Prominent online gambling media outlet eGaming Review has revealed the shortlist of nominees for its 8th annual eGR Operator Awards, due to be handed out Nov. 26 at the Roundhouse in Camden, London. eGR is without question a highly regarded industry news source, but if you’ll forgive us for saying it (again), their worldview is somewhat narrow. Don’t get us wrong – it’s nice to see a few private outfits like Bet365 and Betfred among all the public companies – but the glaring absence of major Asian operators lays bare eGR’s Euro-centric bias.
eGR would likely defend their selections due to the comparative lack of publicly available financial data that would confirm just how massive Asia’s major online companies are becoming, but even eGR can read the logos on Premier League jerseys. Most Asian countries won’t accept online gambling ads but Premier League broadcasts are seen by hundreds of millions of Asian footie fans. (Does anyone sincerely believe Cardiff City’s new red kit with the dragon patch is intended to appeal to the Welsh market?)
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) stats show Asia eclipsed the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) market as early as 2008. Since then the two regions have headed in opposite directions, with Asia projected to account for 43.4% of the global gaming market by 2015 – and PWC believes the real number is significantly higher – while the EMEA’s share is expected to shrink to just 10% over the same period. Asia is where all the growth is; an entire continent of underdeveloped markets and burgeoning middle classes. Like eGR, PWC lacks hard numbers on just how much money Asian online gaming generates, but PWC is convinced of one thing: “There is a lot of it.” Manila is ground zero for the Asian-facing online gaming market and Calvin Ayre has likened the Asian market to the last great gold rush this industry will witness in our lifetimes. So where’s the Asian love, eGR?
Anyway, rant over, now back to pimping the event. eGR has spared no expense for its big do at the Roundhouse, promising a champagne reception, cocktail bar, poker & roulette tournaments and a live band. Even better, comedian Jimmy Carr has been convinced to host the awards ceremony. For those of you who can’t attend because they’re too busy making money somewhere – Asia, for example – fear not, because CalvinAyre.com managed to obtain part of an early draft of Jimmy’s opening monologue. Enjoy…
“So, how about a hand for our eGR hosts… Good guys, if a little Euro-centric. Backstage, I mentioned that I’d just returned from the Far East and they said ‘So, how was Poland?’ I said they should really check out Macau and they asked ‘Why? Does it have two udders or something?’ At first I thought they were having me on, until I saw their smartphones have this map feature that only lists north, south and west. Seriously, it’s as if they live in a world where Marco Polo left Constantinople in the year 1260, headed east and was never seen again. [USE IN CASE OF HECKLING.] I’m sorry, sir, but heckling privileges are reserved strictly for those whose stock closed out the day above 50% of its IPO price.” [OUTRO] “Moving on, let’s start with the first award, eGR Advertiser of the Year. And the nominees are…”