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The profitability of the industry is a compelling argument for entrepreneurs looking for lucrative business solutions and wanting to start their own project in the gambling sector. By the way, in 2023, it surpassed $540 billion.

If you are reading this article, you are probably here for a reason. Whether you are interested in promoting online casinos or planning to start your own business in the gambling niche, the following material will be useful.

Today, we will talk about something less obvious: the importance of a thorough SEO analysis for the correct choice of GEO (geographic location) for an online casino and building a working strategy for your online business. Make yourself comfortable.

Understanding the Concepts

Gambling is a general term that includes both online games and betting.

 Many online casino sites often offer both options, so I will use the term “gambling” to refer to both types of gambling activities.

Where to Start: Factors to Consider When Choosing Geo for an Online Casino

The first thing you will have to deal with is market selection. And it is quite broad: from the established markets of the G7 countries to still developing economies. Although the profitability of casinos varies by region, there is no place on the map where such a business is absolutely unprofitable. This is evidenced by the diagram below.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 1

The abundance of available GEOs for online casinos presents new investors and entrepreneurs looking to enter this field with an important question: “Where will my business operate?”

Thorough research in this context cannot be overestimated, as the correct choice of jurisdiction is crucial for the success and profitability of investments.

The choice of market is determined by many factors, including the operator’s experience, market size, potential revenue growth, language, and player preferences. The complexity of entry and subsequent success will vary significantly and depends on:

  • The need for licensing.
  • Industry regulation at the state level.
  • Competition.
  • Population’s payment capacity.
  • Domain age.
  • Marketing and promotion opportunities.

Let’s consider each aspect in more detail.

Licensing

Let’s start with the basics. Currently, there is a clear trend towards the legalization of gambling worldwide. Scientific research shows that 80% of countries (164 out of 193) allow various types of gambling. However, the laws regulating the gambling industry differ from one jurisdiction to another. More legal markets are emerging, opening new opportunities for investors.

Having a license to operate an online casino is crucial. Without it, you will face several problems.

Problem 1. Difficulties With Financial Transactions and Blocks

Without a license, cooperation with reputable banks and payment services is not possible. This results in difficulties with the deposit and withdrawal of players’ funds (the latter being less of a concern for operators). The reality is that no casino wants players to withdraw money easily.

A license protects an online casino from being blocked by government regulatory agencies and telecom operators and ensures consumer rights protection for players.

Problem 2. Legal Risks

The absence of a license for an online casino leads to serious legal consequences for both the casino itself and its users. In many countries where online gambling is legalized and iGaming sites are permitted, the activities of unlicensed casinos are prohibited.

Possible consequences of operating without a license include:

  1. Serious legal issues for the management company.
  2. Content blocking within certain countries.
  3. Heavy fines for illegal activities.
  4. In some cases, the threat of imprisonment for the casino’s management and owners.

Problem 3. Erosion of Player Trust

Unlicensed online casinos are doomed to mistrust from players, as experienced gamblers always prioritize a license over immediate bonuses and promotions. Considering that the number of players and online casinos increases annually, losing even one player results in lost profits.

The absence of legal status casts a shadow of doubt, and players aware of the risks are not willing to gamble their money on dubious platforms.

A brief overview of the most popular international licenses

Note that an online casino license comes in two types.

LocalIssued by the regulator in the country where the casino operates. For example, to conduct business in Poland, an online casino must have a Polish license.
InternationalIssued by gambling commissions recognized worldwide and authorized by the governments of individual countries.

Let’s consider the features of several popular international licenses.

  • Curacao License

A popular license among young operating companies due to:

  • Affordability.
  • Ability to pay with cryptocurrency.
  • 0% corporate tax.
  • 2% tax on net profit. 

However, due to restrictions, players from the USA, France, the Netherlands, and Curacao cannot be accepted under this license.

  • Isle of Man License

The Isle of Man positions itself as an attractive jurisdiction for the gambling business, offering several types of licenses tailored for:

  1. Casino, sports betting, and poker operators.
  2. Software providers for online gambling.
  3. Companies providing online gambling hosting services.

The licensing process is simple and quick, allowing operators to enter the market sooner.

  • KGC License (Kahnawake Gaming Commission)

They attract with easy registration and an interesting division into:

  • License for all types of games (except live games).
  • License for live games.

