LONDON, January 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Last December, I published predictions for the online gambling industry in 2011. Looking back, the results were strong which has encouraged me to offer the online gambling industry fresh prognostications for 2012.
1. AMERICA: Long before the US Department of Justice's admission that the Wire Act didn't extend beyond sports betting, I was on record as predicting no positive momentum for online gambling legislation at the federal level in 2012. Anyway, the recent DoJ announcement just underscores my long-held belief that it's the states that make the gambling decisions in the US.
I say it's 50/50 that there will be one more state doing remote gambling in 2012, and even that one state may only offer online purchases of lottery tickets. But while progress will be slow, this state-by-state process that started in late 2010 with remote sports betting in Nevada will continue to spread over the coming decade.
2. EUROPE: I don't expect much in the way of significant developments here. With faith in a common currency significantly shaken in 2011, the ongoing Balkanization of Europe's gambling markets will only accelerate. Overall, this is a stale and mature market with an economy that will remain shaky for a long time to come. The smart companies (smart enough to have steered clear of public markets and shareholder meetings) will be shifting their focus toward…
3. ...ASIA: This market is still in its infancy, yet it's already bigger than the rest of the world put together. Those who make a name in this region have yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure: public companies will not be among them.
4. LATIN AMERICA: The southern half of the western hemisphere will never rival Asia in terms of scale, but in gambling terms, it's largely virgin territory, and probably represents the second best market to target in 2012.
5. INDIA: A massive market that always seems to get overlooked for some unexplained reason. Someone will figure out how to crack this market one day, and when they do… cha-ching.
6. CONVERGENCE SWINGS BOTH WAYS: In 2011, the focus was on land-based casino companies getting their digital feet wet. Going forward, I can see at least one major online brand laying a brick and mortar foundation in 2012. Someone is going to crack the integration code, overcoming the challenges of combining online and land-based gambling into one symbiotic business model. It's my opinion that the guys best positioned to do this integration are the online companies that control their own technology and are not burdened by massive amounts of debt. Unlike online, land-based gaming is a natural fit for the public markets as you are subject to whatever regulations exist in the country in which you build, and you know you are never going to move a land-based casino.
7. MO' MOBILE, MO' OFTEN: patently obvious but mobile is still on a massive growth curve.
8. LIVE DEALER CASINO: Already massively popular in Asia, live dealer's appeal will spread to other markets and into other forms, such as bingo. The technology has matured, and bottom line, it's just more fun. Conversely, as live dealer casinos continue to excite, RNG casinos have grown stagnant due to a profound lack of innovation by the super-complacent companies that dominate this space. However, this stagnation means the road is wide open for some innovative company to make serious inroads.
9. SPORTS BETTING: The sector will continue to evolve slowly but vibrantly, with more betting types and increased integration with social media. Sports betting is the most complicated of all the channels and has the largest barriers to entry. This means that most of the innovation will come from existing industry players. Look for this to happen primarily in less regulated markets, though - as usual, player value is highest where the regulatory hurdles to experimentation and innovation are lowest.
10. BODOG RECREATIONAL POKER PLAYER MODEL: Though released in late 2011, its impact on the global online poker industry will remain the big poker story of 2012. I recently had a chat with Patrik Selin and Jonas Ödman, the two brains chiefly responsible for the rollout of the new 'controversial' Bodog Poker Model. These two have been developing this model for the past five or so years and the preliminary data they're crunching tells them their theories are correct. The remaining features of their model, complete with a number of player-suggested improvements, will roll out over the first quarter of 2012.
12. OTHER POKER MODELS: Subscription poker and free-play virtual chip models will continue to grow, but their ability to convert players into risking real money will remain a major question mark.
13. HORSE RACING: The sport of kings is far from dead, but unless someone can find a way to attract a younger demographic to the track (in person or online), the knackers will continue sharpening their knives. Horseracing would benefit from some celebrity jockeys and an infusion of pop culture. The stuffy old top hat thing needs to be replaced with a hipper scene.
15. THIS SITE ROCKS AND YOU KNOW IT: CalvinAyre.com will be formally recognized as the largest and most comprehensive site covering the global online gaming market, but then I would say that.
16. WHO REALLY KNOWS?: Right this second, there's some guy toiling away in obscurity on some project that will prove mind-blowingly good but which absolutely no one could have predicted (yet, like all truly great ideas, will seem completely obvious given the benefit of hindsight).
Full article can be found at CalvinAyre.com, the home of gaming news offering opinions, analysis and insight into newsworthy items affecting the industry globally.