|Online gaming has been universally identified as the hot stock area in e-commerce over the next five years, with expansion into gambling applications for interactive television singled-out as a potentially huge growth area, the Guardian Unlimited reports. |
Channel 4's Late Night Poker show, which attracts more than a million viewers despite a graveyard slot, is working on a range of digital services to ride that wave.
BSkyB is preparing to respond with a massive marketing push to boost its coverage of the upcoming Poker Million tournament, a move that will be accompanied by a raft of services following the company's winning of an interactive gaming licence last month.
Similarly enthusiastic are bookmakers Littlewoods, also reported to be preparing a big effort to plug their nascent iTV strategy.
Oscar Nieboer, vice president at US giants MGM Mirage Online, says year on year growth, increasingly powerful technology and growing digital penetration means 'e-gaming clearly has the potential to become a huge market globally.
'The next few years will see great change, with more growth, more competition, more price loyalty rather than brand loyalty, and the emergence of broadband and multi-channel propositions,' he adds. The mobile phone industry is also keen: gaming is increasingly being seen as critical component of the entertainment-led 'killer-app' that will finally kick start the market for 3G services.
According to one recent report from Alatto Technologies, gambling on mobile devices is set to become a significant earner; with sector revenues expected to reach $700m by 2006.