Online gambling has always been a lucrative industry and 2019 is no exception. The latest findings released by Hexa Research have unveiled that the market will grow by a whopping USD 73.45 billion by 2024. The US market alone is anticipated to balloon to 51% CAGR by 2020, as Technavio analysts asserts.
This change is primarily driven by the easing of gambling legislation in Europe, EMEA countries, and Americas; technology advancements in blockchain, machine learning, chatbots, and virtual reality; a wider spread of handheld devices; and a rising government interest in fueling national economies through online gambling.
In Delaware, the regulated igaming market boasted that it earned a net profit of USD 2.6 million in 2018. These big turnovers convert into substantial tax revenues for the states. Thus, the US casinos pay a 25% tax, while winners contribute 10% of their earnings straight to the government.
As of today, this is how the global gambling geography looks:
Additionally, online casino slot games are expected to overtake other types of gambling games, but Hexa Research’s outcomes slightly differ. Sports betting will come out on top followed by casinos, poker, and bingo.
Let’s proceed by arranging our igaming industry findings into bite-sized chunks for you to grasp new tendencies faster.
Content is Still King for Online Gambling
Exploring online gambling stats may give you a good idea of which igaming tactics to follow.
Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies has released some curious facts about New Jersey’s online gamblers: the average betting sum spent by 10% of players per year amounted to USD 500,000, and the largest bet made amounted to USD 36,750. The question is what convinced people to choose this or that game. While there are bonuses and prizes backed up by a strong lawful reputation, there is one more factor influencing their minds – content.
Pop culture has inspired gambling operators to come up with online casino slot games featuring TV and movie characters. This tendency is not new, but it still proves effective. One of the most popular themes is Game of Thrones. Multiple free spins, generous score multipliers, and authentic graphics make a list of top features powered by Microgaming. Here is how it looks:
This online slots trend will have a positive impact on online casinos by giving them a fresh look and feel with some movie episodes.
Unique reels and land-based casino math models will stay among players’ favorites. Megaways, from Big Time Gaming, and Barcrest slot games are good examples of engaging content.
Gamification has also become an essential component of the online casino gaming experience. Currently, random number generation games are gradually filling arcades with multiple bonuses like Candy Crush Saga, which brought in USD 930 million in revenue in 2018.
Mobile Gambling is Taking the Lead
Moving from desktops to mobile devices is another big change in the igaming industry, as the mobile community is growing quickly. Hootsuite estimated that 5.135 billion mobile phone users in 2018 and that number is expected to surge by 4% each subsequent year.
No wonder gambling on the go now amounts to 61% of the global gambling revenue. Iovation, a company making the internet a safer place with fraud protection solutions, found that 72% of 2018 bets were made through mobile devices. Here is how transaction rates change across various platforms:
In the UK, the online gambling industry yield made up 35% in 2018 and is still climbing. The UK Gambling Commission statistics showed a 37.3% remote market share increase with online casinos, with betting and bingo topping the list.
That said, users’ habits are constantly evolving, which is why igaming industry players need to be mobile-first and ensure that online lottery or casino games run smoothly across phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops.
Paul Marcantonio, Head of UK and Western Europe at ECOMMPAY, has pointed out a few dominant payment trends in his interview with SBC News:
“Faster deposits and withdrawals, one-click features, and built-in biometrics are just a few of the developments the industry has seen in recent years.”
Therefore, omni-channel payments would be a useful addition that would allow end users to swap devices easily between gaming sessions. It requires careful user experience planning – a payment functionality needs to be properly adjusted to each of the platforms to make user transition truly seamless.
Online Gambling Stands to Gain from Cryptos
Although blockchain-based cryptocurrencies were expected to completely disrupt financial world in 2017 followed by a 2018 frustration, it still encourages the igaming industry tokenization that would deliver maximum returns.
