Here's a statistic that might take you by surprise; 11% of all internet traffic in the world is now people playing online casino games. Take some time to really think about that. Slightly more than one in every ten people online, right now, is logged in to a virtual casino. That's a staggeringly huge number; especially considering that there are many countries in the world where gambling isn't legal, and access to such websites is restricted. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. Online gambling might just be the future of digital entertainment.
Ten years ago, online gambling barely existed at all beyond the confines of websites belonging to long established brands. Today, the industry is worth something in the region of $50bn, and increasing all the time. During a time of global stagnation and sluggish economic performance, its making more money year on year, with increased profit percentages that the traditional stocks and shares investment schemes could only dream of touching.

When there's an industry making that much money, there's someone at the top of the chain making more than most. In Great Britain, that would be Denise Coates. She's the CEO of Bet365, and she just became the highest earning CEO in the entire country. Not only that, she's officially the highest paid female executive in the world. With earnings of £265m last year, the best paid board room director in Britain isn't just female, she works in gambling. Not banking, or media, or financial services. Gambling. A complete economic revolution has been happening right underneath everybody's noses, and nobody's been paying attention.


Gambling has managed to make its money from something we'd like to call 'the Netflix effect'. Ten years ago, in most high streets in major cities, there were stores that allowed you to purchase or hire DVDs, or if you're a little older, VHS tapes. Those stores aren't there anymore. The internet happened, companies saw the opportunity to supply people with films another way, and Netflix rose up. The stores stuck holding physical copies went down. Gambling, as an industry, saw a new medium with which to approach potential customers, and jumped on it.

 Whilst there's always been money to be made in gambling, until the 21st Century, gambling companies relied on customers coming to them; people had to visit a casino or a bookmaker's in order to place a bet. Some people weren't comfortable doing that, and so they never came. When the proposition changed, and people were able to interact with gambling companies digitally from the comfort of their own homes, all the major firms leaped on board with the new opportunity and pursued new technology to its full advantage. Many gambling companies had official apps for tablets and smartphones well before some well established mail order companies had achieved the same feat. If people wanted to gamble through their phones, the industry was determined to help them do it. And, so they've profited.


At the same time this has been going on, traditional players of games, whether connected to gambling or not, have slowly been shifting from the console-and-TV- format to playing on their phones. 47% of all smartphone users in the UK use their mobiles to play games. To give you an idea of what a huge number that is, that's more than the percentage of people who use their phones to carry out online banking or read news. It's almost half of all the people who own a phone. People who, presumably, would potentially be interested in new games to play. It would appear that gambling companies have found them.

Onto that, you have to take into account the female factor. The idea that only men would be interested in gambling is a dead stereotype. We've already discussed the fact that the CEO of Bet365 is a woman. Women do like gambling, they've just never previously found a format that suits them. Around half of all gamblers in the UK are female. When surveyed in the past, they've stated that they feel more comfortable gambling at home, away from male players, and often on a smartphone. That's why intelligent websites like not only optimize their websites and games for the mobile format, they also tailor their aesthetic to attract female players. Log onto that website and you'll see games that appear softer, gentler and more cultured than some of the 'loud' titles you might see on a more traditional gambling site. Not only have gambling companies boosted their takings by finding a new audience online, they've also broadened it to better serve an entire gender.


Earlier on, we said that online gambling might just be the future of digital entertainment. This is why; it's an ever-more accessible format that allows you to win money by predicting the outcome of any event you're interested in. As betting has diversified, so have the things you can make a bet on. Want to try predicting the outcome of the big storyline in whatever soap you're watching? Put money on it. Think you know who the next leader of a political party is? Put money on it. Certain that your favourite band is going to have the #1 spot in the Christmas charts? Put money on it. People love to be right, and they love to be rewarded for being right. Because you can now bet on more or less anything, from anywhere, it's difficult to see how the gambling industry could do anything but continue to grow from where it is.

All the basic forms of gambling that traditionalists and the older generations enjoyed; roulette, cards, slot games and sports betting; are all still catered for. Nothing has been done to disrupt people's enjoyment of these games, or replace them. Successful companies have merely added more variants and greater personalization to their offerings, and seen their takings rise as a result. So long as this trend continues, so will their success. We may be heading to a future where nobody is seen to value their own opinion unless they've put their own hard cash on it.