What is iGaming? The Complete Guide to the Online Gambling Industry

what is igaming
Explore the iGaming industry, which includes online betting, casino games, and sports wagering, and its global impact. Uncover emerging trends, regulatory frameworks, and the future of this fast-growing sector.

What is iGaming?

iGaming encompasses a wide range of online betting activities, including online casino games like slots and live casino games, as well as digital lotteries, online poker, sports betting, and eSports. 

In other words, it refers to any form of wagering on future outcomes conducted over the internet.

Lately, the definition has been extended to all the new technologies that are starting to get more traction in the industry, like web3 betting, crypto lotteries and crypto casinos.

IGaming Definition

iGaming refers to any form of online betting that involves wagering on the outcome of a game or event, including sports betting, online casinos, poker, and eSports.

And What Is The Difference Between Gaming And IGaming?

iGaming is a term that includes many online activities that involve betting or gambling. It is quite wide so it’s easy to mix them up. 

iGaming includes sports betting, online casino games, and other skill-based games like poker or blackjack. In essence, iGaming refers to any form of wagering over the internet.

In contrast, Gaming refers to video games, gamification, and casual games that are not necessarily related to betting or gambling.

What are the different types of online gambling activities?

igaming activities
SOURCE: DALL-E / iGaming activities

The iGaming industry comprises various online gambling activities, including:

  1. Online Casinos: virtual casinos offer a wide range of classic and innovative casino games such as slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and more. These platforms allow unlimited access, as they are available 24/7 on desktop computers and mobile devices. 
  2. Sports Betting: Online sportsbooks allow users to place bets on various sports events, including football, basketball, tennis, and horse racing, among others. Live betting options also enable players to wager during the events themselves.
  3. Poker: Online poker rooms give players the opportunity to compete against others in various poker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud.
  4. Bingo: Digital bingo platforms provide users with an interactive and social gaming experience as they try to complete specific patterns on their cards before others do.
  5. Lotteries: Online lotteries allow participants to purchase tickets and participate in various lottery games, with the chance of winning life-changing jackpots.

Blockchain technologies and the iGaming industry

Known to be an industry that moves fast, iGaming has already incorporated blockchain technologies.

For example, recent trends include eSports, iLotteries, crypto casinos, and social casinos.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • eSports: In the realm of eSports, players and teams compete in popular video games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike. These online tournaments are accessible to spectators worldwide, offering them the chance to support and bet on their favorite teams and players.
  • iLotteries: Unlike traditional lotteries, iLotteries operate online only, enabling players to buy tickets and potentially win substantial prizes. These platforms often offer multiple payment options, including cryptocurrencies and NFTs in the case of more innovative crypto lotteries.
  • Crypto Casinos: Crypto casinos represent an innovative branch of online casinos that accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin as a form of payment. These casinos offer a similar range of games to traditional online casinos but with the added benefit of the use of blockchain technology.
  • Social Casinos: a unique fusion of social networking and online gambling. They offer free-to-play versions of popular casino games like slots, poker, and blackjack on social media platforms. While these games do not provide monetary winnings, they reward players with in-game benefits, enhancing the social aspect of gaming. This category is particularly appealing to those who enjoy the thrill of gambling games but don’t want to risk real money.

 

iGaming Industry Overview

what is igaming industry
SOURCE: DALL-E / iGaming Industry Overview

The iGaming market is a global industry, estimated to be worth a staggering $300 billion annually, taking into account all markets.

The digital gambling realm is in a phase of rapid expansion, driven by a concoction of factors. Increased smartphone adoption, advancements in internet technology, a rise in individual disposable income, and the significant efforts of online gambling software vendors.

Though Europe held the market reins until 2015, the recent approval of iGaming regulations in some US states and Latin American countries has altered the conventional landscape.

Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific is showing remarkable growth as well. The region’s market will flourish due to increased internet services usage, liberalising online betting and gambling rules, and the growing popularity of digital currencies like Bitcoin for betting.

Consequently, experts agree that Asia-Pacific’s economic growth and increased leisure activity spending will stimulate market expansion. To put things in perspective, just a year ago in 2022, the industry was worth about $100B less than it is now.

Regulated markets

The iGaming market is a global industry, with companies operating in different regions, each with its unique set of regulations and legal frameworks.

As mentioned, Europe is home to some of the largest and most established iGaming markets, with countries like the United Kingdom, Malta, and Sweden leading the way in terms of regulation and innovation.

Meanwhile, the United States is experiencing rapid growth in the iGaming sector, as more states legalize online gambling and sports betting. On top of that, with the launch of the Canadian market, the figure is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, and Africa also present significant opportunities for iGaming companies, as these regions continue to develop their regulatory frameworks and embrace the potential of online gambling.

