What does 2023 have in store for global markets and growing active player numbers?


Andrew Foster, Chief Business Officer, Enteractive.

The past 12 months have been challenging for most economic sectors and the online gambling industry has not been spared. However, the operators and suppliers that kept a clear head focused on growth and innovation, and this attention to detail enabled them and the industry as a whole to continue growing in key markets.

In the first instance it’s important to remind ourselves of the positives, and the first and most obvious one has been the US market. The individual states that have regulated their respective online betting and casino sectors represent the largest and most promising market in the world for operators and suppliers.

The size and scale of the country is one its most striking features, but it’s also worth remembering that three of the largest four states in the country; California, Texas and Florida –  have yet to regulate sports betting, in either online or retail form (for at least the medium term, online casino regulation is very unlikely in those jurisdictions).    

The far-reaching regulatory wave of sports betting that has taken place in the US in the past two years – in total around 35 states have now regulated the vertical – is translating into a more consolidated space. 

Following the initial high profile and costly launches, operators are now focused on reducing costs, notably advertising and promotional expenses, as they envisage becoming profitable in the next 12-18 months. And Enteractive is happy to be helping some of them achieve that aim thanks to our cost-efficient player activation programmes and incentives.   

Across the Atlantic

In Europe it is impossible to look at our industry and not mention the regulatory pressures that have come to bear in many of the continent’s largest markets over the past 12 months.  

In the UK, the long-awaited publication of the government’s White Paper on gambling reform is expected (or hoped for) in the coming weeks. The standout factor in relation to the White Paper has been the cost of affordability checks (as well as other responsible gambling measures), which leading operators have baked into their calculations. 

  • There is no point trying to sugarcoat the fact that it has been a costly exercise for the likes of Flutter Entertainment, Entain or 888/William Hill and others, but it can be seen as part of a focus on developing sustainable revenues and increasing player safety levels. 
  • Again, Enteractive is working with some of those leading companies in activating players while always striving to ensure we adhere to the highest safety and social responsibility standards possible . 

Germany and the Netherlands have also regulated their respective online gaming sectors, with the latter in particular setting strict regulations for newly-licensed groups, but also offering a competitive environment in which operators can compete for players. 

  • In Germany there have been widespread complaints about cumbersome and difficult regulations for operators, notably when it comes to offering online casino products. 
  • But industry stakeholders have also made the point that the impasse, due to delays and divisive regulatory environment, that dominated much of the past decade is now largely over. 
  • In this new setting, operators should look at the regulations as the starting point of a new, collaborative environment with engaged regulators and lawmakers which will (in theory at least) offer opportunities for constructive dialogue enabling the legislative framework to evolve positively.   

South America has also been a hive of activity and even if Brazil’s legislative project may be on the backburner due to the recent presidential elections, there have been regulatory movements in Argentina, Peru, Chile and ongoing activity in Colombia and Mexico. 

Broader acceptance

Returning to Europe, it is clear that regulatory pressures in countries such as Spain and Italy, which have both implemented outright bans on gambling advertising, have increased across the board in recent years. This has resulted in rising costs for operators, but is also a sign that acceptance of the industry has also spread; and that is thanks in no small part to its broader regulation across many countries. 

On the B2B side, the industry’s focus on personalisation; of customer offers, recommendations and of course direct-to-consumer services will continue. For all these new technologies however, what we are seeing at Enteractive is that the way we optimise customer activation and  retention to reduce churn continues to grow as a strong revenue generator for operators that is less affected by changing regulations. Having direct conversations with operators’ registered customers to check how they’re doing is more in line with the strict RG and advertising rules.

That’s because we maximise relationships and personalisation features and prioritise responsible gambling and player safety as we activate players. In an environment where profitability and costs will be key focus areas for stakeholders, Enteractive continues to offer optimal ROI for operators in 2023.