On a larger scale, PwC predicts that 2019 will bring more luck to cryptocurrencies as regulatory clarity increases. But how exactly can cryptos help online casinos and other igames outclass their land-based counterparts? That begins with transparency and security in transactions with low/zero transfer fees; cryptos also allow players to join the game when local regulation prohibits a real money betting.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple are the most popular cryptocurrencies used in online casinos, ilotteries, and betting games. However, some igaming platforms, like Unikrn, create their own cryptos and succeed in doing so. Thus, Mark Cuban, an Ethereum co-founder, invested USD 25 million in Unikrn’s digital token UnikoinGold used for esports betting.
As a rule, online casinos based on blockchain are not limited to using crypto. Players can often choose other payment methods. Yet, moving to cryptos leads to online gambling economy transformation.
Here is how Devin Finzer, a co-founder of OpenSea, a decentralized crypto marketplace, commented on this:
“Blockchain represents a fundamental business model shift: from value extraction in closed ecosystems to value capture in open ecosystems. The problem is that, while incumbents have figured out how to extract value in closed ecosystems (restrictive monetary policies, locks on transfers, fees, etc.), new entrants have yet to figure out how to capture value in open ecosystems.”
In spite of the existing ambiguity, an igaming company, Dragon Inc., is about to put a new crypto-powered business model to use. They suggest buying digital currency and tokens (called Dragon Global Chips) in a simple, fee-free way via a smartphone wallet. Players will be allowed to use the chips in casinos, exchange them back into tokens, and convert them into local currencies.
AI Chatbot, Fraud and Addiction Preventer
AI-powered gambling assistants can contribute much to igaming customer service. Through responsive chatbots, players can access free spins and bonuses, resolve technical issues, make bets, and transfer money.
The way a player interacts with chatbots is quite straightforward: either via text messages/commands or through graphical interface. This provides a thoroughly intuitive user experience.
The benefits of using AI chatbots in online gambling are numerous: from private correspondence to better connectivity in case of the slow Internet speed, and a broader audience reach.
Chatbots can also help improve customer support by tracing the most frequent user complaints and requests. They can also attract new players suggesting extra bonuses or offer a bigger range of games.
LeoVegas, a Canadian online casino gambling platform, has over 1,500 slots, roulette, and blackjack games to offer. Thanks to AI algorithms, each LeoVegas fan can have a tailor-made selection of slots displayed on the home page. It saves searching through thousands of other games and boosts a player retention rate.
AI is also capable of promoting responsible gambling. It can monitor user behaviors and suggest a break or suspend his or her account to prevent addictiveness. BetBuddy is one of such analytical AI platforms, identifying and managing unwanted behaviour patterns.
The future of AI in online gambling is often foreseen as a merger with another emerging technology, virtual reality. This symbiotic relationship has great potential for giving a customized game experience and appealing to player senses at the same time. Even though it is not a one-day event, VR casinos are gradually winning their niche.
Virtual Reality Casino to Sharpen Players’ Senses
Virtual reality in online casino gaming is no longer a mere buzzword. Net Entertainment has been acknowledged as an early VR technology adopter. Jack’s World was its first classic slot game run on VR, designed for a Google Cardboard head-mounted display. The preview is still available on YouTube.
The VR casino list continues with Cherry Jackpot, SlotsMillion VR Casino, and Slots.lv taking up the top slots. According to Statista, a number of VR gaming sales will achieve USD 22.9 billion by the end of 2020. This fascinating prediction has a solid foundation: VR is one of the best technologies to grant a consumer-centric experience. Its engagement is built on utilizing user senses, real-time multiplayer gaming, interaction with other players, voice functionalities, and more.
At Innovecs, we build immersive VR-powered igames too. Our team showcased a VR casino demo during ICE 2017 in London, UK. Built on Unity 3D, it’s perfect for both mobile and PC (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR) and provides a realistic 360 gaming experience. See it in action:
Need to build an engaging 3D game? Explore our gaming portfolio and drop us a line to get in touch with our game development team by hitting the Get in Touch button below.