.
The year 2020 was a horrible time for casinos everywhere, and 2021 has had its problems as well. However, a report released by the EGBA recently reveals that the European gaming market could end on a positive note. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) could increase 7.5% before 2022 rolls around.
The report was created by the EGBA in collaboration with H2 Gambling Capital, a data and research firm focused on the gaming industry. The conclusion reached by the two is that European GGR will close at approximately €87.3 billion (US$98.87 billion).
This figure will primarily be supported by an increase in online action. The online market will have added another 19%, or roughly €36.4 billion (US$41.22 billion). Notably, whereas 2020 saw a significant increase in online gaming because of COVID-19, the same upswing was not repeated in 2021.
EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer explained the results: “The growth trend of Europe’s online gambling market continues, but there remains significant room for online development in markets, such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, where the online share of the total gambling market is still relatively low despite the online markets in these countries being relatively mature.”
Online Beating Land-Based Gaming
The online gaming segment has seen the biggest increase in 2021, while land-based gaming remained relatively stagnant. Overall, the EGBA report indicates that land-based GGR will only be 0.4% better than last year. The result is expected to be €50.8 billion (US$57.5 billion).
The online gambling market will continue to grow, likely more than the land-based segment. This is partially the result of the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online GGR is expected to rise 9% year-on-year to reach 41% of the total gambling revenue in Europe by 2026. Two years ago, the figure was forecast at 26%.
Another trend that has been seen is the increased use of mobile devices like tablets and phones as a way for gamblers to wager online. The EGBA predicts that 50.5% of Europe’s wagers will have taken place via these devices in 2021, a first for the industry. It also expects this number to rise to 61.5% by 2026.
Additional data shows that EGBA members now account for 36% of the European betting space. They are contributing a combined €10.9 billion (US$12.34 billion) of the continent’s GGR. This includes 45.9% generated from sports betting, and a total of 29 million customers in the online segment.
The numbers presented could increase even more. What still cannot be identified is the impact the omicron variant of COVID-19 will have on the industry in 2022. If additional lockdowns are brought back like they were seen in 2022, the online industry could see even greater results next year.