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Gambling services and adult content delivered via mobile phones could generate combined revenues of $6.5 billion by 2006, according to two new studies.

The projected growth in these new mobile content industries, however, will only take place if "the right operating conditions" are set by industry and regulators, said UK-based consultancy Juniper Research.

"A common hurdle facing the gambling and adult content industries is how to verify age over mobile phones," said Juniper senior analyst Paul Skeldon, author of the reports. "There is a lot of talk about this at the moment and very little agreement on how to go about it....Mobile operators are attempting to sort the issues out amongst themselves. They don't want the governments to get involved and jeopardise the market potential," he told ElectricNews.Net.

The entire global gambling market has been valued by analysts at about $1 trillion. Buoyed by successes with e-gambling, the industry is looking to the mobile device market as the next major horizon, according to the Mobile Gambling report. "Regulated lotteries and betting services will be the big winners. These are mass-market forms of gambling that are simple to do and people like them," said Skeldon.

A second Juniper study found that adult content will generate around $790 million in revenues by 2006, with $420 million derived from video content, $253 million from images and $118 million from text-based services. Despite large amounts of adult-type content being exchanged by peers via text and camera phones, the researchers believe that content generating revenue will remain relatively low in this sector.

Safety, security and child protection must be the number one priority, and "getting these issues right will lay the foundations for future growth," according to Juniper. The Mobile Adult Content Report recommends that trustworthy and reliable two-way payment systems must be in place alongside industry self-regulation safeguards against unsolicited content.

The public's perception of operators' and service providers' brands will need to be managed very carefully, with a distancing between the content provider and operator, warned the researchers.

© ENN

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