New opportunities for growth and innovation as US iGaming market
With real money gaming and sports betting activities fully legalised and regulated in as many as 13 US states, the iGaming industry is going from strength to strength.
Now significantly contributing to a global market that is expected to reach as much as $102.97 billion by the year 2025, US operators have enjoyed a year of exponential growth. Over the third quarter of 2019 alone, some operators have seen as much as a 222% year-on-year increase in terms of gross operator revenue, as the demand for real money gaming has shot up in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
A year of sports betting
Back in May 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was officially overturned. Since then, sports betting has become a fully fledged market in the US, so much so that bettors have wagered a total of $9.99 billion on sporting events between the period June 2018 to July 2019. In total, this has yielded a combined profit of $625 million for sportsbook operators across the same period.
The state of Pennsylvania was one of the newest in the US to regulate both sports betting and interactive gaming. In September, the second full month of regulated activities, collective revenue stood at $19.4 million for sports betting and $5.3 million for gaming. Online activities generated the biggest numbers for the same month, with licensed operators earning $13.7 million in revenue and online consumer spend increasing to $158.2 million.
A poker first for Pennsylvania
In a landmark event, PokerStars has become one of the first global online poker & casino operators to launch in the state of Pennsylvania. The platform brings the full suite of free-to-play poker games, real money casino products and cash games and tournaments to customers in this newly-regulated state.
A spokesperson for the global iGaming operator confirmed its position as “the first and currently the only online poker option available to players in Pennsylvania”.
During initial live tests, a total of 600 players were active on the platform, giving a strong indication that Pennsylvania could soon beat out Nevada and Delaware as the top revenue-generating state for online poker and casino gaming.
New Jersey vs. Pennsylvania
It’s not just Nevada and Delaware that could be trumped by the emergent market in Pennsylvania. New Jersey was one of the first US states to introduce legalised online real money gaming and over the five years it’s been in action it has taken the lion’s share of revenues.
The launch of the iGaming industry in Pennsylvania could change all that, however. In 2018, the total iGaming revenues (including online poker and casino gaming and sports betting) for New Jersey were $298.7 million. While another year-on-year increase is expected for 2019, the Garden’s State’s position at the top of the leaderboard could be seriously compromised by the significant growth already displayed in Pennsylvania.
Growth and innovation across the board
The booming iGaming industry in the US isn’t just creating opportunities for financial growth; as the industry expands there will naturally be more opportunities for innovation across the board too.
Although European territories are the current leaders in iGaming innovation, thanks to games incorporating advanced tech like Virtual Reality and leading software developers Microgaming and NetEnt being headquartered in the continent, as more operators join the US market there’ll be a greater need for technological innovation in order to create more unique customer experiences.
This could mean that over the next six to twelve months, US players will be able to enjoy things like Virtual Reality poker games and interactive, community-focused online slots.
We’re even seeing major sporting leagues like the NBA announce their official authorised sports betting partners for multiple seasons and it’s likely that future relationships between major sports and entertainment leagues and iGaming operators will soon develop.
Meanwhile, tech giant Google has updated its advertising policy to allow operators in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa, Montana and Rhode Island to run real money gaming ads in a limited beta test. Sports betting adverts are already permitted in the states of New Jersey, Nevada and West Virginia, but this update will permit operators to run adverts that also link to promotional or educational content (such as tutorials, e-books, software etc.) pertaining to the industry.
The move comes as part of Google’s recent expansion to its existing policy, which also extends the permit to operators in Colombia, Kenya and Nigeria.