The iGaming industry has consistently led in technological innovation, from the early days of digital poker games to the immersive online casinos emerging today.
With innovations and trends set to further transform the player experience, here’s what we think the next decade holds for online casino and sports betting.
1. Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is a technology that will undoubtedly redefine online gambling. We have already seen VR integration in the online casino space, but wide-scale adoption has so far been limited by the need for users to own expensive headsets and goggles.
As VR technology advances and becomes more accessible, we expect to see fully immersive experiences offered to a larger number of players, transporting them into digital worlds that mirror the excitement of a land-based casino, without leaving their homes.
Players can anticipate lifelike interactions with virtual dealers and other gamblers, creating a social environment that goes beyond the limitations of traditional online platforms, allowing players to read opponents’ expressions and gestures in real time.
Cutting-edge graphics and realistic simulations will enhance the visual and auditory aspects of gaming, making the user experience more engaging. The integration of artificial intelligence will also allow for personalization of gameplay, tailoring it to individual preferences and skill levels.
2. Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrency is another innovation that has been influencing the industry for a few years now, enabling faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions for players. Offering crypto payment methods not only reduces security risk for operators but also diversifies their audience and decreases the operational costs associated with payment intermediaries.
Smart contracts, powered by blockchain, could streamline and automate aspects of operations, from transparent and instantaneous payouts to the creation of tamper-proof gaming protocols. Smart contracts also empower players to independently verify results, instilling a sense of trust in the gaming platform.
The borderless nature of cryptocurrencies allows for global participation, overcoming traditional banking challenges and providing users with a seamless gaming experience.
Esports has attracted a massive global audience in recent years. League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike are currently top-of-the-board in terms of popularity, and iGaming operators are capitalizing on this phenomenon by integrating esports betting into their product offerings.
Due to a lack of standardization and its relevant infancy, esports will continue to pose an exciting challenge for the industry. The market is distinctly different from that of conventional sports betting, so operators will need to further develop an understanding of the sport and its growing audience.
Sportsbooks will not be able to simply transfer the same strategies they have used for traditional sports betting and expect success. Factors such as the pace at which esports tournaments can change, or the larger levels of in-play data available, will mean operators have to tailor content for a whole new market sector.
Increased regulation, convergence with traditional sports, diversification of popular game titles, and the incorporation of AR and VR, are trends we expect to see emerging in the esports-iGaming space in the near future.
4. Enhanced Security Protocols
Security in the Igaming industry was a hot topic earlier this year following the September MGM cyberattack. This is not an isolated incident and many attacks go unreported, but they are likely to become more commonplace due to the industry becoming a key target for cybercriminals.
In response to the rising risk of security issues, the industry will continue to increase its focus on adapting to emerging threats. Blockchain integration, as mentioned earlier, will help iGaming platforms enhance their security infrastructure. Due to its decentralized nature, blockchain can provide transparent and secure transactions, reducing the risks associated with financial transactions.
Biometric authentication, including fingerprint and facial recognition, could become more prevalent, adding an extra layer of identity verification for users. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are anticipated to play a crucial role in proactive threat detection, helping to identify and mitigate potential security risks.
4. Corporate Social Responsibility
The industry is producing an increasing amount of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) content, reflecting a growing awareness of iGaming’s social and environmental impact.
Last week we saw a significant emphasis on responsible gambling (RG) in the UK market, as Safer Gambling Week brought the industry together to address these issues.
The consensus that operators must be involved in ensuring responsible gambling RG is certainly not new. However, we are likely to see more of these concrete CSR initiatives and actions in iGaming, involving collaborations with responsible gambling organizations to promote player well-being, such as implementing robust self-exclusion programs and accessible tools for managing gambling habits.
We are already seeing a trend of gamification being used to encourage responsible gambling habits. Features such as achievement badges for setting and adhering to limits, or rewards for taking breaks, are likely to become more common.
AI could also play a crucial role in identifying patterns of behavior associated with problem gambling. These technologies can enable real-time monitoring of player activity, allowing for early intervention when signs of harmful behavior emerge.
The future of iGaming is entering another transformative era characterized by technological development and a commitment to responsible practices.
As the industry charts its course into the next decade, it aspires to redefine online entertainment, offering players not only enhanced gaming experiences but also a safer and more responsible environment.