E-gaming will continue to fare better than its land-based counterpart in 2010. But this year will still be a testing year for the industry because of the macroeconomic situation in certain markets.
The year ahead will be one of consolidation in the competitive European market, and companies will come together as the need to reduce costs outweighs concerns about past legal issues.
The squeeze will continue on smaller operators as they struggle to compete with the marketing spend and liquidity of the larger rivals. Smaller operators that are strong in a niche market will be acquired, while others will simply disappear.
Software providers' revenues will do better than those of operators in the year ahead, because they can trade in the free market as well as selling services to state lotteries that are beginning to move into online gaming.
The likes of SBOBet, 188bet and Bet365 should do well in 2010. They have developed a strong reputation for football betting, particularly in the increasingly popular live-betting sector of the market, and are established in the burgeoning Asian markets, which are dominated by football betting.
The World Cup in South Africa will inevitably be a focus for the industry in the summer both as a marketing tool and as a boost to betting activity. Results will determine what benefit is felt at the gross win line - too many predictable results in the group stages won't help the sports books. But, although important, the World Cup is only one month in an entire year.