So what made the “Moneymaker Effect” possible…exactly?
To be sure, Chris Moneymaker's WSOP win wasn't the only thing to positively affect online gambling trends. A lot of other factors have influenced (and are still influencing) the proliferation of not just online poker, but online gambling in general. These include the public's access to and familiarity with internet technology, new approaches to online gambling laws, the emergence of new player groups and the intelligent marketing and integration of online betting, among others.
Online Gambling Growth by the Numbers
- Since 2003, annual online gambling growth has averaged 23%.
- In Europe, the number of women between the ages of 16 and 74 that bet on internet games has increased by more than 80%. For European men in the same age group the increase is 60%.
- 1% of the world's population participates in some form of gambling every year.
- In 2007, almost half of the U.S. population and more than two-thirds of Britain’s placed some type of gambling wager.
- The total combined value of the global offline and online gambling market was $335 billion in 2009, and is expected to reach almost $400 billion this year.
Online Gambling is Not a New Concept
Online Gambling Laws & Offshore Gambling Centers
Gambling “Branding” & The Emergence of New Types of Players
- New & Improved Games
Today's most popular forms of remote gambling are traditional casino games, wagering and poker variations. A recent article posted by Viaden Gaming put the market share of wagering at 37%, casino games at 22% and poker at 18%, with bingo, skill games and lotteries comprising the remaining 23% (see Chart 3). The uptick in online gambling has affected several offline gambles, most notably horse racing, but appears to benefit others, like lotteries and slots.
Slot machine developers have been quick to respond to this shift, and have done so by introducing games that satiate players' desire for speed, entertainment and interactivity. International Gaming Technology (IGT), one of the world's leading manufacturers of gaming machines, says its “Sex and the City” slot machine takes in as much as five times the earnings of the average slot machine. Launched in 2009, it depicts strappy shoes, diamonds and chocolates on its reels, and shows video clips during spins. IGT has plans for an “American Idol” slot machine wherein bettors view contestant performances while playing and vote on their favorite by pressing a button. Both of these games represent a shift towards what many are calling “community-based” slots that are designed to appeal to the facebook generation.
While the above are examples of live versus online slot machines, their introduction speaks to the changing nature of gambling and the public's relationship with it. Online gambling companies are taking note of this change. Playtech, a top software developer for gambling websites, launched a series of online slots based on iconic Marvel Comics characters like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. Their crisp graphics, pop culture themes and emphasis on player participation – they feature scatter cards and side games wherein player's make choices as to which animations appear – turned them into instant hits.
- New Player Groups
The shift in how gambling is packaged is closely related to another shift; namely, that of new and emerging player “groups” who, until recently, were a share of the global online gambling market that had yet to be tapped.
While early online gambling trends showed young men aged 25 to 35 to be the prototypical player, today's statistics suggest that online gambling is gaining traction among women and those over age sixty. In 2009, GP Bullhound predicted that women represented more than 40% of all global online players. After conducting their study, it turned out the research group was right. They found that a full 43% of online gamblers were women.
Additional studies have addressed the playing habits unique to age group and gender. Women, for example, typically play longer sessions at lower stakes, while men play more often and bet more, but for shorter intervals. Most women surveyed say they play for relaxation, while men say they play for excitement.
The rapidly increasing popularity of online bingo reflects both this change in online gambling demographics and the earlier mentioned demand for “social community.” The bigger the role women play in the growth of online gambling, the more varied the types of games the industry offers. As to which came first – female and older players or the targeting of these untapped markets – it's a question of the chicken or the egg.
Global Gambling Growth – Summary
About the Author
John has worked in the online gambling industry for over a decade. He has a vast amount of experience working for online casinos and takes a particular interest in the latest releases and innovations from developers. In his spare time he is a keen blackjack player and has been known to enter the occasional poker tournament.