11 August 2020
Choosing a new market for the gaming sector is a minefield of new legislation coupled with genuine interest in a developing market. At Blueclaw, we specialise in growing traffic and building online iGaming brands around the world. Although we aren’t specialists in the legal side (we leave that up to your compliance teams), we have a very strong handle on the developing interest around the world in different markets.
According to this report, the global online gambling market is expected to reach $127.3 billion by 2027.
Given the relevance and prominent expected growth, we’ve used the data from the last five years of Google Trends to review which countries are the rising stars in searches for the key Gaming Sectors named in the report and the topic searches that go with them:
As the Google Trends data we completed analysis on was focused on a specific topic or niche, it took into account the localised search terms within each sector. The data was taken from the last 5 years, where we created a 4 year average and compared the average interest against that of 2020.
We then pulled together a final average score, based on the interest for each niche and the overall “Online Gambling” topic.
Although the data can’t be used to directly identify sales or which country will continue to grow, it does show the countries that have shown a significant rise in interest in iGaming related searches. This is despite some of the top countries still having legislation that would prevent operators setting up in the country.
With Covid-19 causing global disruption to the sporting calendar, it is no wonder that alternative and new markets have cropped up. In the UK, we were so desperate to watch and place a bet on sport, thousands took to watching something as mundane as Marble Racing.
Despite being illegal to place bets on Sport (except for some horse racing) in Thailand, the country has seen a 25 points rise in searches related to Sports Betting in 2020 compared to the previous 4 years. It’s estimated around 57% of Thai people engage in some form of gambling, although of those surveyed, only 1.6% admitted to gambling online and out of those, only 16.7% bet on sports.
The football betting market however is worth around £4.3bn, but this figure is not exclusive to the much smaller share of online betting.
Columbia, a close second with a 21 points increase has seen a steady lift in interest since online gambling and sports betting was made legal in 2016.
The topic of online casinos is far reaching as it covers many niches and focuses on searches looking for an all-encompassing online casino, regardless of the country’s preferred game. The term is inclusive of Online Slots, Baccarat, Black Jack, Roulette and other traditional games.
As a trend comparison, it highlights progressive gaming attitudes looking to move online for what is likely a habitual routine of visiting legal or illegal physical stores.
Ukraine has seen the sharpest increase in “Online Casino” interest, up 31 points compared to the 4 year average. This is likely due the legislation passed earlier this year to make Online gambling, bookmaking and land-based casinos legal in the country.
According to iGamingbusiness.com:
“Under the last published version of the bill, approved by the Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy for its second reading, licence fees for online gambling were set at UAH30.7m (£906,000/€1.0m/$1.1m) and will be paid when a licence is renewed every five years. Bookmakers’ licence fees were set at UAH70.8m while a flat fee UAH121.6m was set for casinos located in hotels in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, with a UAH70.8m fee for casinos in hotels elsewhere.”
This could be a market to watch, and one that will only grow over the next few years.
In the UK, Online Poker is still seeing a 50% increase in searches compared to the same point in 2019 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. In April, the number of searches in the month exceeded 18,100 with normal levels being around 4,400 a month an unprecedented (sorry!) 410% increase.
Within our trends data analysis, the surge in UK interest has meant Online Poker has seen an increase of 36% against the 4 year average.
Across the world, Vietnam, Thailand and Switzerland have seen steadier increases in their interest in the activity. In Vietnam, for example, gambling is restricted but not completely outlawed, there are no ISP blocks on online poker in Vietnam, making it a growing favourite and they even have a number of professional poker players on the circuit.
Despite technically being illegal in Switzerland, the government hasn’t restricted access to online poker so essentially anyone with internet access is able to take part in online poker tournaments.
While it may be a very specific niche, we felt that online Bingo was worth exploring as it often makes up around 5% of a countries gambling revenue and is an import sub-niche that many countries have large search volumes, with keyword competition not being quite as prominent as the developed Sports Betting markets.
Argentina has seen a spike in “bingo” related interest this year, with a shift of 54 points against the last 4 years. The legalities of Online Gambling sit within the individual provinces across the country and with Buenos Aires being at the front of quite a few headlines relating to their “will they, won’t they” dance on granting licenses for operators within the country. This is similar in Chile, where in June a surprise bill, in response to Covid-19, allowed their struggling casino operators to create online platforms. With so much of the focus and media on this part of the world, it’s easy to see why three out of the top ten in this space are located in South America.
A generic term, that covers the whole industry, these trends could be used to understand interest in newly developing markets or understand developing discussions to make the practice legal within the country. It also shows where the market shows spikes in developed markets after stagnation.
Vietnam tops this list and highlights how this data is based on interest not rising sales. The country is building a steady increase in search interest based on the police arresting and investigating an online gambling ring. This appears to be becoming a regular news story in relation to the country’s online gambling, first reported in January then again in May. Ultimately, it’s probably not the spot to start planning a casino investment.
Canada (20 Points), South Africa (18 Points) and Cambodia (16 Points) however have all seen strong point increases against their 4 year average and news is a little more positive in relation to setting up a casino.
Thailand and Vietnam topped our list for search interest across all categories, but their legal stance on Online Gambling in general may present problems when looking to get something set-up. So our top 10 takes into account developing markets, that are currently legal, or at least in advanced discussions to make things legal, with the list as follows
|Country||Average 2020 Trend vs Last 4 Years|
Using and tracking a country’s search trends can provide useful market analysis when considering a launch in a new market. It’s clear that interest and additional searches don’t always translate into profit, but if you are trying to decide between two developing markets, both with newly approved Gaming Laws, then understanding and comparing rising search trends can help make a decision one way or the other.
To discuss any of the above in further detail, or to discuss our tried and tested approach to SEO for iGaming, get in touch with our senior team to book in a free 1-to-1 session.
We’d love to chat with you about your next project and goals, or simply share some additional insight into the industry and how we could potentially work together to drive growth.