It is a well-worn comparison of the current state of play across the United States and Canada as being akin to the California Gold Rush of 1849. It is also a very valid one, given the staggering numbers that continue to emerge from North America.
The US is the fastest-growing online gambling market in the world. As it stands, even at this early stage of state-by-state rollout of regulation, the US made up 10% of the world’s online gross gaming revenue in 2021, and the latest projection is that the overall online sports betting and gambling market in the country will be worth $24.1bn by 2026.
In Canada, meanwhile, the combined market for online sports betting and gaming is estimated to be over $2bn in 2022. This includes Ontario, a city touted to ultimately become one of the largest iGaming markets in North America, which is estimated to generate $2.54bn by 2026. So it is natural that we expect Canada to become a key focal point for our business.
Given the right partner, opportunities for those entering the iGaming market in North America are huge. As we see it, there are several important factors operators must focus on to hit the ground running: wealth of content; speed to market; localised products; a deep knowledge of player preferences; and effective marketing tools to attract and engage players.
When everyone is on board a speeding train of growth, operators unquestionably seek to streamline their time to market in an organised manner, with trusted professional suppliers that really know how to deliver and support iGaming content. Fast integration makes it a seamless process for operators to partner with an aggregation platform, but what really makes these partners stand out is the option to take some rather than all available content, making for a more targeted approach – depending on the size of the business and regions they want to operate in.
With each state and province so varied in terms of player preferences, it is vital that the games delivered fit local desires. While a buffalo-themed game appeals to players just about anywhere, players in New Jersey may not favour a UK-style pub fruit machine. Similarly, players in West Virginia might have little emotional connection to a branded game based on a soccer star. Providing an entertainment experience that tells a story is a key driver of entertaining players. They love to be immersed in other worlds, lands and stories, and we strongly believe working with data as well as partners to deliver games that resonate regionally will be a key differentiator.
When it comes to fast access to markets, an aggregator partnership is the most efficient and cost-effective route for all game studios. As an example, it has taken Pariplay almost 12 months to complete the process for our provisional iGaming supplier licensing in Michigan. That means a lot of time, labour hours and costs have been incurred simply to be approved, even before considering the technical set-up, game certifications and integrations with our customers. It’s a tremendous undertaking for any company large or small. For smaller studios, this arduous process could mean a consequential lack of focus on producing content or signing commercial deals. In the end, aggregators can be seen as providing the dreamers of gaming innovation with a realistic way to achieve their visions – at a mere fraction of what it takes to get in front of US gaming regulators and major operators.
The conclusion is that aggregators will play an essential role as US states and Canadian provinces continue to open up. We believe the right solution enables every stakeholder to win, with innovative content produced by the minds of thousands of talented members of the iGaming community, rather than just dozens. A plethora of choice and real creativity within products and engagement tools will benefit everyone, from operators through to players.