The European gambling market managed to bounce back throughout most of 2021, and a new report by the European Gaming and Betting Association expects this upward trend to result in a robust increase in gross gaming revenue this year. EGBA predicts that gross gaming revenue in Europe should inch up by 7.5% in 2021 to $98.7 billion (€87.2 billion), much better than the 23% drop EGBA registered in 2020.
Online Gambling and Land-Based Gambling Take Different Paths
While this is a 7.5% increase year-over-year, the GGR is still down compared to 2019 levels by at least 13%, the report conducted by EGBA and H2 Gambling Capital argues. The results have been mostly crimped by an ailing land-based sector in Europe, which is still experiencing COVID-19 headwinds and understandably so, while the online gaming sector has grown.
The report looks into the European Union 27 gambling markets and the United Kingdom and takes into consideration the regulated market results, along with popular online and land-based gambling products. While EGBA relies on official data, it also uses its own numbers to estimate specific results and collect information about revenues.
EGBA and H2 Capital put Europe’s online gambling revenue on course to increase by 19% in 2021 to $41.20 billion (€36.4 billion), showing the resilience of the sector despite the pandemic that put a halt to most forms of entertainment. Land-based GGR, though, would only inch up 0.4% as closures continue to challenge results. As a result, physical operators should see around $57.50 billion (€50.8 billion).
Compared to 2019, land-based GGR, though, is still 32% down, with COVID-19 restrictions ebbing and flowing in Europe throughout the year.
Trends to Expect to Spill Over in 2022
With these numbers in mind, the question naturally remains – what’s next for online gambling and beyond? EGBA expects the growth of the interactive gaming sector in Europe to continue to accelerate by 9% annually and eventually reach 41% of the surveyed market’s GGR. This would be up from the 26% share it held in 2019. Some regulatory headwinds are to be expected, EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer explained:
“The growth trend of Europe’s online gambling market continues but there remains significant room for online development in markets, such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, where the online share of the total gambling market is still relatively low despite the online markets in these countries being relatively mature.”EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer
EGBA predicts that Europeans will continue to use handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets to continue placing their first bets. EGBA estimates that some 50.5% have used such devices to make their first bets, but the number should go to 61.5% of all online bets by 2026.
EGBA’s members will continue to increase their market share, the organization estimates. Presently, Kindred Group, Entain, Flutter Entertainment, bet365, Betsson Group, and William Hill, which are all members of the organization, account for 36% of the European market’s gross gambling revenue.
Haijer has argued that while online growth will continue, operators will have to ensure that the online market is well-regulated and that participants continue to leverage the latest tech to ensure that everyone is promoting a stronger culture of safer gambling.