Online gambling set to quadruple by 2020
26.04.2007 – Online gambling to date has netted 40 million users worldwide and looks set to quadruple by 2020, according to Irish research company iReach.
“The proliferation of new technologies has certainly helped shape a once embryonic marketplace with access to online gambling and gaming sites now aided through broadband internet, WAP technology and interactive television” said Ara Cho, business analyst with iReach.
In the UK alone, the gambling market is worth £50bn. Paddy Power is one of the largest betting agents in Ireland and has had an online presence since 1999. Its online services include traditional betting on sports but it also has a digital casino and poker site.
There are approximately 340,000 Irish users who gamble online and so revenues in Ireland can continue to increase. In Ireland companies such as Paddy Power have prospered and in 2006 the company’s turnover based on internet gambling increased by 44pc.
According to Section 33 of the Betting Act, 1931, it is illegal under Irish law for an Irish resident to place a bet with an agent operating outside the Irish State but this is nearly impossible to enforce and implement.
However, the Irish law relating to gambling both online and off is deliberately unclear as technically refusing to pay out on a bet is not enforceable, even moreso online as it is more difficult to track gamblings operations and their users.
The danger of online gambling is that addicts can get access anytime and anyplace. In Thailand online gambling has lead to many young people skipping sleep or college in favour of staying online. This has resulted in the Thai government placing a ban on online gaming between 10pm to 6am.
A recent survey in the UK of online gambling has warned that possibly one million people per year could become addicted because of the ease of gambling from their homes or on their
Juniper Research predicted that by 2011 revenue from mobile gambling will have exceeded that of profits from music downloads.
Neil Brennan of iReach said that 4.5pc of mobile users worldwide now use their phone to gamble. Although the market for mobile gambling in Ireland is not very large at the moment it will surely grow, with agents such as Paddy Power availing of java applets to allow users place bets from their phone.
By Marie Boran