Innovation Helps Sports Betting Through The Recession
A combination of innovation, new technology, and regulation has helped the sports betting sector weather the recession of the last few years more successfully than some of its gaming counterparts.

Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC), the specialist gambling consultancy, has undertaken research into the performance of different gambling sectors compared to countries’ GDP performance and disposable income. Its findings conclude that some areas of the gambling industry have managed to survive betting during the downturn than others.
Sports betting, in particular, has been helped over the last three years by a number of factors that have seen it outperform the economic cycle in a number of markets. 

GBGC’s Warwick Bartlett explained, “Regardless of the wider economy, the sports betting sector can always rely on a regular timetable of high profile events to capture bettors’ interest. 2008 saw the inaugural Indian Premier League T20 cricket, which has quickly established itself, and in 2010 there was the football World Cup in South Africa, as well as the usual programme of domestic football leagues, tennis tournaments, and NFL season.”
“This calendar of sports events has combined with innovation in the in-play betting technology and smartphone betting applications to increase sports betting’ excitement and appeal to customers exactly at a time when consumers might have considered reducing their entertainment spending.” 
New regulation that has been passed in countries like Italy and France over the last few years has permitted new forms of sports betting, particularly Internet betting, and is another reason why sports betting has been able to fare better than other sectors in the recession.
In 2009, for example, Italian sports betting handle rose by 2% whilst the country’ GDP fell by 5.2%. New regulation for Internet sports betting was introduced in France in 2010, just in time for the World Cup. As a consequence handle rose by 66.5% last year, whilst GDP growth was just 1.4%.
The casino gaming sector fared much worse in the recession than sports betting. Governments often see casinos as easy pickings during a recession, believing them to be recession-proof, and raise taxes on them as a source of revenues. 
In actual fact, GBGC’s research has shown that casinos are one of the sectors hardest hit during the downturn.
French casino revenues fell by 6.9% in 2009, whilst French GDP fell by only 2.7%. Likewise, in Spain, casino revenues were down 14% but GDP was down by just 3.7% in 2009. Nevada has suffered too even when US GDP rose in 2010. GDP had growth of 2.9% but casino revenues fell by 4.5%.
In the UK the Office for National Statistics’ Consumer Trends Report clearly shows how the recession affected household expenditure on “games of chance” (this term covers: lotteries, scratchcards, betting, gaming, and gambling). In the depths of the recession in 2009 household expenditure on games of chance were down by 10% or more in every quarter of the year versus 2008. 
 GBGC’s Warwick Bartlett concludes, “No sector of the gambling industry is immune from the effects of the global recession but GBGC’ research has shown that some are better able to mitigate its effects than others through new technology, innovation, and benefitting from new regulation.”