Why are bettors traveling to other countries for their online betting needs?

Why are bettors traveling to other countries for their online betting needs?

UK gambling firms have been warned to get their act together if they are to maintain their core customers in an ever-evolving market.
Betting online has never been easier in the UK.


Assuming you’re not living in the last century you’ve almost certainly got a smartphone to hand and a broadband connection on your computer.

Once Covid-19 subsides, Britain is set to roll out a new 5G network to further empower people’s connectivity. And with that comes even greater opportunities to bet online via a wide range of gambling sites and apps.

The Gambling Commission found over 37% of UK gambling activity now comes from remote betting – largely through online browsers or apps. Being able to bet without the need of a desktop computer or adhering to your nearest betting shop’s opening times has revolutionised gambling, be it in sportsbooks or online casinos.

Yet despite the boom in betting apps appearing on the domestic market over the past decade, warning signs are beginning to show for the UK gambling sector.

That is the warning from Zac Cohen, COO of Trulioo, which provides ID verification solutions to gambling operators across the world and who recently commissioned the Online Gaming and Account Opening Report 2020 to reveal 11% of UK/European customers have opened a US-based account. A further 17% are planning to open one.

“There is a massive opportunity for online gaming operators globally, and the timing is critical for them to gain market share.” 

“Many of today’s consumers have an international mindset and no longer feel restricted to the borders of a market or country as reported in the survey – 44% of online gamer respondents have created accounts on an online gaming site hosted outside their own country in the past two years.”


Remote Gambling's Progression


The gambling sector has boomed since online gaming and betting took off in the 2000s. Texas Hold’em was one of the most popular games downloaded within the first five hours of Apple launching its App Store.

Over the past decade, as smartphones spread across the population, mobile gaming app revenue worldwide leapt from $34.8bn in 2015 to a projected $74.6bn this year. Had the USA not banned online gambling in 2006, the global industry would almost certainly be far larger today.

With the accessibility of smartphones came a trigger for British gambling firms to perfect their products and launch innovative sportsbooks and casinos to a remote market. This is still happening today.


A Global Market

So why are gamblers seeking to bet abroad? Well, it’s not necessarily the ability to bet outside a country’s jurisdiction that is attracting players. Just as you can buy clothes from the other side of the world, have food delivered from an unlimited choice of restaurants and watch TV produced by foreign networks at the click of a button, choice in online betting is the driving factor.

“Generally speaking, online gamers are looking to engage with operators outside of their own country if they provide quicker, less intrusive opening processes and better security.” 

“Additionally, gamblers are always looking for new games of chance and new gaming experiences; the biggest factor for opening accounts outside of the country of residence is more choice of games (48%).”

Yet with this push for further choice comes an issue for the consumer.

“This desire for new gaming opportunities often overrules the desire for security or legality.”

“While players themselves rarely run into legal issues with offshore gaming, depending on the jurisdiction it can be unlawful or a grey area. If issues do arise, these players have little legal recourse.“

"Providing access to new games in a protected and secure environment is a better way for the industry to generate revenue while protecting interests.”


Gamblers Break Free From Geo-Blocks Do So At Their Own Cost.


This leads to the issues UK firms have on players creating offshore accounts. How easy it is to set up foreign betting profiles remains tricky to gauge. America’s online gambling industry is emerging at a state-by-state pace, with individual states providing their own jurisdiction on punter locations.

Yet the worry remains that the global industry is lagging behind technology, with many gamblers using VPNs to circumnavigate geo-blocking technologies.

And gamblers seem happy to do this despite the legal issues and lack of protection involved.

“While geo-blocking technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, there is a strong indication that gamblers are actively finding ways to bypass it to place bets on offshore sites.” 

“So far, VPNs seem to be the way that they’re attempting to circumvent geo-blocking technology, since they allow punters to get around and play in websites that they normally wouldn’t be allowed to access based on their local online gambling laws.

“It’s worth noting though that any time a punter goes with an offshore betting operation, they lose all legal recourse. While there are some offshore operators that are interested in building a long-term reputable brand, it's often not easy to distinguish the good operators from the bad. Without doing their own due diligence, which the average player does not want to do, it's safest for them to play within their own jurisdiction or play with larger, well-known gaming brands.”


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