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The Economist Publishes In-Depth Report on the State of Online Gambling in America

20 July 2010 by Devon Chappell

In the latest edition of The Economist business magazine (one of the best in publication, mind you), an in-depth report and analysis offers telling insight into the US online gambling industry, including the current state of the industry in light of the UIGEA online gambling ban going into effect just a few months ago.

globalgamblingmarketH2Citing stats from 2007, the report shows just how large the global gambling market has become – $335 billion a year. With nearly half of the American population and over two-thirds of British citizens having a go at some sort of wagering, there simply is no denying a formidable demand for recreational betting in existence today.

Even in a year where monthly casino gambling revenue has steadily declined, Las Vegas still racked in over $10 billion in gambling revenues, while the gambling utopia of Asia, Macau, brought in nearly $15 billion in 2009. Add to that hundreds of millions in lottery tickets sold every week of the year, and it is still apparent that the land-based gambling industry still holds sway.

However, in an increasingly mobile world and broadening World Wide Web, the trend is one of which that will see unprecedented growth in online gambling – even despite the UIGEA. While online gambling only accounted for 8% of global gambling revenue (approximately $26 billion) in 2009, this was a growth in revenue from all previous years. So while much of the rest of the global gambling industry endures falling revenues, online gambling is expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds.

globalmobilegamingH2The gambling consultancy firm, H2, reports the online gambling market is expected to grow 13% per year, bringing in revenue of $36 billion by 2012. H2 also values the global online poker market at just about $5 billion, with the United States bringing in almost a third of the revenue ($1.4 billion).

The fact is, America remains the largest single online gambling market in the world. Even with the UIGEA in effect, American continue gambling online. Where those online casino operators backed out of the market because of the UIGEA, new operators have filled the void. The scary part is that more under-regulated or even non-regulated online casinos are thriving as a result. There are still many safe and reliable places to wager online for U.S. residents, however, a lot more due diligence is required ahead of time.

The report in the Economist said it best: “Government prohibition of online gambling has worked about as well as prohibition of other online content, which is to say it is observed mainly in the breach….Americans are gambling roughly the same amount online as they did in 2006.”

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