An additional advantage for operating companies is zero corporate tax and no other taxes at the start. This is very convenient while the casino is developing.

  • MGA License (Malta Gaming Authority)

Considered one of the most prestigious licenses recognized in Europe. This is partly because Malta is the home of the iGaming industry.

MGA issues four types of licenses, but obtaining them is difficult due to:

  1. A complex, 5-stage process.
  2. High requirements.
  3. Long waiting times for a decision.

It suits experienced operators ready to invest time and resources.

  • UKGC License (United Kingdom Gambling Commission)

This license is also considered prestigious, second only to the USA. The obtaining process is complex and financially demanding. However, this approach ensures a high level of player reliability and security.

  • AAMS License (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato, Italy)

The AAMS license attracts regional online casinos with the opportunity to enter the global market and compensate for losses from land-based establishments. However, global reach and enhanced reputation come at a cost: expensive approval, strict rules, and regular payments.

  • AGCO License (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Canada)

AGCO, the regulator of Ontario province, is unique in allowing foreign companies to provide gambling services in its territory.

 Instead of a traditional licensing system, AGCO has developed a special model aimed at controlling and supporting the industry while ensuring its competitiveness.

  • The main thing to know about licenses: the better it is, the higher the likelihood it will work stably in various countries.

However, the absence of a license in a particular country does not always mean a ban for players. Online casino operators often use workarounds to avoid restrictions imposed by governments.

 In response to these actions, regulators take various countermeasures, the most common of which is prohibiting payment systems and banks from cooperating with casinos without internal licenses.

Regulation

Understanding the legal status of online gambling in different countries and jurisdictions will help avoid issues associated with registering and developing your business.

 Depending on the level of strictness of online gambling legislation, countries worldwide can be divided into three groups.

Market TypeDescriptionPrevalence
RegulatedThe effect of laws legalizing online gambling and allowing operators to obtain licenses.Free access to sites from other countries for players.79 countries
UnregulatedAbsence of laws regulating online gambling, making it technically illegal.Lack of regulation and licensing procedures.46 countries
ProhibitedAbsence of prohibiting laws on gambling on the Internet and within the jurisdiction.The opportunity for gamblers to continue to play in offshore online casinos.70 countries 

You can find a detailed analysis of gambling legislation and a list of countries here.

Demand and Competition

Understanding demand and the competitive environment is crucial for success in online gambling. First and foremost, you should analyze the local specifics, namely:

  1. Preferences. Study popular games, types of bets, and limits preferred by players in the target region.
  2. Mindset. Consider cultural differences and attitudes towards gambling in various countries.
  3. Interests. Analyze demographic data to understand age structure, income levels, and other factors affecting gaming activity.
  4. Competitors. Assess the number and positions of existing operators in the market, their offerings, strengths, and weaknesses.

There will be more differences than you might think. For example, consider Europe and Asia.

European MarketAsian Marke
High level of gambling penetration.Preference for slots, roulette, and poker.Developed regulatory environment.Strong competition from major operators.Fast-growing market with high potential.Popularity of mobile games and live sports betting.Diverse regulatory environment depending on the country.Increasing competition from local and international operators.

A well-informed GEO choice maximizes your online gambling strategy by 100%.

Payability

According to forecasts, online gambling revenue is expected to reach $100.90 billion in 2024.

When opening a casino, choosing the right GEO is important from a payability perspective, as higher income and better quality of life mean that people have discretionary funds which can potentially be used for online gaming.

In simpler terms, the wealthier the country, the more people in it can afford to gamble.

By creating what could be called a “geography of success” chart, we can highlight two countries:

  1. USA – the leader in revenue, with $23,030 million in 2024.
  2. Canada – the country with the highest user penetration at 69.4%.

Choosing a GEO is not just a guessing game. Based on market research, audience reach, profitability levels, and other factors, countries are ranked by online casino turnover. An example of this is shown in the table below.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 2

In summary, countries can be divided into two categories:

  1. High-Income GEOs: USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand. 
  • High regulatory requirements but a stable market.
  • Focus on local keywords and comply with legislation.
  1. Lower-Income GEOs: Brazil, India. 
  • Less clear regulation but significant growth opportunities.
  • Focus on mobile optimization and local languages.

Notably, no countries from Asia, South America, or Africa made it into the top ten, despite some Asian countries having higher economic output and GDP per capita than some of the European countries listed.

