Balkans Ripe for Online Casinos
With the uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the US online gambling laws, online casino operators are continuing to seek out new markets to move into. They need to expand into new markets in order to boost their stuttering revenue streams due to the current economic problems.
One such potential new market that has fallen under their gaze is the countries in South Eastern Europe that are in proximity to the Balkans. These include the old Yugoslavian provinces of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia and Montenegro which are now sovereign states in their own rights as well as Yugoslavia itself. It also includes nearby countries such as Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. These countries represent a huge market with a combined population of over 130 million inhabitants and a huge potential gambling market.
This area is seen as potentially lucrative as far as online gambling goes because there is a cultural background which favours gambling, especially sports betting. For these reasons, the several online casino operators see this area as an untapped resource for future revenue.
Last year’s estimates for the total amount of gross profits derived from gambling in the area is around $6 billion of which only a small fraction, $670 million came directly from online gambling. The potential for expansion is obvious and is certainly worth pursuing fro the big operators.
At present, the vast majority of gambling carried out in online casinos in this area is by foreign operated online casinos which are unlicensed and therefore causing havoc with the local law enforcement agencies in the respective countries. Turkey in particular is battling against the insurgence of several unlicensed operators illegally accepting bets from Turkish citizens. But with several of these countries currently applying for or having recently successfully achieved membership of the European Union, the current situation is set to favour the setting up and licensing of local online casino operators.
Current European Union trade provisions provide for more liberalised gambling laws which will favour the established online casino operators. This will inevitably produce a sharp growth in online gambler numbers in those Balkan states meaning an increase in revenue derived from online gambling at a time when most other businesses are suffering from the worldwide economic crisis.