Popularity of online casino is growing - this phrase can be seen in the titles of many articles. As an evidence of this rapid process you may find a lot of figures and data: increase in the number of online casinos and its players, global trend of users shifting to online sector, mobility and usability of portable casinos, rapid development of technology as of game content and software development and much more.
Today we look at this issue from the standpoint of search engines statistics. For comparison, let’s look at some of the Eastern European countries, where gambling industry is at different stages of development now.
Consider the phrases that are most frequently searched in the context of gambling in Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Georgia. ‘Online Casino’ on average is requested more than 70 000 times per month, indicating the high level of interest in the trend.
Popular key phrases are also ‘play online casino’ and ‘Free Online Casino’. The leader among similar search queries is ‘slot machines’. Users also very often search for certain operator or brands while other names are not being mentioned. Such specificity highlights a low level of players’ familiarity with the variety of online casino market or just a habit to use the most popular resource. To change it, operators of new online casinos have to execute more active marketing campaign to attract customers, who are very interested in gambling venues according to the data.
If we look at search history of ‘online casino’ search request during 2015-2016 we will see a sharp rise between March and May 2015: up to 500 000 requests per month in regions that are of interest to us.
Such spike can be associated with high-profile events in the industry, such as Russian Gaming Week 2015: it has riveted users’ attention for several months, as the most large-scale event in the Eastern European gambling industry.
Such sharp increase can be explained by a peak of the season as well, associated with the holidays and more free time users get. In any case, using this data, casino operators should intensify their efforts to attract players in this very period, which may lead to traffic increase.
The next search query, which we will look at, is Bitcoin casino.
Quantitative indicators as of casinos with cryptocurrency are significantly lower than that of online casinos, but according to the following line graph, users’ interest in gambling venues with virtual currency is constantly growing year by year.
Considering the popularity of Bitcoin casinos in the world, an undisputed leader is the United States:
It is the United States that makes the top three countries as of the number of cryptocurrency users. The US is followed by China and Germany, with almost equal figures.
The global popularity of Bitcoin casinos is growing. We can see that the peak of popularity was in 2014, when Bitcoin spread to new countries, many new websites with “free” bitcoins occurred and several major attacks aimed at stealing bitcoins took place.
When talking about ‘online casino’ search query in the Eastern European countries, it should be noted that more popular are countries where conditions for industry development are the most favorable – Kazakhstan and Belarus. Popular are also Russia and Ukraine, most likely due to the fact that online entertainment portals in the countries with a large number of residents are used by gamers as an alternative to prohibited or restricted land-based gambling houses.
In order to understand the trend in detail, let’s consider each country separately
Russia: Current situation in gambling industry
Casino situation in Russia is ambiguous. Officially, organization of gambling activities is prohibited, however to play gamble games is legal. That is why most casinos put their servers in other countries and offshore areas, where such activities are permitted. A new tax on winnings does not contribute to the development as well.
Legal are those land-based casinos located in special gambling zones.
The dynamics of trend popularity is intermittent, because of adopted gambling laws, which leads to an increase in the rights of operators and players one day and their decrease another day.
Belarus: Current situation in gambling industry
In Belarus online gambling situation is one of the most favorable in the Eastern European countries. Land-based casinos are legal and regulated by the law; online casinos are not prohibited as well.
Certain activity decay in 2016 may be explained by the imposition of a new 4% tax on winnings, which has received quite ambiguous assessment of the public.
Kazakhstan: Current situation in gambling industry
In Kazakhstan land-based casinos operate in special zones. Operation of foreign online casinos, i.e. those located outside Kazakhstan, is allowed. Users face no limits and gambling sites are not blocked.
The sector is at an early stage of the development, but due to the beneficial environment, legalization of gambling and interest of the government in the industry, there is systematic development of the industry.
This segment of gambling industry is worth noticing as well.
Its popularity has tripled over 5 years. The market was deluged with mobile software developments from online casino software producers and today almost every game is available on portable devices. Mobile casino applications managed to become the most popular trend in gambling industry over the last years.
To summarize we can say that in spite of the heterogeneity of search requests dynamics in the Eastern European countries due to different legislative and other conditions, affecting industry development, gradual and continuous increase in the popularity of online casinos is obvious. Such trend has occurred not only due to gradual shifting of the consumer market to online sector, but also due to rapid development of gambling technology, in particular, the development of more advanced software and game content that can provide players with a wide range of possibilities and great gambling experience.