Regulatory discussion and new measures to curb advertising for online gaming is a trend which is going nowhere in 2019. Belgium, Spain, Australia and notably Italy and the UK each introduced new rules on promoting gambling either online or on television.
The Italian blanket ban on betting and casino firms advertising their wares certainly set the tone but speculation continues that the restriction could yet be overturned. Political turmoil in the UK, driven by Brexit uncertainty, will play out in 2019 and a change of government could see further fresh measures to follow the ban on adverts appearing during live sports broadcasts.
The opposition Labour party has long pledged to prevent gambling firms from sponsoring football clubs for example.
The Opening Of The US
The repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was a game changer in the USA. Up to 30 states are expected to legalise sports betting by 2023 with Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia predicted to lead the way.
Firms like William Hill, FanDuel and Draftkings made early moves to capture newly freed up market share in New Jersey but who will jostle for position in the rest of the states and what will new regulation look like in each one? 2019 promises to give us a massive hint of how the American betting and casino sector will look like in the future.
2018 certainly saw consolidation and acquisitions among the market leaders. Notable moves last year included GVC snapping up Ladbrokes Coral and the Star Group purchasing Sky Betting & Gaming. 2019 begins with William Hill eyeing up MRG and rumours of a merger between Caesars and MGM.
The new year will inevitably see further deals concluded but, as with recent years, 2019 promises to be an eventful one for gambling and casino operators and punters alike.