You can’t jump into a website localization project without deciding which languages you want to support on your website. The more languages there are to be targeted, the higher the expenses will be, and some languages cost more than others because of the added technical requirements. That is why it is crucial to choose your targeted languages strategically.
In the case of iGaming websites, it might be more than choosing an experienced translation and localization team. Your iGaming website localization strategies should definitely include checking the countries you can legally set up a local domain in, analyzing the demographics of your iGaming players, and of course keeping an eye on the most up-to-date laws and legislation for online gambling. This also applies to iGaming affiliate websites to channel the right kind of traffic to you and your clients’ websites.
In this article, we are going to look into the most prominent online gambling markets around the world in relation to the choice of languages.
Online gambling is legalized in more than 80 countries as of 2017 and Europe still holds the largest online gambling market in the world. The UK is currently leading the market with an estimated revenue of €5.4bn during 2015 and 2016, followed by Germany as the second largest industry player outside of the UK with revenue of €1.1bn for the same period.
English is the most popular language in the world with more than a billion internet users using it. Coincidentally, since the UK is the largest iGaming market in the world, it should be a crime if you forget to include English (UK) as a language option. It is not surprising that most online casino websites that accept international players from around the world offer English (UK).
However, it is interesting to observe that English (US) is not offered at all and is swept under English (UK) in general. This could be due to an insignificant number of online gamblers from the United States as there are currently only three states; Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, where online gambling is legalized. Times are changing in the States though, especially in terms of sports betting and fantasy sports.
English may be the most frequently used language online but 9 in 10 internet users in the EU prefer to visit a website in their own language. This finding reflects the importance of translating your website content into different targeted EU languages.
Germany is currently the largest online gambling market outside of the UK and this probably explains why Deutsch can usually be found among various language choices.
3. The Nordics
The Nordic languages are not to be neglected especially when the Nordic countries altogether generated €1.5bn during 2015 and 2016 and became the 3rd largest market in the world.
The Nordic countries in this context mean Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Unibet is a great example here which offers four out of five Nordic languages for its blog. The reason that the Icelandic language is not featured might be because gambling is still illegal in Iceland although there is no governmental pressure yet. It is also interesting to see that the featured languages are grouped according to regions.
The size of the Asia Pacific iGaming market may not be comparable with the EU market yet, but it surely is showing a promising increase in revenue growth. It is forecasted that the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of the Asia Pacific market will rise by 14% during 2018 and 2026.
An increasing number of internet users, rise in the usage of mobile devices, and higher availability of casino and betting websites with attractive offers are the driving factors behind the expansion of the Asia Pacific market. According to H2 Gambling Capital, Asia/Middle East region is estimated to have the highest percentage of iGaming gross win from mobile in 2018 with 45.2%, which is 5.8% higher than Europe.
Online gambling is still mostly illegal in China and regardless of the situation, its popularity keeps rising among the local players. The only place in all of China where gambling is allowed is Macau, the richest casino destination in the world. It is often regarded as the ‘Gambling Haven’ or ‘Las Vegas of Asia’. What makes Macau more interesting for the iGaming industry is the fact that licensing of online casino operators is not regulated by any authoritative bodies yet.
With such interesting rules and regulation governing the city, it is definitely worth discussing the Chinese language in this article.
There are approximtely 800 million internet users who use the Mandarin Chinese language, making it the second most popular language after English.
Chinese is not a single language but is a family of different variations. In terms of written format, simplified Chinese is mainly used in mainland China whereas traditional Chinese is used in target markets like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
Well-known casinos like William Hill and 888 publish their website content in both simplified and traditional Chinese format to cover a wider scope of Chinese-speaking clients. Affiliates might as well use the same approach in order to target such a remarkable number of visitors for your blogs.
The Rest of Asia Pacific:
More interestingly, William Hill also offers the Japanese language as an option although online gambling is still a grey zone in Japan. That being said, of course, the government can’t really stop people from accessing remote gambling sites. Bet365.com is also said to be a very popular betting platform among Japanese players.
Online gamblings laws vary widely around the world and it is no different for Asian countries. The Philippines may have a more friendly approach towards iGaming operation whereas, in Singapore, all forms of remote gambling are banned under the latest Remote Gambling Act. Gambling is also strictly prohibited in Islamic countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Brunei, as is it is considered illegal under Islamic law.
Due to varying restrictions in Asia, the market size is relatively small for the operators to target Asian customer segment with specific languages. In fact, iGaming operators tend to focus on the biggest markets in different regions and strategically localize their websites.
Other popular languages include Spanish, French, Italian, and Russian. Additionally, Spanish is also the third most used language on the web in 2017. It is widely spoken across the U.S., Central, and South America, so it is perfect if you are targeting players in these regions.
If we look at the market growth of Spanish-speaking countries, Spain is speeding up to the top with a 43.1% increase between the first half of 2015 and the first half of 2016. It surpassed Denmark and Italy whose markets expanded to 38.2% and 31.9% respectively during the same period.
In South America, Argentina is currently the largest online gambling market in the region with revenue of €13.6bn in 2017. While licensing may be limited only to local casino sites in Argentina, online gambling activities are all fully fledged in both Panama and Peru.
Chile, on the other hand, doesn’t give out official licenses to any online casinos, and yet the players are free to play from any offshore casino sites. Such details are indicating that the Spanish-speaking customer segment is definitely worth exploring. Just by offering the Spanish Language on your website, you are hitting the bullseye with one shot.
All in all, since Europe is leading the iGaming market and for that reason, we can see European languages on most of the iGaming websites. While South America is emerging as an online gambling hub, the Asian market is showing promising growth in the industry.
Identifying the most suitable languages for your iGaming website and targeting them is just the initial step towards a successful website localization strategy. If you want to dive deeper into this topic, we’ve covered more technical details about it in our article: “9 Things You Need to Know Before Translating Your Website.”
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