Bear Stearns’ latest gaming industry report,E-Gaming Revisited, provides insightful analysis on the past, present and future of Internet gambling. We’ll take a two part look at what the report has to say, starting with the current state of the e-gaming industry.
According to the report, the days of easy entry into the online gambling business are gone. Investment capital is much harder to come by, successful advertising is more expensive and the cost of acquiring real-money players is increasing. Operators must now have sufficient capital to “incentivize mature surfers to switch their loyalty.”
Directly related, of course, is the fact that competition between online casinos is intense and there is a general “shake-out” happening between e-gaming companies “causing those with minimal resources and less capital… to disappear into thin air.”
Estimates indicate that there are about 1700 casinos and sportsbooks competing for something like 4 million online bettors. It’s worth noting that a large casino can have as many as 200,000 registered players or more while smaller casinos are left to struggle along with only a few hundred or less.
Around the world the various e-gaming nations remain in a high state of flux insofar as their e-gaming laws and regulations are concerned. Antigua and the U.K. stand out as legislative leaders, opening up their marketplaces to access from e-gaming interests.
Meanwhile, Europe has a strong and growing technological lead, especially in the wide distribution of WAP-capable cell phones and a rapidly evolving high-speed telecommunications infrastructure.
The dominant position held by the USA in terms of overall numbers of e-gamers has eroded. Approximately 46% of e-gamers now originate outside of the US — up almost 10% from Bear Stearns’ 2000 report.
The report also provides some interesting profiles of the online gamer. “The majority of customers visiting casino sites are retired.” Further analysis indicates that females gamblers were more numerous than their male counterparts, making up 53-55% of the online gambling population. Men did, however, tend to dominate the high-roller and VIP categories.