There are two seemingly contradictory items in the news: the increase in the number of free games being offered online and the fast growth of people playing at online casinos for real money.
No Longer a Billion Dollar Business
A company named Juniper Research, based in Great Britain, issued a report that online gambling may increase by approximately 12% annually in the coming years so that the industry will generate one trillion dollars worldwide by the early years of the next decade. The report cites 2022 as the year the industry tops the trillion dollar mark based on the accuracy of their year to year projection for industry growth.
The report listed several factors feeding the growth in the online gambling sector. The report spoke about organic growth in the industry; it said that many people are entering the gambling market for the first time and a larger percentage of those new gamblers are choosing to gamble at online casinos than did so even in the recent past; and, finally, that many players are gambling at online casinos instead of at the many other gambling venues they may have frequented in the past.
By organic growth, the report means primarily growth in the number, size, and style of online casinos. As the number of game providers increases, there is a need for new online casinos to feature their games. Thus an increase in the supply of games has created an increase in the supply of venues offering those games.
In economic terms, the report says, in reference to the organic growth being seen in the industry, that the supply side has grown, engendering an increase on the demand side.
But this is also a chicken and egg question: Is the organic growth being spurred on by the increase in players entering the online casino market or is the increase in players being spurred on by the increase in online casinos? In other words, whilst the supply side generating demand explanation is strong, there is also the possibility that a renewed demand side is generating growth on the demand side.
This is the demographic side of the issue. New players are not only young people coming of age with some disposable income and choosing to use some of it gambling at an internet casino. As the population ages, more and more people become stay at home people either by choice or circumstance. The industry is thus seeing many new players in the 50 and older demographic.
The study has found that many new gamblers, people who never gambled in the past or who in the past gambled a statistically significant amount less than the average gambler, are choosing to gamble at online casinos.
For older people who find it difficult to get out to a land based casino, a racetrack, or just down to the corner store to buy a lottery ticket, online casinos offer a convenient way to pass the time.
Established Players Re-directing Their Gambling
Even as the number of gambling venues increases, the report shows that convenience is a major factor influencing people’s gambling choices. This is actually not surprising as the online sector in many areas is experiencing widespread growth. The convenience of the internet is informing many business sectors, not just online gambling.
People increasingly use the internet to buy electrical appliances, clothes, eyeglasses, holiday tickets and other bookings, groceries, and many others. Industries are witnessing large challenges to land based marketing avenues. In lay terms, it means that stores are closing because of the possibility and the increasing acceptance of online shopping.
Thus, it was anticipated that people who might have gone to a land based casino now gamble at online casinos.
Casino games are not the only games offered for free online. Many people play Sudoku and other brain games online for free. One factor that makes online casino games so attractive is that online casinos offer unlimited free play whereas no land based casino could afford to do so. A single land based casino has a fixed capacity of gamblers who can play there at any given moment. Online casinos have virtually unlimited space so they can allow free play.
Many players who are new to online casinos play both for real money and for free. Online casinos seem to be as much a part of the entertainment field as they are a part of the gambling field.
People who spend the overwhelming majority of their tine at an online casino playing for free are still more likely to place a bet than someone who never plays casino games at all. Thus, supply in one niche in the online casino sector is generating demand in a complementary yet opposite niche in the sane industry.
This is also attracting new players because the switch from free play to real money gaming is a soft sell. Online casinos don’t have to hard sell their product; in a sense, the convenience and ready availability sells itself.
Graphics and Technology
Another major aspect of online casino traffic is that online graphics and technology continue to improve almost exponentially. Online casinos now offer instant play which makes downloading the casino unnecessary. This saves computer space and speed and allows players to play at an unlimited number of online casinos.
Mobile technology also continues to improve rapidly. As the cost of an excellent mobile device continues to fall, it becomes available to more and more budget-conscious consumers. A tablet in the hands of someone who has just bought his or her first tablet is a perfect conduit for online casino gaming, free or otherwise, and is not a conduit for any other sort of casino gaming.
Growth May Exceed Expectations
It has long been observed that growth in growth industries often moves faster than expected. By 2022, we will know if the online gambling industry has passed the trillion dollar mark.