Canada has been on something of a journey with gambling. The $400 million spent on Caesars Windsor a decade or so ago was a pretty telling sign of a change in tone for a country that once had its doubts.
Yet the real story of the rise in gambling – both in Canada and overseas – has been online. The online gambling market is expected to rocket from $45.8 million to $94.4 million by 2024. More and more people are getting their gambling fix online, but what’s driving this? This post examines the attraction of online gambling…
Smartphones and convenience: The devices we have in our pockets have done a lot to change our lives. Just as the way we shop, bank and interact is now different from how it was at the turn of the millennium, so too is our ability to gamble. Smartphones provide the means with which to connect with online gambling sites – and the vast majority of Canadians now have them (86 percent of the population as a whole and 89 percent of people in Ontario). Now anyone who wants one can have a casino in their pocket and they don’t have to travel to reach a casino or overcome any other practical barriers that might have been in their way. This all makes online gambling an activity that could fill a lunch break, dreary commute or cold winter’s evening in – and not something that requires effort to arrange. Making it easier to gamble – and spreading the means to do so – is an important part of the story.
Choice: Developments in technology have given businesses the opportunity to launch online gambling services – and providers have certainly taken up that opportunity. Whether its sports live casino or games, gamblers now have a huge range of choice from a large range of providers. Many successful overseas companies – from the UK for example – have spread their expertise across international borders and are able to cater for a whole host of tastes and styles. Customers can shop around, pick their preferred platform and benefit from a full range of bonus offers designed to get them to sign up – offers that are being sold to them smartly at sporting events or in targeted advertising online. The range of offerings – particularly in terms of smartphone-friendly games – has also ensured that gambling providers can reach out to a female audience like never before.
Esports and the online experience: The means to gamble and greater choice have played a significant role in the rise of online gambling – but there are other factors beyond this too, not least the rise in esports and the digital consumption of sport. The growth in a sporting activity that exists in the digital sphere is significant in that online gambling is a natural fit to sit in the same ecosystem. Even traditional sports are being consumed in a different way – with streaming and live social feeds drawing fans to follow the fortunes of their favourite stars online. In-play betting sits naturally alongside this ‘live experience’ for both esports and traditional sports, giving people the chance to get added interest and excitement in the action by having a stake in the result.
Customer gaming and sports-watching habits, choice and convenience have all combined to create the conditions for a rise in online gambling. With all three trends set to continue this should be a growth story that we could expect to continue for some time to come.