Gambling revenue grew rapidly in 2014, but difficulties lie ahead

Luke Graham, special to CNBC

Global gambling revenues climbed to more than $450 billion in 2014 and are predicted to reach $525 billion by 2019, according to an industry report.

The report, the tenth edition of Global Gambling Report, showed revenues grew by 3.2 percent to $453 billion, as measured by gross gambling yield (stake taken minus winning payouts). This was an improvement over 1.1 percent growth in 2013.

The Mirage Resort Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas is shown crowded with basketball fans during NCAA March Madness Tournament in Las Vegas.
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However, the report from Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) also predicted that global growth would fall to just 1 percent in 2015 due to reduced revenues in the Asian gambling hub of Macau, but would quickly climb to 4.1 percent in 2016.

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Asia nonetheless remained the largest gambling region in the world, contributing almost 33 percent of global gambling revenues. It became the largest region in 2010, when it replaced North America.

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GBGC chief executive Warwick Bartlett outlined what was in store for the sector in the future. "A combination of higher taxes and the sluggish global economy plus the decline in revenues in Macau will have a detrimental effect on the global gross gaming yield," he told CNBC via email.

"This is only partly offset by higher Internet penetration and the use of smart devices (tablets and phones) to access Internet gambling websites. The industry really needs federal legislation in the US for casino gambling, but that is a long way off."

According to figures released by the GBGC, the global gambling market has doubled in size since 2001. Mr Bartlett said: "We have seen growth all along apart from the impact of the great recession in 2008/9."

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