The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated several major industries in 2020. One of the few sectors that continued its growth is the online casino industry, which has benefited from government-imposed quarantine regulations to keep people at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Guest author Joe Booth looks at the online casino market and what one can expect in terms of growth during the next decade. To find out more about Joe Booth, overview here.
Online casinos have been growing in popularity well before the pandemic, but as billions of people spend more time at home during the lockdown, online casinos have become even more popular. Long-time gamblers looking for some action are not the only main drivers of this boost. New players stuck at home are also looking for sources of entertainment, and online slots are one of the most convenient ways to keep safe nowadays.
The United States is expected to contribute significantly to the increase in the online casino market. Casino industry trends have bent toward the US as more states are opening up to the legal gambling market. Losses due to the pandemic have incentivized many of these states to fast-track their legal frameworks to host casinos, both land-based and online, in their territories. In the upcoming decade, we anticipate the US to take the lead in generating trends as their market grows.
The UK gambling market is also experiencing massive growth. Online slot games tend to be the most popular gaming category at UK casinos and UK players are always on the lookout for the best amatic games and niche slot games.
In this article, we provide a casino gaming industry overview, highlighting the top four innovations we expect will continue to drive the growth of the casino and gaming industry for years to come.
Cryptocurrencies are a godsend for players who value privacy and hate transaction fees above all. The most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but because of its popularity, the value of Bitcoin fluctuates wildly, making it an unwieldy coin to use while gambling online. Furthermore, the speculative value of Bitcoin may incentivize unscrupulous casino operators to delay payments to “ride the wave”, so to speak, of Bitcoin when it is on the rise, only paying out when the value declines.
We are more intrigued about the use of lesser-used coins such as Monero and Ethereum, both of which are the choice of players who prioritize privacy. Fiat options are likely to remain dominant for the next decade, but we expect more players to migrate to cryptocurrencies as it attains more mainstream acceptability.
Live Dealer Games
The main aspect that separates online casinos from their brick and mortar counterparts is the presence of live dealer games. Whatever your opinion of such games is, it is undeniable that, for many gamblers, socializing with peers and casino staff is a highlight of their visits. For long-time players, the personal touch offered by land-based casinos can be a real draw.
Online casinos have begun to make strides in the live game department, but still have some ways to go in terms of social interaction. Evolution’s live dealer games are at the forefront of this movement, and its dealers are featured prominently in-game posters.
As a frequent player of these titles, we do have a few favourite dealers – while they respond to chat messages, the interaction still pales in comparison to real-life dealers. We expect this to improve more in the future, as online live dealers become more used to interacting with players behind the camera.
Virtual reality (VR) is a space where online casinos have a distinct edge over their land-based peers. While games with VR technology can be played at a few select Las Vegas casinos, the bulk of the VR casino industry should remain exclusive for online casinos.
As VR becomes cheaper and more easily accessible for home users, you can expect more casino game developers to implement VR components in their games. Leading the charge is Netent, who recently unveiled a VR version of their famous Jack and Beanstalk slot. Emerging companies are expected to follow Netent’s lead, making VR-only online casinos a distinct possibility in the near-future.
The chief appeal of slots is its reliance on pure chance to output results. However, younger players are shying away from the variance, preferring a mixture of skill and luck in their slots.
Slots vendors have responded accordingly, by introducing slots that are influenced by video games, where luck is always a factor, but with a clear skill component. The skill component keeps gaming fresh and competitive, which is in line with how younger generations enjoy playing games as part of large groups.
Expect the online casino market to grow significantly during the next decade as more jurisdictions legalize online gambling and more players take to online gaming.