Gambling still a winner

The global market for mobile gambling is set to grow from $1.35bn in 2006 to $16.6bn in 2011 despite stringent regulations in the US. The figures announced by analyst house Juniper Research are in terms of gross value of bets placed, so sadly for operators reflect a fraction of the returns they can expect.

Juniper published its last full report on mobile gambling in June 2006. Following the tightening of legal barriers to all forms of online gambling in the US it decided to revisit its market forecasts as the environment had changed.

The new forecasts confirm that there is still great potential for mobile gambling services where legislation permits. Despite dramatically reduced forecasts for the development of the North American market.

This news follows Monday’s announcement by consultancy firm Morse that nearly a third of office workers in the UK indulge in a work-time flutter. The consultancy estimates that those who bet at work are likely to spend up to 13 hours a year doing so, which equates to £300m down the drain.

It is bad news for national GDP but good news for operators and mobile gambling firms, since employers that clamp down on inappropriate internet use will almost certainly encourage people to pick up their mobile phones.

Europe is currently seen to be the largest market for mobile gambling, with an estimated $665m in bets placed in 2006. However, it is forecast to be overtaken by the rapidly expanding Asia Pacific market by 2008. The Asian market is expected to reach over $6.7bn by 2011, in terms of value of bets placed.

Sports betting is currently estimated to be the largest sector in mobile gambling, opening up a valuable additional channel to existing gamblers as well as creating opportunities in new markets. Lotteries currently represents the second largest sector, but is forecast to take the top spot by 2010 as lotteries and related games, such as bingo, exploit the mass market mobile channel.

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