Financial Viability

Evaluating the profitability of an online casino is like playing chess: you need to plan your moves ahead. When assessing financial viability, two key factors should be considered:

  1. Entry Costs: Both initial investments and ongoing expenses (licensing fees, taxes, operating costs). For example, a license in Malta requires significant investment but provides a stable operational environment.
  2. Revenue Potential: Assess based on market demand and competition. Markets with high income levels and interest in gambling can generate substantial revenue.

Many sources suggest the best GEOs for online gambling in 2024 are:

Tier 1 GEO:

  • USA: Profitable market but requires detailed SEO strategies for each state.
  • UK: Regulated environment, high player trust. Transparency and compliance with legislation are crucial.
  • Canada: Growing market; focus on provincial keywords and bilingual content.

Tier 2 and 3 GEO:

  • Brazil: High interest in sports betting, mobile optimization.
  • India: High potential; focus on local languages and mobile devices.
  • South Africa: Growing market, high mobile internet usage, focus on sports betting.

Note. In traffic arbitration, countries are categorized (Tier) based on average metrics: payouts and audience approach.

However, is this really the case? Clearly, any entrepreneur wants to ensure the effectiveness of their investments and ventures, and thus seeks to support their choice with concrete figures and facts.

So, let’s conduct an experiment to visually demonstrate and understand the level of competition and the complexity of entering specific markets.

Step 1. Selecting Countries

For the experiment, analysis was decided to be conducted in 5 English-speaking countries. The shortlist included:

  • Canada.
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland
  • UK

The USA was excluded due to regulatory complexities (different licensing conditions in states) and domain requirements (at least 10 years since registration).

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 3

What do we have? These countries are economically developed, with high GDP, significant market volumes, and a positive industry growth trend.

  • Australia, the UK, and Canada each receive one point.

Preliminary results after Step 1:

CanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIrelandUK
111

Step 2: Assessing Licensing Complexity

At this stage, the requirements for obtaining an online gambling license in the selected GEOs were analyzed.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 4

The leaders in terms of ease of obtaining a license were New Zealand and Canada. We discussed their licenses from Curacao and Kahnawake earlier.

  • New Zealand and Canada each receive one point.

Preliminary results after Step 2:

CanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIrelandUK
2111

Step 3: SEO Analysis and Regional Outreach

Regional outreach is a link-building method aimed at obtaining links from sites relevant to the target audience in a specific region.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 5

What do we see? In Ireland, the UK, and Canada, regional outreach is both the most accessible and financially advantageous. However, it’s not that simple. 

To achieve high rankings in a particular country, you need to analyze the regional leader’s standings: domain age, number of backlinks to the regional leader’s domain, and the number of regional backlinks.

This significantly changes the situation, as domains in the UK and Canada have several hundred regional backlinks and domain ages of 10+ and 20+ years, making them highly authoritative. Competing with such established players will be challenging.

The “youngest” regional leader is a company in Australia.

  • New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland each receive one point.

Preliminary results after Step 3:

CanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIrelandUK
22211

Step 4: Analyzing Query Frequency and Competition

As you will be a new player entering the market, it makes sense to consider emerging regional leaders.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 6

First, let’s compare the search frequency for “online casino” in each GEO. We see that the UK and Canada lead in search volume. Ireland has the lowest frequency. However, the traffic of emerging regional leaders in Australia and New Zealand is the highest, due to the highest average search volume (calculated as the average sum of the search frequencies for the key queries they rank for).

It’s also important to consider the Keyword Difficulty (KD) for the main keyword “online casino.” In the UK and Canada, the KD is very high, indicating that a lot of effort and financial investment will be needed for SEO.

  • New Zealand and Australia each receive one point.

Preliminary results after Step 4:

CanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIrelandUK
23311

Before the final stage, we have three leaders: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

We decide to exclude Canada due to high competition and the strong positions of existing players (old, authoritative domains).

Step 5: Domain Analysis

At this stage, all focus is on the domains of the top 15 players in each GEO.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 7

During the analysis, we focus on:

  • Traffic – the number of visitors coming from search engines.
  • DR (Domain Rating) – a metric that measures the authority and trustworthiness of a domain, reflecting the overall quality of a website’s backlink profile and predicting its ranking potential.
  • Total number of backlinks – the number of links from other websites leading to your site’s pages and contributing to your site’s authority.
  • Links with DR 30+ and DR 80+ (the latter are difficult to acquire as they are sites of Forbes level).

