According to the popular saying, you never meet a penniless bookmaker. You also never leave a casino richer than the person who owns the building. Although the very best professional gamblers are able to make millions of dollars per year from their chosen work, that’s still a drop in the ocean compared to the revenue made by the world’s leading casinos and casino companies.
Even with that in mind, there’s probably never been a better time to be involved in the casino business than right now. Laws are being relaxed in vital territories, and gambling games are more available to consumers – especially in the western world – than at any point in human history. Numerous companies and individuals who work in the gambling industry are posting record quarter after record quarter, but can the boom last forever?
Understanding The Factors
To answer that question, first we need to look at what’s driving the boom in the first place. There are two key factors behind that; availability, and changes in the law. We’ll deal with the ‘availability’ aspect first because that’s been around as a factor for longer. The simple fact is that more people have access to casino games than ever before because of the internet. There was a rise in the number of people who gamble regularly when casino games first became available online, and then a second jump when internet casino games became available on mobile phones.
The logic behind this isn’t hard to understand, and it’s visible everywhere. The most popular attractions at most casinos are the slot games. Making a digital slot game isn’t difficult if you understand the math behind the games, and online slots have been around since the early years of the 21st century. In more recent years, though, online slots have given way to mobile slots. People like the convenience of being able to play wherever and whenever they want, and casino games provide them with that convenience. So many people have engaged with the hobby this way that mobile slots are rapidly becoming more popular than any other method of playing.
The second factor, as we said earlier, is changes in the law – a factor that largely applies only to the United States of America. For many years, sports betting was banned in the majority of US states. Thanks to a ruling from the Supreme Court in 2018, that’s no longer the case. Ever since that ruling, we’ve seen a domino effect rolling out across the mainland of the United States as the practice is permitted and facilitated a state at a time. Every state which has allowed its residents to bet on sports has seen a significant windfall because of it, and each time that happens, it encourages another state to follow suit. Some respectable publications are even calling the rise of sports betting ‘the new gold rush.’
While the gold rush was a time of great excitement and great opportunity for those seeking to make money in America, it didn’t last forever. The gold rush ended. Will the same happen to this explosion in the popularity of gambling, and if so what’s likely to cause it?
The Specter Of Regulation
It will take some time for the novelty of sports betting to wear off for Americans. There are millions of people who are currently trying it for the first time, and millions more who are eagerly awaiting their opportunity to do so. If anything, sports betting is only going to become more popular in the next few years. Revenue for companies involved in that aspect of gambling is likely to go up, not down.
It’s also hard to see how internet-based gambling in general will becomes less popular. Accessibility is only going to improve, and leading online casinos are already experimenting with virtual reality in order to usher in a new era of gambling through the internet. Mobile slots are becoming more sophisticated all the time. So long as the products continue to improve, and availability moves with it, it’s hard to see why there would be a sudden reversal in the trend.
If gambling has an enemy, it’s regulation. There has never been any shortage of campaign groups opposed to gambling on moral and ethical grounds, and the more popular the pastime becomes, the louder they will be. Their central point will be the same as it always has been – wherever there’s gambling, there’s addiction. Wherever there’s addiction, there’s a call for greater prevention and control. If the number of gambling addicts increases exponentially, governments will be called upon to do something about the issue.
It should be noted that many gambling companies, both on and offline, already have provisions in place to prevent problem gambling from occurring. Anyone who has an issue can self-exclude at any time. Intelligent software picks up on irregular betting patterns and steps in if there’s a sign that someone may be betting too big, too often. In the UK, companies have even pledged a percentage of their profits to a scheme which will provide treatment for problem gamblers – although they’ve been accused of effectively offering the country’s government a bribe to look the other way by doing so.
Head vs. Heart
Taking into account all of the above, the question of whether the gambling boom is sustainable will likely be answered by how governments choose to respond to it. If left to its own devices, there’s no reason why the rapidly-growing bubble should begin to shrink. All the factors that are feeding its growth should continue to apply in the future – more availability, more accessibility, and more innovation.
The only thing capable of bursting the bubble would be regulation that impinges upon the business practices of the major brands, and that would come down to a case of head versus heart for the majority of lawmakers. Their heads would tell them that a healthy gambling industry makes them a lot of money. Their hearts might be led by a theoretical increase in the number of gambling addicts, and the problems those addicts bring. At that point, the industry’s own response to the issue may turn out to be the deciding factor.
If we assume a ‘hands-off’ approach from governments, then the answer to our initial question is yes. The gambling boom is sustainable, and it’s a great time to get involved with the industry.