Gambling is recession-proof with mobile betting to hit US$3.6bn

3 Dec 2008

In stark contrast to much of the entertainment and leisure sector, gambling via mobile phones will perform strongly in 2009.

A new report from Juniper found that total wagers on mobile phones are expected to more than double in 2009 to over US$3.6bn, whereas user spending on mobile TV and mobile games will be adversely impacted by the global economic downturn.

The report found that mobile betting will account for 75pc of all gambling on mobile handsets in 2008, with casino-type gambling forming the second-largest sector.

The UK alone will account for more than 30pc of bets placed in 2008, although this proportion will decline to just 8pc by 2013 due to increased deployment of services elsewhere.

Global gross win from mobile betting services is expected to exceed US$1bn annually by 2012.

“Gambling is essentially a recession-proof industry, as while there may be marginal reductions in the level of stakes among casual users, the overall appetite for gambling per se will be unaffected,” explained report author, Dr Windsor Holden.

“Furthermore, with the growing availability of betting services on-portal, the mobile is an increasingly convenient and user-friendly means of placing a bet.”

The Juniper report also noted that the overwhelming majority of leading European bookmakers now offered some form of betting service on the mobile, with several having partnered with leading network operators.

However, the report noted that regulatory restrictions remained a key impediment to mass adoption, even in countries where mobile betting services were permitted, and argued that national and state governments needed to implement a clear and transparent framework governing all forms of mobile gambling services for the benefit of both consumers and service providers.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years