By analyzing the sites of major players based on these parameters, we can estimate the number of links needed to achieve the target traffic. This data allows us to calculate the budget and timeline required to meet the goals.

Additionally, it is useful to analyze the actions of newer players with domains aged under 3 years. Studying their SEO strategies and evaluating their effectiveness against more established competitors can reveal promising approaches and trends.

As a result, New Zealand showed the best performance.

What happens after choosing the GEO for your online casino

Once the choice is made, the next step involves a deeper analysis of market players and their metrics, specifically:

  • Domain age.
  • Traffic.
  • Number of referring domains.
  • Number of dofollow links.
  • Domain age.
  • DR.

The process is similar to the previous analysis but conducted on a larger sample. This time, we analyzed 40 competitors in the New Zealand market, as it was our chosen GEO. The results are as follows:

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 8

The analysis of the final point allows us to estimate the amount of work needed to catch up with the market leader in terms of traffic. However, it’s important to understand that the outcome will be influenced not only by the volume of backlinks but also by the factors listed above.

Special attention is given to analyzing newer market players, carefully studying their content publication strategies and link-building profiles.

How to Choose GEO for an Online Casino from an SEO Perspective? - 9

Thanks to such thorough analysis, we can optimize our clients’ expenses and time. Based on the data obtained, we develop three effective SEO strategy options, taking into account the budget and desired pace of achieving goals in the chosen GEO.

Want to get the same comprehensive analysis for your business? Sign up for a strategic session with us! We will thoroughly examine your situation and develop a personalized strategy to help you conquer the top positions in Google search results.

Impact of SEO Factors on GEO Selection

When selecting a GEO for SEO promotion, it’s important to consider both primary and regional ranking factors.Primary Factors: These are universal factors that affect a website’s ranking in search engine results across all regions. They include:

  • Technical SEO.
  • User engagement metrics.
  • Content.
  • High-quality backlinks.
  • User behavior signals.
  • Domain age and authority.

Wondering what regional ranking factors exist? To achieve high positions in search results for a target region, SEO optimization must take regional specifics into account. 

Here are several key aspects to consider:

  1. Geographically Targeted Keywords. Incorporate these into your content, meta tags, and alt tags to signal search engines about your website’s relevance to a specific GEO.
  2. Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). Using ccTLDs (e.g., .ca for Canada or .au for Australia) helps search engines understand the geographical relevance of your website.
  3. Server Location and IP Address. Host your website on a server located in the target region or use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) with servers in that region. This will improve page load times and help search engines identify the site as geographically relevant.
  4. Google My Business Information. Claim and optimize your business in Google My Business. This helps Google recognize its physical location, which increases trust.
  5. NAP Consistency. Ensure that the Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) of your business are consistent online, particularly on your website, social media profiles, and local directories.
  6. Local Citations. Obtain listings in local directories, citations, and aggregators such as Yelp, Bing Places, or TripAdvisor to enhance online visibility in the target region.
  7. Language and Regional Dialects. Use language and dialects appropriate to your target audience to make your content more accessible and user-friendly.
  8. Regional Content Creation. Develop content that addresses the needs and interests of your GEO audience.
  9. Hreflang Tags. Use these tags to specify the language and region of each webpage or piece of content, helping search engines understand which version is most relevant to users in different regions.
  10. Structured Data (Schema Markup). Add schema markup to your website’s HTML to provide search engines with additional context about your business location, operating hours, reviews, etc.

By incorporating these geo-targeted SEO strategies into your overall optimization efforts, you will significantly improve your website’s visibility and ranking in specific regions.

Conclusion

Choosing the right GEO is like piecing together a puzzle, where every element matters.

 Before launching an online casino in a specific country, you should conduct a detailed analysis of:

  • Legal aspects.
  • Market demand.
  • Competitive environment.
  • Financial viability.

Focus on content localization, keyword research, and SEO strategy optimization to achieve success in your chosen market. Only then will you have a complete puzzle.

Consult with professionals to avoid mistakes in your choice and to have a step-by-step structured action plan that will deliver the expected ROI.

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Author
Dmytro Kovshun

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