This Week's Top iGaming News, April 21, 2023

We cover the big, global iGaming news stories and present them in small, easily digestible snippets. Join WeAreGame as we check out the latest roundup.

Lottery Grows 86% in China

February 2023 saw a huge increase in lottery sales in China. Sales increased 25.8% compared to January, with a staggering rise of 86% from February last year. The total sales for February peaked at ¥41.81 billion ($6.08 billion).

The Welfare Lottery made ¥13.58 billion, rising 44.2% year on year, up 25.2% from January. Lottery sales comprised ¥7.65 billion of this, a rise of 46.9% from February 2022. Revenue from instant games totalled ¥3.60 billion, which was 32.3% more than last year. The Sports Lottery made significant improvements with revenue of ¥28.27 billion, an increase of 115.9% year on year. In a country with a current estimated population of 1.46 billion people, lotteries in China appear to be an ever-enticing prospect for businesses.

Big Growth in Ontario

It’s just over a year since Ontario became the first Canadian province with an open, regulated iGaming market on 4 April 2022. Although some operators struggled to establish themselves within the new regulations, the business has boomed, and the results of the first year are impressive. Over 1.6 million accounts have been registered for active players since the inception, with the average player spending about CAD $70 a month.

More than 40 operators are in the area and reaped the rewards, with around CAD $35.6 billion placed in total bets. The total gaming revenue accumulated was CAD $1.4 billion, easily positioning Ontario within the top five jurisdictions for iGaming in North America. A survey by Ipsos last month showed that over 83% of players played on regulated websites. Popular options, according to the survey, include sports betting on basketball, football, and hockey, with slots, live dealer table games and virtual table games also being popular. Doug Downey, Attorney General, said, "Ontario (is) a recognised leader internationally in this industry since its launch in April 2022."

Australia Reaches Top Tier Status in Social Casinos

Things are on the up Down Under, as Australia entered the top five markets of consumer spending in early 2022 in social casinos. Social casinos provide casino-style games with no actual prize money available to be won. Usually free to download, players buy in-game purchases instead of bets.

A recent report, ‘Snapshot of Social Casinos’, by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), found that the top five spots for social casinos were taken by the United States, China, Taiwan, Australia and Canada. Worldwide, it’s estimated that there are 85 million daily players with Australians spending about $302 million on mobile slot games in 2021. Growth also increased across Asia, especially in China, Japan, South Korea, and India, with India showing global growth of 188.7% year on year.

Change in the Philippines

Things are set to change in the Philippines this year with several changes already in the pipeline. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), is a government-owned corporation under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines and operates as an operator as well as a regulator of the country’s casinos. CEO  and Chairman Alejandro Tengco has recently stated that PAGCOR plans to focus on regulations to help build the country and avoid a conflict of interests. The state-run self-operated casinos will be privatised. Talks are currently in place with negotiations on ensuring fair treatment of employees.

Another goal of PAGCOR is to increase the country's wealth and economic stability. They hope to also achieve this by increasing revenue from the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs). Last month, Alejandro Tengco said, “We want to be a partner to address the needs of operators and give the gaming industry help to take Philippine gaming to greater heights to increase our commitment to nation-building. I ask you to join in this endeavour.”

Responsible Gaming in the US

Last September saw a move by several of the largest online gaming operators in the US to form a coalition with a look to formulating an agreement on responsible gaming standards, led by the industry. The three newest teams to join the alliance are PointsBet, Fanatics, and Hard Rock Digital. They join Bally’s, BetMGM, DraftKings, Entain, FanDuel, and MGM Resorts.

The united parties have established twelve principles for responsible gaming that are to be reviewed by an independent panel of experts. Each company has written a report on their practices and the twelve principles. New responsible gaming tools have been created and ambassadors appointed.

Keep in the Loop

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