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UK iGaming industry to reach USD 47.11B this year – report

It could well be the biggest understatement of the century to say that the internet has had a significant impact on the world of gambling. Once the pastime revolved around heading to a local bookmakers or playing games in a casino until the very early hours but the web has turned the industry on its head. Online gaming –or iGaming– is now a true phenomenon.

Casino businesses have thrived by becoming innovative, getting online, and allowing their customers to play a wealth of games that they love at home or on the move. For example, like many sites, an online casino with lots of real money slot games also features an extensive sports-focused section with odds on over 30,000 daily markets. This means that players can satisfy their desire to have different experiences simply at the touch of a button.

The industry has now become unstoppable, with forecasted revenues generated by the online gambling market expected to reach an incredible US$ 47.11 billion this year.

By 2020, it is believed that figure could reach around USD 59.79B, which would mean it had more than doubled in size since 2009.

But just who are the people that are driving this incredible growth? Who is playing these games and what do they use to do it? Plenty of research has been undertaken across the globe in recent years to shed some light on that very question, with the findings making for fascinating reading.

According to research undertaken in the UK by insights organisation Opinium, while traditional gambling tends to have a focus on older generations, the online world is aimed at younger people. However, although marketing may be targeted at 18 to 34-year-olds, the body’s report found that the average online gambler tends to be in the 34-54 age range. This is similar to findings from Technavio in the US, which found that, while casino visitors tend to have an average age of 45, the average for online gamblers is in fact 34. Furthermore, a study by SuperData Research found that the average smartphone social casino players’ age is 39.

Opinium research found that almost two-thirds of online casino players are male

However,  the study reveal a split in terms of the activities that men and women focused on. For example, women dominated bingo and men focused on sportsbook betting, although there was an almost 50-50 split when it came to casino gaming.

As we touched upon earlier, the study also confirmed that sites are right to look to cross-sell as online gaming site visitors are keen to play different types of games. While there were seven different types of gambler identified, 21 per cent were found to play sportsbook, bingo, and casino.

It was also identified that a player’s game of choice tended to dictate the channel they played on. For example, bingo fans tended to avoid mobile, while sportsbook gamblers were more likely to pick up a smartphone or tablet. Around four-fifths of casino players polled in the Opinium study were found to favour desktop, which is an interesting result considering that the aforementioned information from SuperData Research found that 85 per cent of social casino users play on smartphones. This makes it difficult to draw a clear conclusion on what casino players prefer, although a diplomatic response may be to say that consumers clearly like having a choice.

All of this creates a truly fascinating profile of the online gambler in 2017 and – with iGaming businesses only likely to further evolve their offerings to entice even more gamers – it will be interesting to see how this develops in the coming years. When everything is taken into account, it is fair to say the future looks pretty bright.