European regulated markets and iGaming authorities

Here’s a list of European countries that have regulated online gambling markets, along with the year online gambling was legalised and the name of the authority that oversees the regulation:

CountryYear of LegalisationAuthority
United Kingdom2005UK Gambling Commission
Italy2006Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM)
France2010Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL)
Belgium2011Belgian Gaming Commission
Spain2011Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ)
Denmark2012Spillemyndigheden
Portugal2015Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ)
Sweden2019Spelinspektionen
Germany2021Each of the 16 federal states has its own gambling authority
Netherlands2021Kansspelautoriteit

US Regulated Markets And IGaming Authorities

Here’s a list of U.S. states that have regulated online gambling markets, along with the year online gambling was legalised and the name of the authority overseeing the regulation.

These authorities also provide more in-depth resources for anyone interested in delving deeper into the specifics of the regulatory framework in each state.

Other US States are considering the legalisation of the iGaming industry, as of the time of writing in May 2023. These are Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts and North Carolina. 

Canadian Regulated Market

Until 1969, all forms of gambling were illegal in Canada. But that year, a pivotal shift occurred. The government legalised lotteries, primarily to gather funds for various charitable causes. This marked Canada’s first step towards accepting gambling as a lawful activity.

Today, Canada’s online betting landscape is a complex mixture of provincial and national laws. The 2021’s Bill C-218 legalised single-event sports betting across the country. Still, each province holds the power to regulate online casinos, usually through their own lottery corporations.

Offshore online betting platforms, while not explicitly illegal, operate in a grey area.

In April 2022, Ontario authorities broadened their online gambling regulations, allowing residents greater access. As per the laws, individuals must be at least 19 years old to participate in gambling activities. 

ProvinceYear of LegalisationAuthority
Ontario2022AGCO

Latin America Regulated Market

Within the iGaming industry, Latin America (usually referred to as LatAm) is a region on the rise. Yet, a clear, unified rulebook is missing.

Each country sets its own rules, creating a patchwork of laws that range from total bans to fully regulated markets. This has spawned grey markets, areas where online gambling exists in a legal limbo.

Players in these grey markets can end up with dodgy operators, risking both money and privacy. Semi-regulated markets aren’t much better. They’re a minefield for operators who face reputational risks and regulatory challenges.

According to Statista, experts predict the online gambling market in Latin America to reach a whopping 3.4bn USD by 2025

IGaming Companies: Who They Are And Where They Operate

igaming companies
SOURCE: DALL-E / iGaming Companies

iGaming companies are diverse and play various roles within the online gambling ecosystem.

From software development to platform management and market analysis, these businesses contribute to the rapidly growing iGaming industry.

In this section, we will explore different types of iGaming companies, their functions, and the global landscape in which they operate.

Software Providers

Software providers are essential players in the iGaming industry, responsible for developing and supplying the games and systems that power online gambling platforms.

These companies create a wide range of casino games, including slots, table games, and live dealer experiences.

These companies typically operate across multiple jurisdictions, partnering with licensed online casinos and sportsbooks to offer their products to a global audience.

Some of the top iGaming software providers are: 

  • Microgaming: A titan in the industry, they’ve earned a reputation for creating innovative, high-quality online casino games.
  • NetEnt: Known for their range of popular slot machines, Swedish company acquired by Evolution in 2020. 
  • Playtech: Providers of a wide range of games, they’re particularly praised for their top-tier online slots.
  • Evolution: Champions in live dealer games, they’ve revolutionized the iGaming industry with real-time, interactive experiences.

iGaming Platforms

iGaming platform providers offer comprehensive solutions that enable operators to manage their online gambling businesses effectively. These platforms often include a suite of services, such as player account management, payment processing, customer support, and marketing tools.

They typically operate across a multitude of markets, collaborating with both software providers and operators to deliver their services to a worldwide clientele.

Some of the top iGaming platform providers include:

EveryMatrix: A powerhouse in the industry, they’re known for their flexible and adaptable solutions that cater to a diverse range of iGaming businesses.

SoftSwiss: Renowned for their secure and reliable platforms, they’ve gained a reputation as a trusted partner for operators in the online gambling space.

White Hat Gaming: Offering a full-service platform, they’re lauded for their comprehensive suite of tools that allow operators to manage their businesses efficiently.

Pragmatic Solutions: With a strong emphasis on innovation and scalability, they’ve become a leading choice for operators looking to grow their online presence.

BetConstruct: Known for their powerful and customizable platforms, they’ve made a significant impact in helping operators tailor their services to meet the unique needs of their customers.

Operators

Operators are the companies that run online casinos, sportsbooks, and other gambling platforms, providing players with a wide range of gaming and betting options. They are responsible for ensuring seamless user experiences and maintaining the integrity of their platforms.

