Most online gambling observers may be all excited about the prospects of internet gambling in the United States but many industry experts say that most real industry growth will take place in Europe. Currently Europe shows the most potential for expansion in the near future. In 2009 online gambling operators in Europe reported a 44.9% increase in total gaming revenues. If those figures are combined with additional gaming increases during the last two years, the black Friday events earlier in the year and the US government’s continual waffling on online gambling Europe appears to be the ‘Best Emerging Market’ in 2012.
In Europe one of the main reasons for industry expansion are Europe’s acceptance of gambling as a legitimate entertainment option and most countries have a long history of legal gambling. In addition several EU states are liberalizing their internet gaming laws and are moving in the direction of regulation instead of prohibition. The UK currently has the world’s largest regulated internet gaming market and internet bingo is the largest sector of the British internet gaming industry. Several interesting statistics have emerged from European markets and here are a few;
In 2009 the global gambling industry was estimated at $355 billion (USD) and is expected to grow to $385 billion by the end of 2012.
Of the totals the European gaming industry accounted for €82 billion ($107,611,863,727.88 USD) in 2009 and experts say the figure will hit €90 billion by the end of this year. Europe will account for 30% of gaming market share by the end of 2012.
Licensed gambling in the UK, including online bingo, is expected to reach £10.0 billion ($15,718,833,201.03 USD) by year’s end.
In Italy licensed gaming will reach €21.3 billion by the end of the year.
Experts predict that licensed French gaming will hit €9.8 billion by year’s end.
Licensed Spanish gambling may generate more than €10.2 billion by year’s end despite high unemployment and an economy in a deep recession.
If legalization of internet gambling takes place on a state by state basis in the United States the European gaming market will easily outstrip the US market generating more revenues for gaming operators targeting European gamblers. The Italian gaming market has displayed rapid growth and may overtake British gaming markets this year. Italy began issuing licenses in 2010 and is now Europe’s largest market for online poker. While the US drags its heels regarding legalization Europe is moving ahead.