| The past 12 months that have seen everyone focused on cyberspace
The growth of online casino gaming as an international phenomenon is well-known and understood. It has been brought about by a number of
factors all arriving at the same time to present a perfect storm. Advances in web-based and mobile tech have coincided with changing attitudes that no longer
see gambling as some morally corrupt pastime. Then there are the very specific circumstances of the past 12 months that have seen everyone spending more time
focused on cyberspace for their entertainment in the absence of other choices.
All these things have been discussed at length elsewhere, but what might
be less obvious is the specific new markets that are opening up and attracting the attention of the major European operators. Here, we will look at three very
different hotspots. One is in Asia and another in Latin America. The third is an emerging market that is right here on our doorstep in Europe.
Brazil the largest market in the world?
The internet has been around for two decades now, but the process of digital
transformation is still one that is ongoing. Brazil is in a position of having a progressive government presiding over a vast population of digitally savvy
millennials. The nation boasts one of the highest rates of social media penetration in the world. National boundaries are all but irrelevant in the new digital
economy, and instead of fighting against it, Brazils lawmakers are cognisant of this fact and see an opportunity to produce the optimum regulatory
framework, learning from the experiences of others like Malta that have gone down the same road.
Industry expert Miguel Quesada has discussed the
rule of one whereby processes are
streamlined such that gambling is managed as a nationwide jurisdiction under one regulatory body that issues a single license for all varieties of gambling and
where revenue is taxed under one model.
The idea is to facilitate instead of putting up roadworks. One way is by making it easier for established
operators to access the Brazil market, by using their existing compliance infrastructures. It means instant access in more ways than one customers can
start playing the games they love, and tax revenue will immediately begin to flow.
India new games for a new market
On the face
of it, online gambling in India looks like it could not be more different to the approach advocated in Brazil. Regulation has been decentralized, a little like
the situation with sports betting in the USA, and it has led to some confusion. As things stand today, gambling is legal in the states of Goa, Sikkim and
Daman, but only in specialized establishments. However, only two states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, actively prohibit online gambling.
For the rest,
online casinos lie in an unregulated zone, and offshore operators are neither outlawed nor encouraged. On the one hand, this makes it a grey area that carries
a degree of risk. After all, regulations could change, and furthermore, surveys conducted by CasinoSenpai.com have
found that wherever they are in the world, online casino players place legality in the top five reasons for choosing a specific casino operator.
Nevertheless, India represents an immense market, and like Brazil, there is a large demographic of technologically savvy millennials. For operators
like Betway and Casumo, that is too tantalizing an opportunity to ignore, and both have recently added Indian pages to target this market specifically.
Meanwhile, Ezugi, which is a subsidiary of Sweden-based Evolution Gaming Group, has gone a step further with the launch of
Over-The-Table (OTT) Andar Bahar. It is an established favourite among Indian casino goers,
but this is the first time anyone has brought it into cyberspace. The game is presented live from the opulent setting of the Marina Casino in Colombo, and will
undoubtedly garner a whole new audience of curious casino gamers from elsewhere who are eager to experience something a little different.
Netherlands regulation brings opportunity
At the beginning of April, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the regulatory body for gambling in the
Netherlands, started processing licensing applications in preparation for the official opening of its regulated market on 01 October. It is another market that
is expanding dramatically, and research shows that online gambling grew by more than 150 percent between 2015 2019.
Naturally, the major European
operators are hurrying to get their applications in so that they can access a market worth around 3 billion per year and rising. Of course, for many, the
market is a familiar one. Till now, Holland Casino has held a monopoly when it comes to gambling, whether it is online or in land-based facilities, at least
officially. However, many international operators have unofficially encouraged players by offering their sites in the Dutch language. Over recent years, the
KSA has cracked down on this, fining some major providers. It has also confirmed that those who have transgressed in the past will be sent to the back of the
queue when if they apply for a license.
A world of opportunity
Brazil, India and The Netherlands are just three examples of nations that
can present incredible opportunities for casino operators that are agile and responsive. Others we could easily include in this bracket include Colombia and
Nigeria. The example of the Netherlands also goes to show that playing by the rules brings its rewards in the end, even if it doesnt seem that way at the