These operators function in numerous markets, partnering with software providers and platform providers to deliver their services to a global customer base.

Some of the leading iGaming operators include:

Bet365: A dominant force in the industry, they are renowned for their comprehensive sports betting options and top-quality casino games.

William Hill: Known for their robust betting markets and extensive casino offerings, they’ve set high standards for the iGaming industry.

LeoVegas: With a strong focus on mobile gaming, they have excelled in offering a superior on-the-go gaming experience.

Unibet: Offering a broad range of betting and gaming options, they’ve gained recognition for their user-friendly platforms.

Affiliates

Affiliates play a crucial role in promoting and driving traffic to iGaming operators, typically earning a commission for their efforts. They use various marketing strategies, including SEO, content marketing, and social media promotion, to reach potential players.

Affiliates usually function across numerous markets, collaborating with operators and other industry stakeholders to increase the visibility of their brands and offerings.

Some prominent iGaming affiliates include:

AskGamblers: A trusted source of online casino reviews, they’ve become a go-to platform for players looking for reliable iGaming information.

CasinoAffiliatePrograms: Known for their comprehensive coverage of the iGaming industry, they have a strong influence on directing traffic to various operators.

AffiliateINSIDER: With a focus on providing up-to-date industry news and insights, they’ve become a key player in attracting new players to operators.

Gambling.com: Offering detailed reviews and comparisons of online casinos, they’ve contributed significantly to the decision-making process of numerous players.

Emerging Trends and Technologies in iGaming

emerging trends and technologies in igaming
SOURCE: Craiyon / Emerging trends and technologies in iGaming

The iGaming industry is continuously evolving, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer preferences, and innovative approaches to online gambling. As the industry grows, it embraces new trends and developments that shape the future of iGaming.

Let’s see which are the latest trends in this fast-evolving industry:

  • Mobile Gaming: Increasing focus on optimizing iGaming experiences for smartphones and tablets to ensure seamless gaming across all platforms.
  • Live Dealer Games: Enhanced streaming technology and internet speeds, leading to more immersive live dealer experiences in online casinos.
  • Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain: Adoption of cryptocurrencies for increased privacy, faster transactions, and lower fees; blockchain technology for improved transparency, security, and fairness.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): Implementation of VR and AR technologies for more immersive and interactive iGaming experiences.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Use of AI for personalized gaming experiences, enhanced customer support, and detecting and preventing problem gambling behaviors.
  • Regulation and Compliance: Ongoing changes in iGaming regulations, with operators adapting to new laws and guidelines in different jurisdictions.
  • Social iGaming: Growth of social gambling platforms that combine gaming and social interaction, appealing to a broader audience and fostering online communities.
  • eSports Betting: Expansion of betting opportunities in the fast-growing eSports industry, attracting new demographics to iGaming platforms.
  • Skill-Based Games: Introduction of skill-based elements in iGaming, bridging the gap between traditional gambling and video gaming experiences.
  • Responsible Gaming Initiatives: Continued emphasis on responsible gaming practices, with operators offering more tools and resources to help players gamble responsibly.

The Future of iGaming

The iGaming industry continues to grow and evolve, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences. As virtual reality, blockchain, and artificial intelligence become more prevalent, we can expect even more immersive and innovative gaming experiences. As iGaming gains traction globally, it will continue to shape the future of the gambling industry, providing players with endless entertainment opportunities at their fingertips.

iGaming Industry FAQs

iGaming refers to any form of online betting or wagering on the outcome of a game or event. It includes activities such as sports betting, online casinos, poker, and eSports.

The legality of iGaming depends on the jurisdiction. In some countries, it is legal and regulated, while in others, it is prohibited or operates in a legal gray area.

iGaming is legal in many countries, including the United Kingdom, parts of the European Union, some states in the United States, and Canada. However, regulations and legality vary by country or jurisdiction.

iGaming companies are businesses involved in the online gambling industry. They include software providers, platform providers, operators, and affiliates, among others.

A gaming operator is a company that runs online gambling platforms, such as casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites. They provide players with gaming and betting options and ensure compliance with local regulations.

Gaming refers to video games, gamification, and casual games, while iGaming involves online gambling activities like betting on sports, casino games, and poker.

Types of gaming include video games, casual games, mobile games, virtual reality (VR) games, augmented reality (AR) games, and social games, among others.

  1. Gaming includes playing video games, casual games, and other interactive entertainment experiences that do not necessarily involve betting or gambling.

 
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Elly Smith

Elly Smith

Elly Smith is a journalist working full time for iGamingTrends.com. She is passionate about covering trends and new tech the iGaming industry.