The first rise of the iGaming industry started around the early 2000s and grew as the internet started to play a more significant role in our lives.
In the 2000s, the iGaming industry was relatively small, and over the last 21 years, the industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
The iGaming industry was valued at USD 173.70 billion globally and is estimated to reach USD 314.40 billion by 2026.
Thanks to the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdown restrictions to help stop the curb the spread of the virus, the iGaming industry has become the future of the casino and betting industry.
What is iGaming?
In a research paper published by Sally M. Gainsbury, titled “A taxonomy of gambling and casino games via social media and online technologies,.” Sally defined iGaming or internet gambling as,
“An online game in which payment is required, monetary prizes may be awarded, and the outcome of the game is predominantly determined by chance.”
In layman’s terms, iGaming is playing or betting on the outcome of a sports game or event on the internet.
iGaming activities can include but are not limited to; sports betting like NFL Wagers and NBA Parlays, online casinos, which can be replicas of physical casinos, betting on the outcome of poker games, and betting on eSports tournaments.
Sports betting and online casino games make up the most significant shares of the iGaming industry.
The iGaming industry has hubs dotted across the world, with the most popular gaming hubs situated in Malta, Gibraltar, the United Kingdom, and African countries such as Nigeria and South Africa.
Important iGaming locations
Africa and South Africa
Known for being the youngest continent with 60% of the population under the age of 25, Africa currently has the fastest growing iGaming market with an expected growth of 12%.
The rise in the iGaming and online casino market is due to the Global Covid-19 Pandemic, with physical casinos and cruise ship tours being closed due to lockdown restrictions.
Due to the pandemic, many EU-based iGaming brands expanded into the South African market, such as 888 Casino, Spinit Casino, and Casino Cruise – highly recommended as per this Casino Cruise review, and many others.
In 2017 the South African gaming industry was valued at USD 45 billion, and in 2027 is expected to reach a value of more than USD 127 billion, thanks to a CAGR of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027.
Malta is a small island located in the Southern Mediterranean, is the smallest member state of the EU, is considered the leading market within the iGaming industry.
Malta is primarily known as a holiday destination. However, this county has a diverse economy beyond the stigma of being a tourist hotspot, becoming the Mecca of iGaming businesses.
Mata joined the iGaming industry in 2014 and by 2017 had 294 iGaming companies operating within the country, contributing to 10% of Malta’s GDP, a staggering USD 1.27 billion.
Malta is the preferred country for Nordic companies.
Considered the birth country of the iGaming industry, Gibraltar was the first British Overseas Territory to allow online gambling businesses to open within its borders.
The first company to open within Gibraltar was BetVictor, founded by Victor Chandler in 1998. Since then, many iGaming companies have opened their doors within Gibraltar, contributing 25% of the Gibraltar GDP.
The UK hosts many different iGaming businesses and had a Gross Gambling Yield during the April 2015 and March 2016 period of USD 5.21 billion within the online gambling industry.
Unfortunately, due to the UK’s departure from the EU, the iGaming industry within the UK’s territories was filled with an air of uncertainty due to proposed tax laws.
According to the European Gaming & Betting Association, the EU is the largest iGaming market with a revenue of USD 28.58 billion in 2020.