Since the turn of the millennium the gambling industry has undergone more change and evolution than at any other time in its history – an impressive feat when you consider that the first archaeological records of gambling can be traced back to 3000BCE.
Throughout that long history, gambling has had to overcome a number of barriers and obstacles to cement itself as a favourite throughout the generations.
Whether that be the Puritans 1631 ban on gambling in the New World or, more recent attempts to outlaw wagering, gambling has always come out on top.
Whilst gambling providers in 2023 aren’t facing the ire of the Puritans or the threat of widespread banning, there are still a number of barriers facing the industry.
In this article, we take a look at some of the most pertinent ones, read on to find out what they are.
Online gambling was beginning to take hold online in the early noughties, but it wasn’t until the first few years of the 2010s that the market began to become established. It was the move from browser based sites to mobile apps that really helped to bring online gambling to a wider market.
After the first few pioneering providers launched their mobile apps and had success, the proverbial flood gates were opened. Not just dozens, but hundreds upon hundreds of suppliers began to create their own online gambling apps, attracting customers with enticing sign-up and bonus offers.
How exactly, is this competition a barrier though? Well, just as with any other business, there are unscrupulous providers out there looking to cash in on the online gambling boom and make a quick buck.
The damage that is done to well-run, reputable and trustworthy online casino sites by untrustworthy and exploitative providers is significant. It also damages the credibility of the industry itself and results in low levels of trust amongst consumers.
The United Kingdom is a utopia for online gambling companies. Regulated by the Gambling Commission but free in terms of legislation, online sportsbooks and casino providers in the UK are able to thrive and grow without feeling the heavy hand of restrictions on their shoulders.
Unfortunately though, the legal landscape in the UK is not mirrored in other parts of the world. In the USA for example – a country we think of as being intrinsically linked to gambling – it is still illegal in many states to gamble online.
It’s a similar story in many other countries too, with outright bans on online gambling or confusing and restrictive legislation that makes it almost impossible for the market to thrive and grow.
Recent research from the Gambling Commission in the UK found that 1 in 4 Britons had wagered online in the previous week. Digging deeper into the statistics, it was found that, on average, British gamblers had 3 accounts with various providers.
This becomes an issue when it comes to identifying and addressing problem gambling. Whereas traditionally, casino staff would keep an eye on their players to try and spot problem gamblers, online providers are not able to see what their players are doing on other sites.
What might seem like normal betting patterns with one provider could well be problematic when combined with the player’s betting patterns on their other gambling accounts. The lack of human interaction also makes it more difficult for problem gamblers to be identified and to receive the help that they need.
Whilst the UK has been widely applauded for its free market approach to the gambling industry, that lack of scrutiny has led to certain providers turning their proverbial inch into several miles.
That is certainly the case in the UK when it comes to advertising. In recent years the loose gambling advertisement restrictions have been exploited, largely by sports betting companies, who are desperate to flash their odds and offers at customers at any given moment.
This has created a backlash in the UK which has led to the government imposing tougher restrictions and laws on gambling advertising. For smaller online casino companies who rely on the power of advertising, this has become a major issue.
It has become somewhat cliché to say that younger generations are more responsible – or boring according to some tabloid newspapers – but it is true. Younger people are drinking far less frequently and a lot lower quantities than their parents.
They are also gambling much less frequently which should sound an alarm bell for the online gambling industry. The main users of their platform of choice, mobile phones, are the generation least likely to want to use that device to gamble.
In reality, all of the other barriers discussed in this article pale into insignificance compared to this one. As of yet, online casino providers have shown no concrete plans for how they are going to appeal to a younger demographic, instead seeming intent on continuing to cater for older generations.
How will this ignorant approach to future generations of gamblers play out in the years to come? Most likely not well for the gambling industry.