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Global Online Gambling Sees Steady Growth and New Regulations
The global market for online gambling is forecasted to maintain one-digit growth rates over the next four years, expected to reach a medium-high, double-digit number in billion Euros revenue. One trend in online gambling is the use of mobile devices. Some gambling sites report increasing shares of their total revenues stemming from mobile and gambling search words, which are increasingly originating from phones and tablets. Another important factor is a wave of acquisition deals which has taken place in the past two years; for example, Canada-based Amaya Gaming Group acquiring the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. The performance of the leading global companies in the online gambling and betting segment varied last year, with William Hill and Paddy Power showing growth rates in online net revenues of close to +20%, while Betfair showed only moderate growth and Bwin.Party registered a decline in total revenues.
Europe was the largest online gambling market in the world, owing to a large number of countries with established regulations regarding this sector. This number is set to increase, as countries like the Netherlands adopt new online gambling regulations, seeking additional tax revenues. Across the UK, France and Spain, betting, in particular sports betting, was the largest segment of the online gambling market in 2014, while in Italy it was outperformed by casino games. In Germany, the co-existence of separate gambling regimes in the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the rest of the country was upheld by the ECJ in 2014. In Russia, online gambling remained illegal, but a separate regime is being formed for online betting under a self-regulatory organization and the nature of online poker was debated.
In the Asia-Pacific region, some governments have gone to lengths to limit online gambling. In Singapore, all forms of remote gambling were forbidden under new regulations in 2015, and in China and South Korea, a number of organizers of illegal online gambling websites were arrested. In Australia, where the regime is more liberal, foreign companies are particularly attracted by the interactive betting sector.
In the USA, of the three states allowing online gambling, New Jersey generated by far the largest revenues in 2014. More states are expected to adopt rules concerning online gambling as revenues continue to grow, though at a somewhat more moderate level than was forecasted a year ago. In Latin America, in both Brazil and Mexico, new bills were put forward in the legislature to regulate online gambling, but the legislation has not yet been approved. Meanwhile, on the African continent, the government of South Africa, regional leader in land-based gambling revenues, announced in early 2015 that it had no plans to legalize online gambling despite calls to do so.
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