There once was a time, not all that long ago, when betting and gambling were almost considered underground pastimes...

It’s not that there was anything negative associated with the industry, it was just that it wasn’t something that was out there in the open with everyone taking part. Betting for the general public was for horse racing events and perhaps the World Cup, nothing more.


When the internet opened up the market to new demographics, the industry was still one that only really attracted diehard sports fans and people who were already into betting. Even the online poker boom of the mid-2000s did little to attract the average person to the betting industry.


But then came smartphones and unlimited access to the internet and, in the blink of an eye, everything we knew about the world of betting changed. Suddenly we had a situation where the vast majority of people on the planet now had mobile internet access at any time of the day or night, a scenario that catapulted many industries into the limelight.


Access For All Leads To A Shift In Attitude


Did you know that right now there are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world? More interesting though is the fact that games account for 33% of app downloads. Those are phenomenal statistics that go some way to explaining why there’s been a not-so-subtle shift in attitudes towards the betting world.


You see, these days, gamers are coming from all walks of life. From college students to old age pensioners, from the local hairdresser to the CEO of a multinational corporation; it seems that everyone is now open to the idea of playing games on their smartphone. So what has this to do with the betting industry? Two words — casino and poker.


A Hugely Competitive Market


The online poker industry was at the tail end of its original boom when smartphones came into existence. Just when poker and casino providers were starting to feel the pinch and wonder how they would attract new customers, along came the app store and a new segment of the industry was born. This led to huge investment in the mobile gaming industry which in turn resulted in a multitude of poker and casino options for the average smartphone user.


With so many providers now in the market, competition is fierce which can only be a good thing for customers. In fact, now’s the best time to be a new customer with online casinos offering free bonuses to anyone that signs up. This and the convenience with which you can now download and play from your phone has resulted in massive growth within the industry, as people from all walks of life take the chance to have a go at games that are usually restricted to the brick-and-mortar casino.


What About The United States?

The fact that individual states across the US have loosened their restrictions on gambling has led to a huge upsurge in interest in the betting industry. An already lucrative market now has the potential to become one of the most valuable in the sports and entertainment niches.


There are 18 states where betting is now legalised. These are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, Iowa, Oregon, Indiana, New Hampshire, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, and Colorado.


There are a further six states with legislation in the final stages, while another 24 states are working on passing bills to legalise sports betting in some shape or form. In fact, Idaho, Nebraska and Utah remain the only states which have yet to make a move or who are unlikely to do so in the future. It’s a significant shift for a nation that once prohibited betting pretty much everywhere and one that has had an extremely positive effect on both the local and global industries.


With the US now on board the sports betting bandwagon, it’s possible that other countries with strict betting laws will look to ease their restrictions. The fact is that betting brings in some serious tax revenue with New Jersey a prime example, raking in $36.5 million in taxes as a direct result of sports betting. And this is a significant revenue stream that overseas governments may look to cash in on in the near future.


What The Future Holds


It’s anyone’s guess what the future truly holds for any industry, but even the most pessimistic of analysts will admit that the future of the betting industry looks decidedly healthy. In 2018, the global gambling industry was worth an estimated $449.3 billion which is a staggering amount. However, by 2022 the industry is expected to be valued at around $565.4 billion. That’s a phenomenal increase of over $116 billion in just four years.


It’s interesting to note that while the general public’s shift in attitude towards betting has had a significant effect on the industry, it is perhaps the advances in technology that have had the most impact. As internet speeds increase and technology develops, consumers are now in a position to place bets or play cash games online at any time of the day or night and wherever they may be. Bookmakers have been quick to capitalise on this by offering in-game betting options that keep fans interacting with their app throughout the game. Push notifications telling consumers of the latest odds or announcing deals for bets within certain timeframes are now a common occurrence.


So it seems that the time has come for the betting industry to have its day in the sun or, to be more precise, their day on your smartphone screen. For an industry that was once suffering greatly, particularly in the US, many will feel that it’s about time things took a turn for the better. Will it last long? It’s hard to imagine that anything could stop the betting industry now. With its clean image and people enjoying being a part of the fun, it looks like the betting industry has finally gone mainstream and will remain so for a long time to come.