Highlights And Top Events In The Gambling Industry In 2015
As we slowly say goodbye to 2015, it is time to remind ourselves of the most important events that occurred in the gambling industry and marked the year behind.
To say that 2015 was full of changes would be an understatement. While things changed globally, the gambling industry went through a lot of changes. In 2015 we saw a big number of gambling companies come together. The biggest two mergers are surely the ones between Paddy Power and Betfair, as well as Ladbrokes and Gala Coral.
While Macau’s land-based gambling is still in decline thanks to numerous affairs and new laws, online gambling has never been stronger. The number of best online gambling sites is increasing almost daily. Many predict that online gambling will surpass other types of gambling soon and while the overtake of the market is still in process, new casino openings are regularly announced.
In other land-based industry news, James Parker, the majority owner of Australia’s Crown Resorts, is planning to buy out Crown asset and therefore turn it into his private business. While it is still in progress, Parker also plans to open an extremely luxurious hotel and casino resort in Sydney, Barangaroo. Besides Sydney, Parker also plans to build a $4b casino in Las Vegas.
Speaking of new technologies, fantasy sports or esports have reached their peak in 2015. One of the biggest competitions were held in huge arenas. However, it is important to say that they might become even bigger and more popular in the years to come. Sadly, even this kind of gambling was marked by several scandals. The latest and biggest one was when the biggest fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings got banned in the USA.
That was just a short description of some of the most important events that occurred in the gambling world, but to understand them better we will have to explain them in detail. So stay with us for a detailed recap of the 2015 news in the gambling industry.
The Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and new technologies
New technologies have changed our perception of hobbies. Gaming is the most popular hobby nowadays and is growing all the time. This kind of sport is usually referred to as esports and fantasy sports. Gambling has also changed through fantasy sports as its main idea is that participants assemble their virtual teams and then, based on the stats, their game results will improve or not.
Playing daily fantasy sports has been a new trend which increased rapidly until this fall, when due to some new regulations it was banned in several US states. Two of the biggest fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings have been banned from the market. That was a huge hit on their business and for that reason they announced their withdrawl from the US market. Nonetheless, they are currently fighting to prove that they offer games of skill and have nothing to do with gambling, but it remains to be seen what the court will decide.
While the two giants are fighting for their rights, other DFS operators are using the current situation to overtake the throne. Despite the fact that Yahoo launched their first DFS game in July, they are now catching up with the FanDuel and DraftKings. While the future of the DFS games is still gloomy, esports will continue to spread across the world.
New technologies are not only advancing in terms of gaming industry. The gambling industry will face some changes as well. With the number of the online casinos growing it is sure that mobile gambling will gain popularity after most of the casinos develop their apps. Gambling will not only be available for the mobile phones and tablets, since iWatch is a new must have item. Some of the most popular gambling companies have already developed apps for the iWatch.
Mergers of the year: Paddy Power Betfair, Ladbrokes Gala Coral
The gambling market will see some big changes in 2016, as they have already started this year. In August 201, the two companies, Paddy Power and Betfair, announced their merger and in a way it signalized that the market would change. The two companies, which until the announcement were great rivals, will join their forces under the name Paddy Power Betfair plc. When it happens (for now it is assumed that the merger will be completed in the first quarter of the next year) it will become the leading international sports betting and online gambling company in the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and Australia.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) did an investigation and after the case was reviewed they gave a green light for the merger in November. After the finalization, Paddy Power shareholders will own 52% of the company while Betfair shareholders will get 48% of the issued share capital of €1.4b. Final agreements will precise the details, but the fact is that the new company, “Paddy Power Betfair Plc”, will become one of the world’s largest online betting and gaming companies.
Paddy Power and Betfair are not the only companies that will join hands. Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have decided to do the same. While they are still waiting for the approval by CMA, if the merger happens, it will take the throne as the best online gambling company in the UK. William Hill is still a leader on the market, but after the two companies join their forces the new giant will have around 4,000 shops and overall revenue of around €3bn.
Net Entertainment enters USA
The gambling industry in the UK is not the only that saw huge changes in 2015. The US giant NetEnt and Gamesys US signed an agreement, by which a range of online casino games developed by NetEnt will be available at Tropicana and casVirgin casinos in New Jersey. Gambling lovers will profit from this agreement as NetEnt is world-leading provider of premium online casino content.
While the UK and US gambling market is in expansion, Europe has another issue. A number of new laws which are harming the gambling industry are implemented in almost all countries. As a result, all big giants in the industry are leaving the European market. This year Ladbrokes, which many believe is the best online casino in Europe, has decided to leave Russia, Portugal, Romania and Finland.
Macau’s gambling still in decline
The year 2016 will be quite exciting thanks to a series of new casino resorts that are planned to be opened in a few months or by the end of the year. However, Macau is still dealing with its biggest profit slump. When Beijing declared a campaign to fight against corruption, Macau gambling industry took the biggest hit. Ever since then Macau has lost a notable number of high-rollers and has been stuck in over eighteen (18) consecutive months of gambling market’s collapse. What was one of the fastest growing industries in China is now in desperate need of help, which the Chinese government promised to provide.
Right after the government decided to help, shares started to jump and other companies such as Wynn Resorts announced new casino openings in Macau. Help, as stated, will come in all aspects, which hopefully means that plans for the expansion might get approved soon. These new openings will help not only the casino industry, but also tourism as Macau is also a large tourist and family destination center.
While at one hand the government is trying to make Macau the biggest gambling rival to Las Vegas, they have strongly decided to fight against crime. The balance must be found. Although the crisis hit the area and it seems that it will not end soon, new casino openings have not stopped. We have already said in the previous part that Crown has already opened their $4 worth Melco Crown City, but new openings are expected in the next year as well. Will the government initiative be enough to help Macau to overcome the crisis, the time will show.
New additions to land-based casino club
The fact that James Parker has decided to build a brand new, diamond-shaped hotel in Melbourne will help the fact that tourism in Australia is increasing. The new building will have a luxurious hotel, restaurants, shopping center and a lot more, and will be a great addition to the Crown Resorts. However, Parker will not stop there as he has decided to expand his asset to the American ground as well.
Las Vegas is already a well-known center of casino industry, but it seems it will get even more competitive as Parker is planning to build a brand new casino resort in the city. The resort is expected to be opened in 2018 but the images of the towers have already leaked into the public. There are two brand new towers, one of which is the VIP tower, while the other is named Resort Tower. Besides the casino, which will employ around 4500 staff, the towers will include hotel, restaurants, pools, night club and even a theater.
Parker’s assets are expanding all over the world. Just in October he opened the $4b Melco Crown City studio in Macau. The grand opening hosted one of the biggest stars of our time, Mariah Carey, but also actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Besides Melbourne, Parker also has plans for new casino center in Sydney and possibly Brisbane.
The casino industry is not only expanding in well-know gambling towns. You might be surprised to hear that in November a brand new casino opened its doors in Siberia. Yes, you have heard well. This is a project by the Russian government to help the tourism in this cold area. The first casino, Tigre de Cristal Casino, is the first of sixteen (16) casinos planned to be opened in this area. The whole project is worth well over €4.2 billion and the main goal is to become competitive on the map among gambling lovers across the world.
To sum up, we can say that 2015 was a turbulent year for the industry. Many countries are still imposing new laws to stop corruption and crime, but at the same time it is harming gambling. Not just gambling, as tourism is also in decline in those areas and thus the national GDP started to drop. What changes will the 2016 bring remains to be seen, but we can already predict that the gambling industry will continue to grow and expand.