As the economy continues to limp along in countries around the world, luxury goods and services have seen a matching decline as people tighten their belts and keep their wallets closed. But even as the rest of the economy slows, gambling revenues continue unhindered — even showing growth by some metrics.
It’s no surprise that certain industries boom when the economy takes a turn for the worse — people want to distract themselves, and they choose certain distractions over others when times are rough. A 2010 study by the U.K. Gambling Commission found, for example, that 73 percent of U.K. residents gambled despite the global recession, an increase from the 68 percent noted in a 2007 study.
Of course, the trend towards certain luxuries in a downturn only explains part of this continued growth. Just as vital, if not more so, is the increasing availability, variability, and popularity of Internet-based gaming. The advent of mobile gaming apps has only hastened this growth, putting the biggest names in U.K. gambling in the pockets of every Briton with a smartphone. Mobile gaming of that nature grew by an astounding 25 percent in 2011 alone, pushing online gaming to over $30 billion globally that year.
Growth of this sort hasn’t been universal, however. Some nations, most notably the United States, have been hesitant to embrace the growth of online gambling, instead developing strong regulations and heavily restricting the viability of a U.S. online gambling market. Only recently has this status quo looked to change, with a number of states making moves toward relaxed online gambling laws.
The astounding revenues seen in New Jersey after legalizing gambling may contribute to the sudden interest in loosening these laws — a predicted $262 million in 2014 alone. The opportunity has many names in gaming watching developments closely.