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Financial Times Favorable For Online Gambling

By: Adam Richards, Monday November 16th 2009
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The Financial Times is a leading financial newspaper. In an editorial article it concluded that the scenario for online gambling looks good, especially in Europe. The conclusions were arrived at on the basis of interviews with some of top executives in the online gaming industry. Two factors contributed to this optimism. One factor was the more open policies adopted by many governments and the second factor was the increasing penetration of broadband services.

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill plc, said that there have been significant changes in Europe that should lead to growth in online gambling over the next two to three years. Specifically, Topping pointed out the elimination of the French government's monopoly from 2010, the increasing liberalization of the Italian online gambling market, the positive developments in Denmark, Belgium and Sweden and the disagreements among the German states over the anti-gambling treaty.

The Financial Times pointed out that the growth is expected to be driven by consolidation of operators in the online gaming industry. There has been talk of this consolidation over the last few years. But pending and potential legal action against key European online gaming operators in the United States acted as an impediment. Now that these issues are clearing up mergers and acquisitions are back on the agenda. A senior online gambling executive cautioned that nothing should be expected immediately.

One reason for the growth in online gambling has been the shift from land based gambling. There have been various issues affecting land based gambling. A major one is the smoking ban at many casinos and bingo halls. Gambling at land based casinos involves costs of traveling and lodging that can be significant and can eat into bankrolls. During the recession players prefer to save on these costs by wagering online. Finally there have been regulatory issues with land casinos.

The Financial Times has listed some positive reasons for the growth of online gambling as well. One is the increased penetration of broadband, particularly in countries where it is presently low. Warwick Bartlett, chief executive of Global Betting and Gaming Consultants, identifies Brazil, Argentina and Mexico in this regard. Another reason is the innovative products and technologies being introduced. Real time betting, sports betting products and gambling through mobile phones are the more effective ones. Taking all factors into account Global Betting and Gaming Consultants have estimated a more than 10% increase in gross revenues in each of the next three years.

The Financial Times identifies the United States and China as potentially difficult sectors for online gambling. It however points out that things may turn around soon in the United States because the government has been made aware of the tax revenues it is losing by not legalizing online gambling. The hopefulness of the American industry is characterized by the land based gambling giant Harrah's putting in place online gambling infrastructure. However the European operators who had burnt their fingers in the United States clampdown are adopting a wait and watch attitude.

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Comment by: Stephen P. On: November 17, 2009
Of course they do... lol... There's a future in it and they're finally starting to see things clearly!

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