At the end of August (2018) Portugal gambling regulator, the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), announced an astonishing increase in online gambling revenue. The SRIJ’s report confirmed that for the quarter ending June 30, the online casino sector recorded a year on year increase of €5.4m, to €16.8m. Of this revenue increase, slots were the biggest driver.
Why Did the Figures Increase?
The SRIJ attributes this huge growth to the FIFA World Cup in Russia. While the sporting event primarily led to an increase in sports betting revenue, as people wanted to put money down on the matches, other sectors such as slots, poker (including cash games and tournament games) saw a rise too.
Online casinos complement sports and sports betting quite nicely, which perhaps explains why many simultaneously played slots, not just making the most of offers on odds. Even tuned in sports fans may have turned to slots as something to do during half-time or even while they were waiting for matches. The Vegas games with William Hill appeal directly to football fans, such as games like 20P Shot with its football-themed symbols and country flags. The fact that this is a new slot released in time for the World Cup also added to the appeal.
Other available slot games like Amigo’s Gold, Egyptian Goddess, and Emperor’s Garden may not have that same football theme. However, they do transport players to new locations and feature new cultures and traditions. This plays up the international atmosphere of the World Cup, so these slots are able to transport players to new places even if they are unable to visit Russia (or the home nations of the participating teams) themselves.
Could We See A Similar Increase in Future?
With the FIFA World Cup 2018 now done and dusted and the next one four years away (Qatar 2022), it means that football fans won’t have such a reason to party for a little while yet. But that doesn’t mean that the online casino/football hype is going to fizzle out and there are other, albeit smaller opportunities for online casino providers to capitalise on the boredom/heightened interest of footie fans.
In Portugal specifically, Portugal is tipped for big things in the UEFA Nations League, even if superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo is being rested. Other teams set to take place in the tournament include Germany, Spain, England, and World Cup winners France. All of these countries have major online casino scenes, meaning there are solid foundations for providers to build on. Moreover, these teams also draw in fans from around the world, so there’s an opportunity to market to them too.
The World Cup may be over, but the news from the SRIJ is still worth keeping in mind. Although slots and football aren’t explicitly connected, it shows how the collective interest in a global event can impact the industry. It gives players (looking for themed bonuses and deals) and providers alike something to think about.