Ayre's predictions for the online gambling industry
Some industry observers believe fear will grip the
United States in 2014; the fear of individual states
being left behind in the great online gambling race.
situation will mimic the newly regulated markets in
Europe, in which one or two dominant players emerge
while the rest struggle hard just to break even. Bwin.party's
PartyPoker is reportedly off to a good start in New
Jersey, but the company admits the setup costs alone
amounted to between €7m and €10m in 2013.
Barring an equally dominant performance by Bwin.party's
casino vertical and significant growth in the state's
overall market, turning that red ink to black will
be a mean feat.
money-losing operators will hang on in the hope that
interstate compacts will remedy their situation. Plus
both poker and casino will always be niche products
compared to sports betting, which won't change for
years to come.
remains the most interesting state in play for obvious
reasons. For the record, I think California will get
its legislative act together next year. But even when
California joins the online party, it will be poker-only
- at least, to start - and the state's capacity to
make a go of things on its own will provide little
incentive for liquidity sharing with other states.
Bottom line: it will be years yet before the US online
market is anything more than a loss-leader, even for
its most successful operators.
2014 will be High Noon for the showdown between Antigua
and the United States. Either the US Trade Representative
(USTR) will finally honor the near decade-old World
Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the US stance
towards Antigua's online gambling industry is anti-competitive
or Antigua will make good on its WTO-authorized threat
to offer royalty-free digital downloads of US intellectual
property. I'll go out on a limb and say the US will
offer a settlement that Antigua will find acceptable.
Like the clichéd police instruction to looky-loos;
'nothing to see here, folks.' Expect more of the same
in the globe's most mature and tax-happy marketplace.
William Hill's recent assurances, Gibraltar's status
as an online gambling regulatory hub will come under
threat as other UK-facing companies adjust to the
UK's new gambling codes of conduct. As they calculate
the damage posed to their bottom lines by the implementation
of the point-of-consumption-tax, Gibraltar-based operators
will question the wisdom of maintaining their operations
on The Rock along with a now superfluous Gibraltar
online gambling license.
Macau casino operators will continue to find innovative
workarounds to the gaming hub's constraining gaming
table cap. Last year saw operators embracing stadium-style
electronic baccarat stations that serve up to 100
players from a single cap-counting 'table'. In 2014,
some operator will take the next logical step by introducing
mobile tablet live dealer baccarat within their casino
walls to ensure none of their gamblers ever have to
check out a neighboring casino to find a seat at the
will issue two resort casino licenses - one going
to either Sands or MGM Resorts (with a local partner
along for the ride). Wynn Resorts will also apply,
but Universal Entertainment boss Kazuo Okada will
finally get his revenge on Steve Wynn by using his
local influence to torpedo Wynn's bid. The second
license will go to an Asian operator like Universal,
Genting or Melco Crown. Concerns over Caesars Entertainment's
debt load will once again eliminate it from serious
contention, leading to serious calls for CEO Gary
Loveman to atone for his blunder by stepping down.
The other big story of 2014 in Asia will be the rise
of competitors to the First Cagayan regulatory jurisdiction
in the Philippines. There are a number of competing
groups vying for a piece of the online game and more
are coming on-stream this year, giving operators more
choice as to with whom they wish to work. Corruption
is a problem, as Bodog Asia saw with an illegal raid
on its premises caused by criminal ex-staff using
influence peddling to advance their misguided personal
agenda. Most operators will react to the issues attacking
our industry there by planning structural changes,
so the core industry in the Philippines will survive
but not in its present form.
LATIN AMERICA and AFRICA All these markets are progressing
well and will continue to grow. They are also all
'grey' and therefore almost totally being enjoyed
by privately held online gaming companies (much as
in Asia, currently the world's largest online market).
Not much to predict here but more of the same with
payments and digital marketing being the battleground.
After years of gathering momentum, mobile will officially
become an all-star in 2014. Much of the growth to
date has been due to sports betting and random number
generator casino, with some UK operators reporting
mobile wagering accounting for over two-fifths of
sports wagers in 2013. Operators are now adapting
their live dealer casino offering for the mobile space,
which will significantly boost mobile wagering's appeal
in the all-important Asian markets.
growth will get an assist from payment providers,
who, like Facebook, took a while to grasp the 'desktop
= dodo' reality taking shape out in the real word
but are finally getting with the program. As existing
hurdles facing mobile deposits and withdrawals are
lowered, gambling on the go will increasingly become
the default option for bettors.
the Bitcoin currency/commodity's value in relation
to fiat currency will continue to go up and down like
a DVD of Deep Throat on fast forward, 2014 will see
some major online gambling operator take the bold
step by listing Bitcoin as a routine option for deposits
INNOVATIONS: Casino has been unloved in recent years
from an innovation standpoint, but I know the Bodog
crew are hard at work on some new games set to be
unveiled in 2014 that they hope will put casino back
on the map in the same way their anonymous tables
disrupted the poker industry. I suspect they are not
the only ones with skunkworks projects in the casino
space, so look for some new things coming here. But,
obviously, even if I did know the answer to this one,
I wouldn't be publishing it!
article can be found here.