Mobile-Driven Growth: European Gaming Association Releases Annual Report

The European online gambling market received a welcome boost this week as it was confirmed that revenues increased by 11% across all sectors in the 28 European Union member states in 2018.

European Gaming & Betting Association

The statistics were borne out by the latest yearly report from the European Gaming & Betting Association, or EGBA, which was released last week. The EGBA member companies, including industry titans Bet365, Kindred Group, Betsson Group, and GVCA, reported $6.03 billion (€5.3 billion) in revenue over 2018.

This amount accounts for 24% of Europe’s overall online gambling revenue of $24 billion for the same period. Offline gambling remains the larger attraction for customers by a long shot, however, bringing in $91.6 billion in revenue— over 70% of the market.

Still, that’s down 7% from the previous year, while online revenues are up 11%. This seems to reflect changing attitudes across the continent, with more and more people adopting online portals as their preferred gambling venue.

A similar trend can be seen in market share, with online wagering now accounting for 23.2% of gambling activity—a rise of 2% from the previous year.

British Sports Bettors on Mobile

The EGBA’s secretary general Maarten Haijer praised the statistics, saying they proved there has been a ‘strong demand-driven growth and a switch to mobile devices’ from customers.”

Forty-three percent of EU bettors placed their wagers via a phone or a tablet in 2018, compared to 39% from the previous year’s report. That still leaves desktop computers as the preferred choice for over 55% of EU players, although experts predict this will fall below 50% by the year 2022.

So far, then, it looks like your average EU gambler is probably still playing in a physical casino. The next most likely venue is a desktop or laptop computer in their own home.

As for the type of gambling, players are likely to go for, sports betting is probably the best candidate, with EGBA’s report giving sportsbooks 42% of the EU market. The second most popular is casino gaming, with 32% of customers preferring this type of online play.

Lastly, the report also considered regional markets. The United Kingdom was top with a massive 34% share in overall online revenues. That’s nearly three times the second largest market of Germany.

In a (very rough) estimate, it looks like your average EU online gambler lives in the UK, bets on sports or casino games from their desktop PC, and made more bets this year than last year.

Regulatory Alignments

It’s not all rosy news from the EU this year. Many companies entered into protracted legal disputes with regulators in Sweden, Denmark, the UK, and others in 2019.

As the largest market, EU providers are also keeping an eye on the UK market as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to push for a ‘full review of the Gambling Act 2005’ in the Scottish National Party’s election manifesto.

With a hefty 48 of her MPs getting elected on December 12th, it looks like Sturgeon just might get her way on a few of the UK’s new policies over the five coming years of a Boris Johnson-led Conservative government.

Not to mention the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union, which will almost certainly have some effects on gambling regulation.

All this uncertainty across the continent has some industry figures worried, and the EGBA’s Mr. Haijer was understandably skeptical about potential outcomes. He continued to say in his statement that ‘the current situation of diverging and sometimes conflicting regulations in EU countries is detrimental to consumers, authorities, and operators alike.’