Despite COVID-19 disrupting many businesses across a wide range of industries this year, one that has emerged relatively unscathed is iGaming. Whilst sports betting has declined due to events not taking place, online casinos have picked up the pieces and subsequently thrived.
Due to its increasing popularity and advances in mobile technology, iGaming is projected to be worth $160bn by 2026. Many countries have even started cashing in on this growing trend during the pandemic, including Belarus, who have just recently enacted legislation that makes operating online casinos in the country a perfectly legal practice.
Countries boasting favourable conditions for iGaming companies include Italy, India, USA, Philippines and Georgia, among others. But, what are the best countries in which to set up shop and run an iGaming business?
Top 5 Countries
The U.K. has been a large market for iGaming ever since the existence of online casinos, producing some of the most popular brands in the world such as William Hill, Paddy Power and Bet365. One factor that makes the U.K. an attractive proposition is the fact that online players do not have to pay tax on their winnings, making it a great market to operate in.
Although the country has famously stringent rules surrounding online gambling, which often subject operators to heavy fines for stepping out of line, this shouldn’t act as a deterrent to anyone considering starting an iGaming company on British shores. If anything, robust regulation ensures the quality of the companies operating out of the UK, and increases trust between companies and the public. Other factors, such as the talent pool, and digital infrastructure, should also be taken into consideration.
Canada is another great choice from where to operate an iGaming company as it is home to relatively lenient gambling laws, by comparison. Did you know that the country doesn’t actually issue any licenses for online gaming? Despite this, Canadian players are still free to use online casinos that are hosted abroad. This means that as a company, you can’t legally operate an online casino in Canada, but you can be based anywhere in the world and still have a fully-functioning product dedicated to the Canadian market.
The iGaming industry in Canada generates around $17.1bn per year in sales and this includes revenue from online casino favourites like blackjack, poker, roulette, slots and baccarat. Most recently, gaming became the largest contributor to Canada’s burgeoning entertainment sector, demonstrating its vast appeal to prospective operators.
Malta has remained a great choice for many iGaming companies over the past few years for a plethora of reasons. For one, it offers a robust regulatory system, to the benefit of iGaming companies. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) also offers initiatives that ensure Malta remains a competitive iGaming hub, building a reputation as a professional and well-respected jurisdiction.
Being one of the first early adopters in the European Union to regulate the industry has proven very advantageous and profitable for the Mediterranean island. Online casinos, such as Caxino, have been thriving, even in the midst of a pandemic, and are able to operate in markets such as Canada, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Japan. Amongst these benefits, iGaming companies in Malta pay a low tax rate of just 5%.
Sweden is another country that is home to many iGaming companies who are widely considered as pioneers in critical areas of game development, advanced payment systems and enhanced user experience. A case in point is Swedish online casinos adopting a BankID registration platform, meaning users can log in using their bank details. The less time users need to enter details, the more time they can enjoy online gaming!
The country also has one of the most sophisticated responsible gaming practices within the industry. Sweden’s government has created an online self-exclusion register called Spelpaus.se, where players can self-exclude from all online casinos. Lastly, players are not taxed on their winnings as this is picked up by the casinos themselves, who are subject to a levy of a 18% on all online gaming revenue.
Over the past few years, Germany has transformed into an up and coming market for iGaming, mostly due to the country’s changes, paired with current gambling trends. The nation has seen a major overhaul with regards to gambling regulations, and the new framework is expected to result in a rapid expansion of the market – thereby allowing online casino and poker to be run alongside another gaming vertical, sports betting.
Although the country’s regulations are strict, particularly around affiliate marketing, this should not be construed as a deterrent. Research has shown that Germany is still one of Europe’s most promising markets as it has grown by €300mm in the space of three years. This alone shows the huge potential waiting to be untapped.
There are endless opportunities presented by iGaming and the potential in the markets discussed shows great promise. A few things to consider when operating in foreign markets is to familiarise yourself with the culture, especially in regards to marketing. Does your message translate correctly, or is it offensive to the local market? In addition to this, it’s important to build a strong brand that your customers can connect and resonate with. Lastly, always follow legislation! You don’t want your dreams of opening an iGaming company to fall flat before you’ve even started.