In the past few years, the popularity of online gambling has ballooned worldwide, with double-digit annual revenue growth anticipated over the next half-decade.
Because of this rapid increase in the adoption of web-powered casino solutions, you might assume that the land-based equivalents would be suffering, just as bricks and mortar retailers are suffering in the age of online shopping. So is this an accurate assessment or are digital gambling solutions and traditional casinos able to coexist?
The health of the land-based casino market seems to be fairly robust at the moment, with gambling hubs like Las Vegas enjoying recent record revenue increases that suggest plenty of players are still willing to visit them in person.
Of course, the North American market is a little different to other regions of the globe in this respect; parts of Europe have seen stagnation or even declines in revenues at physical gambling locations, raising questions about how the influence of online casinos is being felt in places where such services can be operated legally.
While a more liberal attitude to online gambling at recommended casino sites is spreading in the US and Canada, there are still regulatory restrictions on this type of business, and so players have a harder time accessing digital services, which gives land-based casinos more of allure by default.
The gradual softening of the American government’s stance with regards to online gambling means that more and more people are being exposed to it as an option, so while the market may be relatively underdeveloped at the moment, this is likely to change in the course of the next few years.
As more people begin to pick up and play casino games on their smartphones, this pastime could spike in popularity and ultimately mean that there is less of a reason for visits to land-based casinos.
It could be argued that in spite of evidence showing that a rise in online gambling can have adverse effects on land-based casinos, there is a possibility that these two sides of the market will actually be beneficial for one another.
People who are introduced to the idea of gambling as a pastime via online services will feel far more comfortable with the idea of visiting a real-world casino if they get the opportunity. Likewise, players who are long-standing fans of land-based casinos can now get access to gambling services without having to leave the house.
The increase in online gambling is something that campaigners see as problematic because it introduces a greater number of people to a potentially addictive and financially damaging hobby, without any of the usual geographic barriers involved in the land-based casino industry.
This may actually play in favor of operators of bricks and mortar gambling houses since regulators will be less eager to loosen the limitations on online casinos and sports betting services if they are under continued pressure to consider the social impact of such a decision.