Everyone has heard of Las Vegas. It’s home to the world’s biggest casinos.
If you're interested in gambling, you'll also know about Macau and Monaco – two of the biggest gambling destinations outside of the US.
But do you know the shakers and movers of the online gambling industry?
#1: The UK
The UK is home to many pioneers of the iGaming industry. Think of Microgaming – established in 1994; 888 Holdings launched in 1997, while Playtech was founded in 1999. All these companies call the UK home, or at least they did at the time of their launch.
Surprisingly, the UK didn’t establish online gambling laws until 2005. The new laws brought orderliness to the iGaming industry by creating a gambling regulator known as the Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The UKGC regulates online gambling companies that target customers in England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland. Companies based in the UK but with an aim of finding customers around the world need a second license from Malta, Alderney, Gibraltar or Isle of Man.
That being said, Britain’s biggest impact to the iGaming industry is trendsetting. It provides a benchmark of what countries need to do to run a successful online gambling industry. This applies to: Licensing Standards; Fees and Taxation; Service Standards; Regulatory Compliance; Data Protection; General Terms and Conditions.
The Netherlands and the US are examples of countries following in the footsteps of the UK. In the US, New Jersey’s online gambling laws, including taxation requirements, resemble those in Britain closely.
As mentioned, the best online betting sites in the Netherlands now have to apply for licensing from Kannspelautoriteit (KSA). Dutch authorities are learning from the UK by regulating iGaming instead of banning it entirely. Additionally, they’ve been cooperating with investors to encourage local investments in the iGaming sector.
In doing so, Holland is establishing itself as a future juggernaut in the online casino industry. It’s a highly developed country with over $17M citizens that have a disposable income. This makes it a prime target for casinos that want to expand around Europe.
Malta is the biggest hub for iGaming companies in Europe. Lots of countries that used to operate from Gibraltar and the Isle of Man have since moved to the island nation off the coast of Italy.
What does Malta offer the iGaming community? For starters, it has lax gambling laws, at least compared to the UK. Second, it has a huge network of skilled labour, more so, the kind of human resources online gambling investors look for.
The main reason online gambling companies love Malta, however, is because of its licensing requirements. You can acquire a comprehensive license that allows you to provide both sports betting and casino games on the same platform.
And that’s not all. Malta’s iGaming licenses allow companies to target nearly every country in the world. The only exception is where a country requires a local license. Otherwise, casinos licensed in Malta can operate throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Australia and South America.
What do NetEnt, Play’n GO, and Quickspin have in common? They call Sweden home. For the uninitiated, NetEnt is one of the top three biggest online software providers. With games like Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst and Mega Fortune, NetEnt is lauded for creating top of the line games.
On the flip side, Play’n GO is responsible for bringing us Book of Dead, Ghost of Dead, Cash Pump and Aztec Idols. Quickspin is a subsidiary of London-based Playtech, but it still operates from Sweden.
Besides software providers, Sweden is home to Trustly. This digital wallet isn’t like many of its peers. Trustly innovated the fast-growing Pay N’ Play technology, an innovation that allows casino players to gamble online without registering accounts.
Trustly handles the banking process, ensuring casinos receive your money. It also protects your data. What’s more, it gives you a unique ID for accessing your account every time you want to play.
A study by the BBC shows 80% of Australians have gambled in their lives. Although the study included land-based gambling spots, Aussies also gamble online. As a result, many iGaming companies love to target the country.
Unfortunately, Australia has strict online gambling laws than many countries. As such, a huge list of reputable online casinos tends to avoid the country. Still, to be clear, Australians have access to dozens of offshore casino sites.
With that in mind, Australia hosts Big Time Gaming (BTG), one of the fast-rising software providers in the industry. BTG launched in 2014 and went viral after releasing Bonanza, a slot with over 100,000 ways to win.
BTG calls its technology—Megaways. Basically, the innovation modifies slot reels so that every spin produces a unique combination of ways to win. Some Megaways slots have 500,000 ways to win but most of them have 116,649 ways.
Although BTG owns the copyrights for Megaways slots, it’s been selling to developers like NetEnt and Blueprint—both of which companies have unique Megaways slots.
#6: The US
The US is slowly falling in love with online gambling. In 2006, the industry was illegal following a law by the George Bush administration. In 2011, the Department of Justice gave states the go ahead to legalize online casinos.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia legalized online casinos. But they had to wait until 2018 for the Supreme Court to strike off PASPA Act of 1992. Since 2018, over 20 states have legalized sports betting, including online betting.
In all fairness, the US ranks behind the UK and many European countries in embracing iGaming. However, it’s gradually joining the community. The beauty of the US is that it’s home to all sorts of innovations.
It’s home to PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Google Pay and Apple Pay—leading payment methods for online casinos. It also hosts Scientific Games, IGT and Real Time Gaming, popular online software providers.
The online gambling industry is growing rapidly. It’s soaring because the world is increasingly creating legalization measures. However, the industry wouldn’t be where it’s today were it not for countries like the UK, Sweden, Malta, the US and Australia.
The countries pioneered many of the technologies used to run online casinos. Or, they were among the first countries to license and support iGaming businesses, a risky bet that ultimately paid off.