The gambling industry, like many others, has not come out of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic unscathed. With casinos not being seen as an essential service, many were forced to close their doors for months on end. However, casinos are only one part of the industry and, with the rise of the online gambling market, many companies were able to continue business as usual. While the temporary pausing of major sports leagues across the world put a spanner in the works for the sports betting industry, dedicated gamblers found other things to bet on, ranging from the weather to COVID-19 statistics. Despite the pandemic, the global sports betting industry looks set to grow, with the legalization of sports betting in the United States being seen as a major step forward. This growth is predicted to be seen across the board as the digitalization of the gambling industry becomes more prevalent and laws continue to change to legalize online gambling across the globe.

Market size

Coronavirus pandemic causes dip in gambling market
Market size of the casino and online gambling industry worldwide from 2011 to 2020, with a forecast for 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars)

The market size of the casino and online gambling industry has remained stable over the past years. The largest drop in market size was seen during the coronavirus pandemic which caused global disruption to the gambling market and to casinos in particular. While casinos struggled, the online gambling market fared much better during the crisis. The growth of online gambling was already on the horizon but, given its resilience during the pandemic, is predicted to grow even further in the future.

Key industry data on the casino and online gambling industry
Number of gambling properties worldwide, by region
Sports betting in the U.S.

Market segments

Land-based vs. online gambling
Total number of open gambling properties worldwide in 2020, by property type

When it comes to brick-and-mortar gambling establishments, casinos are likely the most well-known type. However, gaming machine outlets, which can include bookmakers or even drinking establishments, are known to be the brick-and-mortar type with the most units worldwide. That being said, these days, many gamblers have taken their activities online. With segments like sports betting, poker, and even bingo being available to consumers from the comfort of their homes.

Sports betting

Industry trends

Smaller trends are also important to industry’s future
Total sports betting revenue in the United States from 2018 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)

The largest trends that are dominating the gambling industry are digitization and the coronavirus pandemic. While these will impact the industry as a whole for years to come, there are comparatively smaller trends that are also causing waves. One of these is the legalization of sports betting in the United States. Given the scope of the U.S. professional sports industry and the potential for a large new consumer-base, this looks to be a lucrative market in the future.

Global online gambling market size
Sports betting in the U.S.

Industry leaders

Casino companies are still on top, but for how long?
Leading gambling companies worldwide in 2021, by brand value (in billion U.S. dollars)

While the online market is growing at a speedy pace, the more traditional casino companies remain the leaders of the gambling industry. When it comes to brand value, casino and hotel company Wynn Resorts came first on the list, but digital-only companies like Bet365 also made the ranking. With the increasing digitization of all industries, it would come as no surprise to see more of these digital companies dominating the industry in years to come.

Leading casino companies worldwide, by revenue

Industry Definition

In its broadest definition, the gambling industry allows consumers to wager money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the main intent being to win money or material goods. Some sectors included in this industry are casinos, lotteries, online gambling, sports betting, and more. There are also other industries working in conjunction with the gambling industry, for example, hotels, and food and drink services. These individual sectors are all subject to different trends - one example that is relevant to them all is the rise of digitization and the online market. Trend topics can also be more specific, mobile gaming in the online gambling industry being one. The legalization of gambling in different areas is also subject to change and can cause growth in the market overnight. These trends, combined with the long-term impact of the coronavirus, are predicted to be key forces of change in the gambling industry.


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