Growing smartphone ownership and a change in perception of gambling fuelled a 50% increase in mobile wager revenues in the UK in 2010, research firm IHS Screen Digest claims.
The firm reveals that income from mobile gambling grew from £19 million (€21.1 million) in 2009 to £41 million in 2010, as the number of consumers engaging in remote wagers hit 13.7% in the final quarter of the year. Much of the growth appears to stem from a change in perception of gambling as a whole, and glitzy ad campaigns by mobile bookmakers.
“During the past 12 months there has been a rapid increase in advertising spending from mobile gambling operators and other wagering operations,” senior analyst and head of mobile Ronan De Renesse states. “Partly because of this, the opinion of gambling has changed in the country…betting has crafted itself into a respectable enterprise.”
The firm cites gambling conglomerate Rank Group’s Blue Square subsidiary as an example, noting the firm gleaned 20% of its 2010 revenues from mobile gambling – some 300% more than in 2009. It says growing smartphone adoption is playing a role in boosting m-gambling revenues, noting that the devices offer the same quality of experience as regular online betting.
Mobile operators will cash in on the growth through increased ARPU. IHS Screen Digest predicts the average revenue of an m-gambler to increase by 10% to 20% within two years. However, operators are unlikely to become billing centers for mobile gambling, with the bulk of bets placed via online payment accounts including Amazon and PayPal, or e-wallets.