Online Gaming Generates More Than Hollywood

Believe it or not, in 2011 the online gaming industry generated more revenues than Hollywood studios. Despite prohibitions in many countries, including the US, the internet gambling industry took in $124 billion in 2011. Hollywood made movies grossed just under a mere $26 billion for the year. The information comes from Global Information Inc., which researched online gaming and gambling markets. Online gambling and betting are highly regulated in most of the world. The US bans online gambling outright and in Latin American online gambling is only legal in Argentina and Chile. In Europe regulations vary from country to country. Recently gaming giant IGT closed its European online poker operation because of regulations in some countries that prohibit cross border playing. IGT will continue to offer online bingo, slots and sports betting.

In the Asia-Pacific region online gambling is only legal in the Philippines. The online gaming ban in the US has sent players to offshore websites. The report revealed that only a single percentage of US residents gamble online while 50% play lottery games. In Canada the government is slowly allowing online gambling to generate new tax income and in South America online gambling increased in popularity. The South American market generated more than 100 billion Euros in 2011. According to several industry reports 2012 was the year when online gambling companies discovered the power of Facebook as a player acquisition tool.

PokerStars, now the leading poker site, expanded their operations into Spain in June 2012. Other leading poker companies include PartyPoker, iPoker, and Ongame which is owned by Bwin.party. Currently Bwin is considering a deal with social gaming giant Zynga. An increasing number of European countries have legalized online gaming. The UK was the first to legalize online gaming and has one of the most active markets in the world. According to some reports online bingo is the largest sector of the British internet gaming industry. In Germany online poker and casinos were legalized in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. Germany is expected to generate 2 billion Euros annually by 2015. In 2011 Norwegian and Swedish online gaming markets were dominated by state monopolies.

India has attracted the attention of the online gaming industry because of the nation’s fast growing economy, a large English speaking middle class and a well-established IT industry. The Chinese market remains undeveloped but gaming companies are paying attention to developments in the country.

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