The iGaming sector is booming right now, accounting for a growing share of the global gambling market and evolving at a phenomenal rate. But what does this mean for the offline gambling sector, is there still profit to be had?
More Money Offline
It has been estimated that the European offline gambling sector will be worth in excess of €84 billion in 2020, which is roughly three-times the size of the online gambling market in the same sector.
The difference between these two sectors is even more pronounced in countries like the United States, where online gambling earned just over $8 billion in 2018, roughly the same earned by offline gambling in Las Vegas alone.
There are even bigger disparities in the gambling mecca that is Macau. At its peak in 2013, Macau was generating over $45 billion, and today it’s still generating over $30 billion. This means that the city of Macau generates more money via offline gambling than all of Europe generates via online gambling.
The Risk is Bigger
Taking everything that we said above into account, it looks like offline gambling is still a lucrative option, potentially more so than online gambling. However, the risk is also much bigger.
Huge sums of money are spent on building the biggest and best casinos. $2.7 billion was spent on the Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, and it’s not even the most expensive casino ever built. That’s a lot of money, and to make anywhere near that back the casino has to win millions of dollars a day over the course of many years, all while hoping that a recession or change in trends doesn’t force them to shut their doors completely.
The cost of building the casino isn’t the only expense. They have to be staffed and equipped, and there are also many licensing fees to pay. All in all, this is a very expensive endeavour, much more so than an online casino, which can be established via simple, turn-key operations.
The Tides are Turning
There will likely always be a demand for offline gambling, especially in tourist-heavy regions like Vegas and Macau. Offline casinos are also the destination of choice for casual gamblers, people who enjoy the experience and the day-out, but don’t necessary bother with gambling when they leave the bright lights behind.
However, hardcore gamblers and regular gamblers, the ones who spend the big bucks, seem to prefer online gambling. Younger gamblers, the ones raised on smartphones and social media, are also leaning more towards online services as that’s where they feel more comfortable.
The trend is leaning towards online gambling, and major casinos built outside of major cities could be left in the dark in years to come.
The future of gambling is almost certainly going to be online. Land-based casinos will still exist and will still prosper, but they will likely be overshadowed by online sports books and casinos, which provide a cheaper, easier and more reliable way for corporations to enter the gambling sector.