EGBA anticipates 2021 GGR rise against COVID headwinds

European gross gaming revenue is set to increase by 7.5% by the conclusion of the year, according to the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).

End-of-year-data published by the cointiential trade body in cooperation with H2 Gambling Capital estimates that GGR for the sector will stand at €87.2 billion, primarily driven by a 19% increase in the online market to €36.4 billion.

However, the industry continues to feel the impact of COVID-19 headwinds, with EGBA noting that the increase in online activity has not offset the significant hurdles posed to the retail sector, which has experienced a decline of 32% compared to 2019.

Although the land-based sector’s recovery will see its GGR improve by 0.4% this year to €50.8 billion, the implementation of widespread safety measures and lockdowns across the 27 EU member states and the UK has meant that total cross-sector GGR – when both retail and online are considered – has dropped by 13% on figures two years previously. 

Meanwhile, with regards to sports betting verticals, a notable trend has seen a sharp reduction in play betting among EGBA members, with pre-match wagering now accounting for 54% of the sector’s total GGR.

Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary General, said: “The growth trend of Europe’s online gambling market continues but there remains significant room for online development in markets, such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, where the online share of the total gambling market is still relatively low despite the online markets in these countries being relatively mature. 

“With continued online growth also comes the responsibility to ensure the online market is well-regulated and operators continue to utilisze the latest online technologies to promote a stronger culture of safer gambling.”

The betting industry can take some solace in Haijer’s comments moving into the new year, as the Secretary General’s observations are supported by figures showing that the online gambling industry has witnessed a significant uptake in GGR.

EGBA and H2 detailed that the industry can expect the online gambling market to continue growing, building on the accelerating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with online GGR expected to increase 9% year-on-year to reach 41% of the continent’s total gambling revenue by 2026 – a huge boost on the 26% share recorded in 2019.

A separate observed trend has seen escalating use of mobile devices such as phones and tablets as a means for punters to palace online bets – EGBA predicts that the 50.5% of Europe’s wagers will have been placed via these devices this year, an industry first, and anticipates this figure to grow to 61.5% by 2026.

Additional figures show that EGBA members now account for 36% of the European betting space with a total GGR of €10.9 billion, of which 45.9% is generated from sports betting, and with a total of 29 million online customers.

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