Those who started their gaming lives decades ago are often stunned to see the way that the iGaming industry has evolved and developed in recent years. Gone are the days of clunky consoles with no internet connection and a limited range of game choice. It is now possible to find almost any game to suit your desires.
For the gamer, this means one thing: more chance to have better, bespoke fun. However, for the firms behind these games, there’s big business potential to be tapped. iGaming companies appear to be more valuable than ever – and with good reason. This article will take a look at the ways in which the iGaming industry has evolved into a financial powerhouse and explore some of the structural reasons behind the changes the market is now observing.
Mergers and acquisitions
Before looking in more depth at where the iGaming industry might be in five or ten years from now, it’s also worth investigating how the industry has already developed in the last few years. From a mergers and acquisitions standpoint, the iGaming industry is a very lucrative niche – and when one company in this field wants to buy another, the sums of money involved are often close to astronomical.
Back in June of last year, for example, the firm Evolution Gaming announced that it wanted to snap up the firm NetEnt – and the price tag attached was $2bn. The race to come out on top of the sector has not been restricted to these companies either. Other major firms, such as DraftKings, have also tried to get to grips with the sector in earnest.
Changing legislative frameworks
There are all sorts of reasons for the rise in the potential of iGaming, but one of the main ones has been the recent wave of gambling law liberalisation in many major economies. Some countries have been pro-gaming for ages: UK players are able to play on this casino and many others, for example. By far the most famous of these cases is the US, which is now starting to take a state by state approach to permitting gambling rather than a blanket federal ban.
For decades, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act – or PASPA for short – led to the vast majority of states unable to permit sports betting. A Supreme Court decision struck that down a few years ago, and sports betting is now allowed in a number of jurisdictions across the country. For the iGaming industry, this is good news. Sports bets may not require gaming content, but a general pro-gambling culture and legal framework will be good news for firms like online casino operators in the long-term.
And it’s not just in the US that this process appears to be underway. Countries like the Netherlands are also in the process of opening up gambling laws to permit bet-based iGaming through their plans to introduce privatisation to some gambling outlets that are currently state-owned. This is having the effect of increasing the pool of players and enhancing demand – which is in turn fuelling the value of the iGaming firms that supply the content.
Improved user experience
A law forbidding a particular gaming experience doesn’t necessarily mean that the gaming or gambling won’t happen, as anyone who has ever taken a close look at the behaviour of game players in countries with restrictive gaming laws will know. People have always managed to find ways around laws stopping them from indulging their passion, which suggests that there’s more to the rise in iGaming than just changes in the law.
Perhaps one other major reason for the rise in iGaming’s potential as an industry is the fact that the user experience is constantly improving. Online games are now more sophisticated than ever, with features like live chat and live hosting making the experience as “real” as possible. With more genre and aesthetic choice available, it’s possible to customise the experience in multiple different ways.
In short, there are lots of different reasons why the iGaming sector is doing so well at the moment. From a constantly-improving and liberalising legal framework to the improvements in user experience, customers and players are flocking to iGaming outlets in droves. As merger talk shows, companies in this space are willing to snap each other up for billions of dollars – and this is only likely to rise further in the coming months and years.