Report Suggests the Emergence of Casual Gaming by 2010
New MECN report and survey forecasts casual gaming to double its growth to USD 1 billion by 2010
Monday 31st July 2006
A new study by consulting firm MECN into ‘Casual Gaming and Gambling in the Internet’ has delved into some key topics in the industry skill gaming, online bingo, and fantasy sports. The study includes the results of a survey MECN conducted among more than 60 industry experts who offered their unique insights and assessments.
The report arrives in the wake of the US prohibition bill, backed by Senator Bob Goodlatte, which has prompted widespread uncertainty within the industry, and led to the arrest and incarceration of BetonSports CEO David Carruthers, and indictments against 10 others.
However some operators have already started to think about alternative revenue sources should gambling face tougher restrictions, and previous growth sectors, such as online poker and betting exchanges, would mature. According to many experts, casual gaming and gambling, which includes skill gaming, online bingo, and fantasy sports, represents such an alternative. Although some of the casual gaming and gambling offers have already been in existence for several years, the industry has only recently begun to focus on them.
“It is astonishing at what speed this industry is currently moving,” explains Martin Oelbermann, coauthor of the study. ”We can see, for example, on a weekly base high caliber companies and investors, such as media giants Liberty or Burda, as well as Betfair’s founders getting involved.”
The main reason cited for the increased interest is the millions of potential casual gamers and gamblers, especially women who have not yet been targeted by the industry.
Another reason for the growing relevance of the casual sector is legislation regarding gambling getting more and more complex. This forces state lotteries as well as private companies to look for alternative products to their traditional gambling offerings.
In accordance with European court decisions, some state lotteries (such as Dutch De Lotto and German WestLotto) now have to decrease their marketing and expansion efforts for sports betting. Casual gaming could be an attractive alternative revenue source for them. Oelbermann continued, “Especially the legally less problematic skill gaming sector, including online versions of various card and board games, must become a consideration in many strategic discussions at state lotteries as one of the key future growth options.”
Experts estimate the current market size for casual gaming and gambling (skill gaming and online bingo) to be about US $500 million with 8 million registered players playing for cash.