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The gambling industry has shown unprecedented growth in the 21st century, and in 2024, new technologies and regulations are making the market even more dynamic. As tech advances, governments liberalize, and public opinion changes, online gambling is becoming a more and more tempting option for investment.

Let’s delve into the reasons behind the rapid expansion of the gambling business in the contemporary era.

Development of the gambling industry

Essentially, gambling was born from an innate desire to know our destiny. Gambling has its roots in ancient times when people wanted to predict the future or divine the intentions of the gods. In time, this idea transformed into betting on the outcome of throwing dice.

Later, in the 15th century, governments started organizing gambling to raise money. The 17th century saw mathematicians start to develop probability theory based on their interest in games with randomizing elements like cards or dice. As the mathematics behind gambling evolved, so did social and governmental interest, and gambling grew and expanded to become a common commercial activity.

The remarkable expansion of the gambling industry in the 21st century stems from a blend of technological advancements, shifting societal views, and a welcoming regulatory environment. As the sector undergoes ongoing transformations, it becomes imperative for those involved to strike a balance between expanding their business and promoting responsible gambling.

Amendments to gambling regulations in various regions have fostered the industry's growth. Governments, acknowledging the economic potential of the gambling sector, have adjusted laws to accommodate both online and land-based establishments. This regulatory evolution has created a favorable environment for businesses to prosper.

The gambling industry makes notable contributions to the global economy, most evident in job creation, tax revenue generation, and the growth of ancillary businesses linked to gambling establishments. Governments are increasingly supportive of the industry, establishing a mutually beneficial relationship that boosts economies.

Shifting societal attitudes towards gambling have led to greater social acceptance — more individuals are open to exploring and participating in diverse forms of betting and gaming. This cultural change has broadened the customer base, contributing to the industry's rapid expansion.

From land-based to online

Casinos, betting shops, and other gambling establishments have flooded cities around the world, providing entertainment for all kinds of players, from local slot machine hall visitors to high-rolling casino players visiting luxurious, renowned gambling destinations.

The industry was healthy and growing until the global pandemic. Then, as with many other industries, lockdowns entered the game. Land-based gambling and betting was taken away from players. This transition point demonstrated the global popularity of gambling services: players were forbidden to visit public places but kept wagering — only now from their homes.

Land-based casinos showed a global drop of 34% in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, and lost $57 billion in 2021. On the other hand, iGaming GGY grew from 13% in 2019 to 19% in 2020.

Meanwhile, iGaming has continued to develop.

Online casinos introduced live dealer games, where players are connected via high-quality video to a real dealer in a studio, and provably fair games, which use blockchain technology to ensure the fairness and transparency of a game round. With esports and virtual sports, online sportsbooks offer sports bettors 21st-century options.

From home to everywhere

The next transition happened when players familiar with playing online from their homes could do so literally anywhere. Gambling as entertainment, socialization, and a way to win real money became available 24/7.

The ascent of the gambling industry has in large part been driven by the proliferation of smartphones. Mobile access has simplified participation in diverse gambling activities, ranging from sports betting to casino games, requiring only a few taps on users' screens. The spread of high-speed internet in emerging markets in LatAm and Africa contributes to an even more streamlined experience, drawing in a wider demographic of users.

Slotegrator’s solution Telegram Casino is an alternative front-end to a traditional casino website offering all the functions and features of a classic platform within the famous mobile messenger app. This is an ideal option for players who never leave their phones out of hands.

From the internet to AI

Besides the by-now standard mobile gameplay, today's technologies offer players opportunities that were previously unimaginable. Classic internet gaming was a revolution, but breakthroughs in VR, AR, NFT, and Metaverse technologies promise to expand horizons even further.

And nothing compares to the power of AI.

AI has enhanced crucial aspects of the modern iGaming platform, helping operators run their business better than ever. The high-powered data processing that AI is capable of helps with:

  • Personalization — AI tools are used by online casino operators to segment players and tailor marketing strategies and offers to each group.
  • Risk management — Analysis of a huge amount of data and detection of suspicious behavior is faster and more accurate with the use of AI.
  • Customer support — AI can be used in chatbots and help provide instant support to players.
  • Game development — New types of games are developed based on player behavior analysis.
  • Real-time marketing— real-time data processing enables operators to make tailored offers at exactly the moment that players are most likely to accept them.
  • Market analysis — operators can more closely study their market of operation using AI.

