What the Future Holds for Online Gambling Stocks in 2019 and Beyond

This year, the US has been hit by sports betting fever. In May 2018 a Federal Judgement ruled that the current laws prohibiting online sports betting were unconstitutional, handing regulation to the individual states and effectively cutting the tape on the opening of a new market and for many it’s a move that was long overdue. Figures from the American Gambling Association suggest that $150 billion is bet illegally every year, with no legal recourse for users with complaints, and no taxes being funnelled back into the economy. 

Now that is all about to change. By October 2018, New Jersey had recorded more than $250 million in legal sports bets, Nevada more than twice that at $528 million. Legal sports betting is growing exponentially, with other states following the charge: Mississippi, Rhode Island, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico have all embraced the change so far. These huge figures are only the tip of the iceberg, with the steady growth set to continue. Many are predicting that the US online betting market could be a world leader by 2025 as the global industry continues to grow.

While this sounds like great news for those who like a flutter, it also creates fantastic opportunities for businesses and investors. Any company that can get in at the ground floor of the online boom, whether through building websites, licensing software, or offering betting services, is likely to find their popularity skyrocket. The US market grew 2% in the second quarter, largely due to increased investment in tech firms, and this looks likely to be just the start of an upwards trend.

Time for investors to get on board

So where will the online gambling market go next? With the demand for online sports betting still high, companies are scrambling to supply and while US companies are getting their acts together, several foreign business have thrown their hats into the ring. While North America has the fastest growing market, Europe still boasts the biggest, and the United Kingdom is a major contributing power. Remote gambling makes up 43% of the UK’s gaming revenue with players betting £5 billion a year – not bad for a country the size of New York state. Online gambling has been around in the UK for more than 20 years and could serve as a good forecaster for the US model.

As anyone who’s been watching gaming developments will attest, players have never had it so good in the UK. While there are still land-based casinos they can visit, the online gambling market presents so much choice in itself – with hundreds of operators vying for market share. This has driven up standards, and the games on offer today are more engaging and immersive than ever before. Visit what some people call the best online casino in the UK and you’ll likely be surprised at the level of quality on offer at casino sites these days if you’ve never played before.

Global deals and partnerships determining winners and losers

The major online gambling brands are perfectly placed to bring their expertise to the American market, and some have already struck deals and partnerships with US-based firms to provide the support and software necessary to bring online sports betting to the population. For example, one big player has already opened a sportsbook in New Jersey and signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with the New York Jets, signalling their intention to not only make an impact in the US, but make sure it is a long-lasting one.

It is fair to say that 2019 has not been kind to the UK market so far. A couple of major changes to the way the market is regulated have already been brought in. Companies will have to deal with a 6% hike in taxes on their profits, while also comping with the maximum bet limit on fixed-odds betting machines being lowered from £100 to just £2. Factor in the outlay that some companies have made in order to fund their expansion into US territory and it’s easy to see why this is the first year that UK gaming stocks have shown a dip. However, this is predicted to be a minor blip until the benefits of cashing in on the burgeoning US market start to payout. All in all, the UK gaming industry has proved a safe and stable place to invest, with steady rises in share values year on year.

Game developers and online casinos on the rise

So will the US market follow suit? All signs point to yes and now is definitely the time to buy stocks while companies are still at ground level. It’s not just the obvious names that are worth investing in, while some companies have developed their own software and hosting platforms, many others will be looking to existing tech and gaming companies to develop their US websites. For anyone looking to grab a share of the profits, it’s these companies that could prove a solid bet. 

Companies like International Game Technology which builds the platforms but don’t run the sportsbooks themselves are considered a solid investment with low risk because their involvement is strictly in the back office. Then there’s Bragg Gaming Group, which are looking to capitalise on that with their move into online gaming.

Simulations and projections can only take so much into account, but even the most conservative scenarios are showing that the US is on the verge of a market explosion where sports betting is concerned. With the US online gambling sector a constant source of debate at both federal and state level, there are many who are hoping that this is just the first law to be relaxed. If further concessions are made then the US might well see the decriminalisation of other online games such as poker, slots and bingo. 

However, it might take more than a few years to happen – due to one of the most vociferous opponents, Sheldon Adelson, is one of Trump’s biggest donors

Summary

The massive profits already shown by the online sports betting the market will pale into comparison if the entire spectrum of online casino games is opened to the online market, and then everyone who invested at the beginning will have to do nothing more than sit back and watch the profits roll in. The next few years are going to be an exciting time for companies and investors alike. With US markets set to follow the existing trajectory of those in Europe, and the UK especially, the risk and uncertainty of investing in online sports betting and gambling is far smaller than any emerging sector has ever seen.

WE SAID THIS: Online gambling is now an emerging sector

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