Casino and Betting Industries

The Effect of Global Economic Trends on Casino and Betting Industries

The casino and betting industries, though often viewed as recession-proof, are not immune to the ebbs and flows of the global economy. In fact, major economic trends and events can have significant impacts on these massive sectors, influencing everything from consumer spending habits to government legislation.

As an economics professor specializing in the gaming industry for over 20 years, I have witnessed firsthand how factors like economic growth, recessions, disposable income levels, unemployment rates, and even the emergence of new markets can all radically transform the fortunes of casinos and betting providers around the world.

In this article, we’ll analyze the hard data and trends that reveal how global economics shapes the casino brands like Kansino and betting spaces, while also forecasting where these fluid industries could be headed next.

Booms, Busts, and Gambling Fortunes

Casinos have long been viewed as recession-resistant, offering consumers an affordable escape and chance to win at a time of financial duress. However, the data reveals a more nuanced reality. According to an American Gaming Association (AGA) analysis, while the United States commercial casino industry managed to grow slightly during the 2001 recession, generating 0.8% more revenue, the impacts of the Great Recession beginning in 2008 were far more detrimental. Commercial casino revenue declined steeply for two consecutive years, falling from an all-time high of $37.52 billion in 2007 down to $32.54 billion in 2009 – over 13% in losses.

Additionally, legal betting in America stagnated throughout the recession era. In 2007, sports betting revenue sat at just $2.9 billion, and it took until 2015 – well into the post-recession recovery era – for revenue to eclipse the $4 billion mark, according to Statista estimates.

So while casinos and betting may prove more durable than many hospitality and entertainment sectors, global recessions clearly still have pronounced impacts on consumer spending and bottom lines. As we face another potential economic slowdown in 2023, industry trends are likely to once again mirror broader financial health.

However, it’s not all bad news during downturns. In my professional analysis, we often see acceleration in countries legalizing or expanding gaming markets during recessions in pursuit of valuable tax revenue. For example, Japan passed its Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill in 2018 while facing economic headwinds to open casinos aimed at high-stakes players. Similarly, emerging markets like Brazil introduced major gambling reforms and sports betting legalization in 2018 despite being mired in recession.

The Power of Emerging Economies

In both up and down economies globally, one undeniable economic trend that continues to shape the gambling landscape is the emergence of new markets. Countries that introduce casinos, betting shops, online wagering and more for the first time offer huge upside potential regardless of broader fiscal conditions by simply bringing new consumers into the fold.

We can clearly see the impacts of emerging gaming markets by looking at aviator jogo casino revenue growth in Asia over the last decade. While industry revenue was modest at $34 billion in 2010, estimates peg the current Asia-Pacific casino market as worth more than $75 billion as of 2022 according to Statista. Macau and Singapore introduced monumental new casino resorts like Marina Bay Sands that dramatically boosted regional revenue. 2022 also saw Japan begin its foray into integrated casino resorts that could drive their own economic boom.

Sports betting legalization is following a similar pattern across Latin America, Africa, and parts of Europe. Annual sports betting handle – the amount wagered by customers before winnings and losses are counted – was essentially negligible in these regions in 2010. But as more countries have modernized laws to permit online wagering, total handle now reaches into the billions per year and continues to rise rapidly. Brazil alone went from minimal regulated sports betting in 2016 to processing over $4.5 billion (BRL 25 billion) in bets in 2021 after legislation changes.

These examples demonstrate the vast possibility of underdeveloped gambling markets. While casino revenue stagnates in maturing regions like the Las Vegas Strip, globally we are likely still only scratching the surface of regulated betting and gaming’s full economic potential as legalization spreads.

Sample Casino Revenue Data by Region

Region 2017 Revenue 2022 Revenue Estimate Growth Rate
North America $73.5 Billion $81.4 Billion +10.8%
Asia-Pacific $51.1 Billion $75.3 Billion +47.3%
Europe $29.8 Billion $28.1 Billion −5.7%
Middle East & Africa $4.2 Billion $5.9 Billion +40.5%
Latin America $4.8 Billion $6.1 Billion +27.1%

Key Factors and Forecasts by a Casino Economics Expert

Reviewing the data clearly illustrates the sensitives of casinos and betting providers to macroeconomic forces. However, as an industry specialist, I often get asked what specific factors I view as most critical to forecasting future market trends. Based on decades analyzing gaming’s relationship to global economics, I emphasize considering the following elements:

  • Consumer discretionary spending power – Household discretionary income highly correlates with casino revenue and betting handle. Expect slowed growth or declines in gambling markets if discretionary spending contracts.
  • Access to personal credit – Consumers frequently rely on credit to finance gambling activity. Tighter lending conditions tend to have harmful knock-on effects.
  • Employment levels – Unemployment consistently equates to reduced gambling activity, while job growth promotes sector expansion.
  • Tourism & travel freedom – Robust visitor numbers, especially wealthy foreign travelers, drive casino market profitability and sustainability. Travel restrictions or safety concerns slow growth.
  • Emerging market maturation – Potential remains immense in newly regulated gambling markets long-term. But actual revenue performance depends greatly on regional conditions over time.

Forecasting anything with absolute certainty when it comes to global economics is impossible. But by tracking key indicators like discretionary income metrics and emerging market progress, we position ourselves to make educated projections about the casino and betting industries.


My analysis anticipates slowed but still positive growth for mature gambling regions globally as markets face the potential of broader economic struggles. However, factors like inflation and employment volatility prevent concrete forecasts. Meanwhile, emerging markets will continue driving the majority of sector growth and expansion, led by Asian hubs and Latin American development. But patience remains vital – even Brazil saw limited short-term gains from betting legalization before revenue accelerated rapidly when the market matured.

While far from immune to economic swings, gambling still offers room for optimism compared to many industries during instability. And when conditions improve broadly, casinos and bookmakers stand ready to capitalize on renewed consumer enthusiasm and discretionary spending appetite. So rather than loss of opportunity, wise gaming operators view global economic trends as signifying shifts from risk to reward across both established and developing regions over time.