The turnkey platform for online casinos from Slotegrator consists of several modules, including the AI BI (Artificial Intelligence Business Analysis) module enabling a massive data analysis and anonymous comparison of the gambling project performance with metrics of other similar projects in the region.

Another revolutionary innovation is the blockchain technology that made it possible to develop provably fair games and process transactions based on smart contracts.

The size of gambling worldwide

Gambling today is more than just a pastime — it is a massive industry with thousands of online casino platforms and as many gambling services and products providers.

According to IBISWorld, 2 million people work in gambling globally, and this number keeps growing every year. It’s tough to convey the sheer scope of the global industry, but here are some more numbers:

  • According to Yahoo! Finance, the European online gambling market’s size is estimated at $52.30 billion in 2024.
  • It is anticipated that total revenue in Asia's online gambling market will reach €10.88 billion in 2024, according to Statista.
  • User penetration, which measures the percentage of the population using online gambling, is projected to be 2.5% in 2024.
  • The overall value of the offline and online casino sector size worldwide was as high as $263.3 billion in 2023.

It’s noteworthy that these numbers only represent legal and registered businesses. The size of the black market is difficult to measure.

The future of the gambling industry

The gambling industry is often the first to adopt new technologies and develop new solutions in the world of entertainment. The choice of payment methods is growing, more and more types of games are being invented, the list of regulated jurisdictions is expanding, and traveling is becoming easier.

Experts predict that the gambling industry will definitely grow in the future:

  • According to Yahoo! Finance, the European online gambling market’s size is expected to reach $88.16 billion by 2029.
  • According to Vixio, the Latin American regulated online gambling market will reach $6.75 billion in annual revenue by 2027.
  • The global user penetration is expected to increase to 3.0% by 2028.

Investment in gambling in 2024

The gambling industry today is a full-fledged participant of the world economy. However, that alone is not enough reason to invest in something.

Our Sales Manager, Khoren Ispiryan, comments:

The gambling business is a smart investment nowadays. This market is flexible, dynamic, tech-savvy, and modern. It has similar development prospects in terms of growth as the bitcoin market, but in the gambling market everything can be calculated in detail and doesn’t depend on market forces causing a currency to spike. The market development is consistent, predictable, and promising. The period of post-pandemic recovery has passed and interest in various markets is high — the time to enter this market is now.

Governments today create a supportive environment but strictly regulate the industry. They impose KYC and AML rules, set gambling age and advertisement policies, issue licenses, and require annual reports. Online casinos and betting platforms follow these rules not just because they’re part of the licensing requirements, but because reputation is what matters the most in today’s gambling world.

Demonstrating good will and social responsibility is part of today’s investment landscape. Gambling brands show their interest in social and environment issues, participate in efforts to reduce gambling harm, and boost the labor market by offering employment.

FAQ about investment in gambling
What is the size of the global betting market?

The size of the worldwide sports betting and lottery market amounted to $235.46 billion in 2022. Betting only made $109.01 billion in 2023 and grew to $114.68 billion in 2024, which made an annual growth rate of 5.2%.

What’s the share of iGaming in the total global gambling market?

The worldwide online gambling market is projected to reach $107.30 billion in 2024.

How do I start an online casino?

We collected all our tips in this article but the general advice would be to start by researching markets and deciding where your future project will operate. This will help you in acquiring a gambling license, picking the games for your audience, integrating necessary payment methods, and creating a marketing strategy.

Who invests in online gambling?

Entrepreneurs and investors from a range of backgrounds find gambling to be a valuable opportunity. In recent years, investing in iGaming has become a popular choice for crypto traders or operators of crypto trading platforms looking to turn their financial gains into a profitable, long-term project.

What can Slotegrator do for operators?

Slotegrator is a B2B service provider with over 10 years of experience in the iGaming industry. Our products include our turnkey platform solution, APIgrator, a gaming content aggregation solution, Telegram Casino, Moneygrator, Sportegrator, and Partnergrator.

We also provide consultancy services for operators and help with getting a gambling license to work legally.

Maria Zamkina
Maria Zamkina
Senior Editor
Maria started at Slotegrator in 2020. These years of experience in the iGaming content creation taught her to devote time to thorough research and analysis, especially when it comes to regulatory frameworks, business processes, and gambling industry insights. She spends every day creating high-quality content for Slotegrator and doing her best to share the most interesting information with our audience.

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