By Simon Collins, Founder, Cashcade Ltd.
The Economist magazine this week carries a special report on gambling and the rapid pace of innovation in the industry. ‘In the past ten years gambling has changed more than in the previous seventy’, the respected global business journal notes. This innovation helped to power the global legal gambling market to a value of $335bn in 2009, with just over $26bn, or eight per cent, coming from online.
Some of the changes The Economist highlights include: the rise of televised poker tournaments, such as PartyGaming’s World Poker Tour, taking the game to new mainstream audiences; gambling exchanges’ revolutionary affect on horse racing; and more recently Las Vegas’ ‘fightback’ including the launch of Wynn and Sands resorts in burgeoning Asian markets like Macau.
However, as with many other industries, the digital revolution has had the most profound affect and The Economist sees the area offering the greatest future opportunity. ‘It’s not just professional poker that has changed out of recognition in the past decade but all forms of gambling worldwide. The reason has been simple: for the first time anyone who wants to gamble and has an internet connection can do so.’
The Economist’s report gives a summary of the various aspects of online gambling, including the status of UIEGA, the changing views of European governments and the affects of gambling exchanges on horseracing. Online is also driving much of industry’s innovation. ‘As for the disruption from online gambling, it can prove highly creative,’ the report adds. That’s certainly the case in online bingo, one of the fastest growing areas of online gambling. New innovative games are launched regularly, such as Rollover Bingo, a ‘free lotto‘ game marketed by Cashcade Ltd, where players who buy tickets are automatically entered into syndicates for the UK’s National Lottery.
The Economist report ends in praise for the UK’s regulatory approach to the industry. ‘Britain seems to have found the right balance between paternalism and permissiveness, recognising that people who wish to gamble will do so, particularly today when all they need is a computer, a broadband connection and a credit card. Ensuring they are not cheated requires regulation, rigorous oversight and a commitment to an open and competitive market. All of these things are to the good.’ A view that we at Perfect Storm feel is critical to the industry’s ongoing success and growing ability to contribute to UK PLC.