Global gambling revenues climbed to more than US$452 billion in 2014, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2013, according to the latest edition of the Global Gambling Report. Asia remained the largest gambling region in the world last year, contributing almost 33 percent of global gambling revenues.
But year-on-year global growth in such activity is forecast to slow down to just 1.0 percent this year, “due to a predicted decline in Macau’s casino gross gaming yield (GGY)” and the fact that the performance of the sports betting sector in 2015 is up against a difficult comparison regarding 2014, when betting volumes globally were pushed up by soccer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, said the report from Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC).
Global gaming growth however would quickly climb to 4.1 percent in 2016 and reach US$525 billion by 2019, according to the report.
GBGC provides consultancy and market reports for the global gambling industry. The firm covers a spectrum of gambling activities – casino gaming, sports betting, gaming machines, bingo, and lotteries – in both their traditional, land-based forms and online/mobile versions.
GBGC said that in assessing the global gambling sector, it regarded the three markets of China, Macau and Hong Kong as a “key trio”. “Between them they amassed nearly US$80 billion in GGY from their various licensed gambling activities in 2014. This means they contributed around 18 percent of the GGY of the entire global gambling market,” said the report. “So the future fortunes of these markets will have an influence on the overall picture,” it added.
Within mainland China, licensed gambling activity is based on the welfare lottery and the sports lottery. Such sales reached RMB382.4 billion (US$61.5 billion) in 2014, up by 23.6 percent from the previous year, data from the country’s Ministry of Finance showed. Sports lottery ticket sales grew by 32.8 percent last year reaching RMB176.4 billion, fuelled by the FIFA World Cup.
“China’s two state lotteries have been growing strongly for several years but there are signs that 2015 could disrupt that pattern of strong growth,” said the report.
Sales via the Internet of lottery tickets have been halted in mainland China. The government has said it wants to impose stricter controls on such sales channels before sales resume, but has not mentioned a date for such resumption.
GBGC said it expects growth in mainland China’s lottery market to be “slower in 2015 as a result of this temporary suspension”. But it noted that Internet sales are expected to resume “in 2015”.
“Macau, too, will have a difficult 2015 because of Beijing’s ongoing purge of graft and corruption. VIPs have been staying away from the gaming tables and the casinos have suffered,” said the consultancy firm.
Macau government data published last week showed that accumulated casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first five months of 2015 stood 37.1 percent lower than in the same period in 2014.
According to the report, casinos remained the largest segment for global gambling activity in 2014, with a 29.2 percent share of the global market. Lotteries were in second place with a 29.1 percent share.
The global casino market – including Native American gaming – was worth US$156.69 billion in GGY in 2014, an increase of 0.3 percent over 2013, said the report. By 2019, GBGC forecasts that the global casino sector will be worth US$175.50 billion.
The report also indicated that Internet gambling accounted for 9.1 percent of global gambling GGY last year, “but is struggling to break past 10 percent”. Among the reasons is downward pressure on the online poker market, the fact that existing regulated markets are not growing and that the skill gaming sector is declining because of the trend for “social gaming”, said GBGC.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China