The gambling industry is changing, and it hasn’t happened over night. Over the course of the past 10 years the online industry has been doing everything it can to wrestle customers away from land-based casinos and convince them to gamble online.
In the UK – the world leader in gambling – the online sector has evolved to become a multi-billion-dollar industry, employing thousands of people and entertaining hundreds of thousands of players.
Some would say that the US is still the spiritual home of gambling with Las Vegas attracting millions of gambling enthusiasts from around the globe year on year. However, it is hard to ignore the fact that the US as a whole has fallen behind other gambling countries in recent years because of its ignorance of the online sector.
Below we look at the steps that the American industry could take to emulate the success of the UK and other more online gambling savvy countries.
American Gambling vs British Gambling
In essence, there is relatively little difference between the games you’ll find at a US online casino and a British one. They have similar offers and the same level of customer care but the key difference is the number of players that they welcome.
In a recent study it was found that 17% of all gamblers in the UK (including national lottery and scratchard players) place their wagers online, resulting in an annual £5.3 billion revenue for the online sector.
Whereas here in the US only 3% of regular gamblers choose to wager online, resulting in a relatively low contribution to the country’s overall gambling revenues. What is even more striking is the disparity between average spends per customer.
In the US, the average amount spent by gamblers each year is $505.44 whereas in the UK that figure drops to $377.83. What this tells us is that American online casinos simply do not attract as many customers as their British counterparts, but what can be done to rectify that?
Targeting Marginalised Demographics
Shortly before the turn of the Millennium a small handful of pioneering American companies set about creating online poker rooms where players could battle it out with one another for cash prizes from the comfort of their own homes.
The success of these early sites led to an explosion in American online poker companies which did wonders for the online gambling industry and the global appeal of Texas Hold ‘Em. Whilst American companies were busy beavering away at online poker technology and marketing, British companies were forced to diversify their offerings in order to compete.
As a result, an emphasis was placed on creating online casinos with a wide variety of classic games such as blackjack, roulette and slots. The one area that really took off in popularity was online slots as it appealed to a wide range of demographics.
Conversely, poker was and still is a traditionally male pastime so whilst American online companies were busy appealing to a very specific demographic of players, British ones were working on a more inclusive approach.
As a result, there are significantly more female gamblers in the UK than there are here in the US. This has been further cemented in recent years by the British industries heavy focus on online bingo, which has introduced hundreds of thousands of women to the world of online gambling.
If the American online gambling industry is to experience true growth in the coming years, it will almost certainly have to follow the British approach of appealing to more than just poker players and more than just men.
Soccer betting is one of the biggest sub-sectors of the gambling industry in the UK, but in terms of profits it has a relatively low value to gambling companies. One way that British companies have sought to add value to the soccer betting market is by advertising their more profitable online casino facilities to soccer fans.
Here in the US most online gambling companies tend to steadfastly focus on one area with most sports betting sites not offering alternative facilities to their customers. Whereas in the UK almost every sports betting website has its own purpose-built online casino facilities.
Consequently, a high percentage of soccer fans find themselves introduced to online casino games through their sporting passion. In the US there are 200 million sports fans that online gambling companies are not making the most of by only focusing on sports betting.
The British gambling industry is successful not just because it appeals to British gamblers, but because it also markets itself to gamblers across the world, even here in the USA. One of the ways that it receives the exposure to do this is through aggressive marketing.
This season half of the teams in the English Premier League are sponsored by gambling companies, but how does that translate into global appeal? Well, the Premier League is the most watched sports league anywhere on the planet, broadcast to 212 territories and a television audience of 4.7 billion people.
Therefore, it is no wonder that American soccer fans may be more inclined to gamble with a British online casino than a homegrown one. To regain the upper hand on their British counterparts, American online gambling companies must embark on an equally aggressive marketing strategy.
If the US industry can do all of the things mentioned in this article, then in the coming years we could see more and more Americans gambling with domestic online companies.