The internet has been around for less than thirty years. By comparison, casinos have been around for hundreds of years.
Yet, most people nowadays play at a casino online. So, exactly how are online betting sites overtaking and pushing the classic, established gambling locales down to second place? And should we be worried about it?
Land-based vs online – the numbers
The first thing to discuss is the numbers. They provide some context for this topic. They’ll also make the existing disparity between land-based casinos and online ones more visible and show how each stacks up against the other.
Globally, the online gambling sector was worth 58.9 billion USD in 2019. In 2020, despite the economic downturn and other factors, it rose to 66.7 billion USD.
In 2021, according to projections, it will be worth approximately 75.2 billion USD. And by 2025, it is expected to nearly double its 2019 value and cross 100 billion USD.
Clearly, this is a sector that still has incredible potential for growth.
By contrast, the physical gambling sector was worth 202.9 billion USD in 2019 and a decade-low of 160.1 billion in 2020. Projections for 2021 assume approximately 190.8 billion or so.
It’s clear that both investors and players alike see more potential in the online stage. The growth of physical casinos, external factors notwithstanding, have stagnated while the online sector is growing at a steady pace.
Online casinos have more convenience and accessibility
In the US, a country famous for global gambling hubs like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, only about 33% of the population lives within a few minutes’ driving distance of a casino. And the majority of those do not actually live near casinos, but rather smaller establishments like poker dens with a few slot machines.
When the rest of the world is factored in, a very small population has access to physical gambling establishments. The rest have to travel a long distance to go to a casino. Some of them might have to travel hundreds of kilometers or across international borders.
Traveling like this regularly is expensive. By contrast, access to an online casino comes along with one’s internet bills. No time is wasted on the road and money is preserved to be used for gaming later on.
People with mobility issues or limited traveling opportunities also prefer online casinos. Ultimately, it is safer, easier, and more economical to play from home.