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Leading European online casino operators showing increased interest in international markets 14/04/21
• The past 12 months that have seen everyone focused on cyberspace

The growth of online casino gaming as an international phenomenon is well-known and understood. It has been brought about by a number of factors all arriving at the same time to present a perfect storm. Advances in web-based and mobile tech have coincided with changing attitudes that no longer see gambling as some morally corrupt pastime. Then there are the very specific circumstances of the past 12 months that have seen everyone spending more time focused on cyberspace for their entertainment in the absence of other choices.

All these things have been discussed at length elsewhere, but what might be less obvious is the specific new markets that are opening up and attracting the attention of the major European operators. Here, we will look at three very different hotspots. One is in Asia and another in Latin America. The third is an emerging market that is right here on our doorstep in Europe.

Brazil – the largest market in the world?

The internet has been around for two decades now, but the process of digital transformation is still one that is ongoing. Brazil is in a position of having a progressive government presiding over a vast population of digitally savvy millennials. The nation boasts one of the highest rates of social media penetration in the world. National boundaries are all but irrelevant in the new digital economy, and instead of fighting against it, Brazil’s lawmakers are cognisant of this fact and see an opportunity to produce the optimum regulatory framework, learning from the experiences of others like Malta that have gone down the same road.

Industry expert Miguel Quesada has discussed the “rule of one” whereby processes are streamlined such that gambling is managed as a nationwide jurisdiction under one regulatory body that issues a single license for all varieties of gambling and where revenue is taxed under one model.

The idea is to facilitate instead of putting up roadworks. One way is by making it easier for established operators to access the Brazil market, by using their existing compliance infrastructures. It means instant access in more ways than one – customers can start playing the games they love, and tax revenue will immediately begin to flow.

India – new games for a new market

On the face of it, online gambling in India looks like it could not be more different to the approach advocated in Brazil. Regulation has been decentralized, a little like the situation with sports betting in the USA, and it has led to some confusion. As things stand today, gambling is legal in the states of Goa, Sikkim and Daman, but only in specialized establishments. However, only two states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, actively prohibit online gambling.

For the rest, online casinos lie in an unregulated zone, and offshore operators are neither outlawed nor encouraged. On the one hand, this makes it a grey area that carries a degree of risk. After all, regulations could change, and furthermore, surveys conducted by have found that wherever they are in the world, online casino players place legality in the top five reasons for choosing a specific casino operator.

Nevertheless, India represents an immense market, and like Brazil, there is a large demographic of technologically savvy millennials. For operators like Betway and Casumo, that is too tantalizing an opportunity to ignore, and both have recently added Indian pages to target this market specifically.

Meanwhile, Ezugi, which is a subsidiary of Sweden-based Evolution Gaming Group, has gone a step further with the launch of Over-The-Table (OTT) Andar Bahar. It is an established favourite among Indian casino goers, but this is the first time anyone has brought it into cyberspace. The game is presented live from the opulent setting of the Marina Casino in Colombo, and will undoubtedly garner a whole new audience of curious casino gamers from elsewhere who are eager to experience something a little different.

The Netherlands – regulation brings opportunity

At the beginning of April, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the regulatory body for gambling in the Netherlands, started processing licensing applications in preparation for the official opening of its regulated market on 01 October. It is another market that is expanding dramatically, and research shows that online gambling grew by more than 150 percent between 2015 2019.

Naturally, the major European operators are hurrying to get their applications in so that they can access a market worth around €3 billion per year and rising. Of course, for many, the market is a familiar one. Till now, Holland Casino has held a monopoly when it comes to gambling, whether it is online or in land-based facilities, at least officially. However, many international operators have unofficially encouraged players by offering their sites in the Dutch language. Over recent years, the KSA has cracked down on this, fining some major providers. It has also confirmed that those who have transgressed in the past will be sent to the back of the queue when if they apply for a license.

A world of opportunity

Brazil, India and The Netherlands are just three examples of nations that can present incredible opportunities for casino operators that are agile and responsive. Others we could easily include in this bracket include Colombia and Nigeria. The example of the Netherlands also goes to show that playing by the rules brings its rewards in the end, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time.