Across the nation and, indeed, the world, gaming is big business. It’s a sector that has seen exponential growth over the past five years or so. Barriers to entry are relatively low, certainly if you compare it with constructing, staffing and running a real world gaming complex. Looked at from that perspective, it is hardly surprising that dozens, maybe hundreds, of new igaming companies have appeared on the scene.
Most of them seem to be succeeding despite the increasingly crowded landscape in which they operate. Just look at Ninja Casino as a single example. Only set up in the online age, it directly pitched itself against the big names that were dominating both the online and land-based markets. Yet despite being a relative newcomer, it has become a household name in igaming across multiple jurisdictions.
So is the igaming industry still the goldmine that it was two or three years ago? The answer is a qualified yes. While demand seems to be growing in step with demand, this is nevertheless a complex sector with its own peculiarities.
Every business has regulators to deal with, but they are seldom more in-your-face than in the casino business. In many respects, that’s a good thing. Stay on the right side of the gatekeepers in your specific jurisdiction, and you’ll have a shining endorsement that will give gamers confidence in your brand and your offering.
The trouble is, when regulation is tight, both the risk of something going wrong and the consequences if it does can be catastrophic. It can happen to anyone, as recent events surrounding Ninja Casino’s operations in Sweden demonstrated. The Scandinavian nation introduced new and tighter anti money laundering (AML) controls at the beginning of 2019. When their auditors expressed dissatisfaction at Ninja’s implementation of these rules, it had no hesitation in revoking the license.
Businesses that provide gambling services are loosely categorized along with the likes of alcohol and tobacco providers as sin stocks. This can bring extra social and ethical challenges from a brand reputation perspective. It’s important that igaming providers encourage responsible gambling, but even in doing so, they are not immune from broader social influences.
Even in the UK, a nation famed for its relaxed attitude to gambling, there have been concerns over addiction. These have led to restrictions in how igaming companies can market their services and limits placed on maximum stakes that gamers can place.
Finally, let’s not dismiss the competitive nature of the market. The fact that demand is growing with supply will only get a business so far. It still needs to offer something that will make it stand out from the rest.
The hi-tech nature of the industry presents numerous opportunities in this regard, from live gaming to virtual reality to the new breed of skill-based games. However, this means that igaming companies need to be ready to invest and to move with the times in order to win and maintain market share.