This time of year is always a time for trying to anticipate the coming year’s most likely trends as you walk the aisles at ICE London, taking in all that is promised and hoping for inspiration and excitement.
And so we shall also look ahead and, with the help of our friends at software supplier and aggregator, Slotegrator, speculate as to what 2023 might have in store in terms of both new markets and new technological directions.
Markets demonstrating exciting potential
Industry analysts are forecasting an estimated value for the online gaming market of $113.12bn by 2025, with certain territories demonstrating particularly exciting potential.
Latin America – Working towards regulatory reform
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia and Chile have long grabbed headlines, with Brazil referred to as a ‘sleeping giant’. New legislation is now pending in Brazil and the country’s online GGR is expected to grow to around $1.6bn by 2026.
Among other countries working towards regulatory reform are Bolivia and Mexico, with Colombia updating legal provisions to better adapt to the digital age.
Latin American players prefer online gambling due to lack of access to land-based options, and popular games are sports betting, slots, bingo and poker.
Asia – Several rapidly growing economies
Asia is diverse and densely populated, with several rapidly growing economies. And, whilst regulations are mostly tight, there is a drive to liberalisation. Thailand is currently discussing details of market regulation, Vietnam is testing a casino pilot programme and even some Indian states in are considering regulating online gambling.
The Japanese gambling market is limited, although players do spend around $40bn each year on foreign sportsbooks.
Chinese players are known for visits to offshore casinos, chiefly live games based in the Philippines, Macau and Hong Kong. Apart from the national lottery, gambling is prohibited throughout mainland China, although Chinese gamblers spend heavily on online gambling, much of it in cryptocurrency.
Despite its complicated regulatory landscape, with laws varying by state, the Indian market is rich in potential. A national regulator was recently established and, in 2022, total revenue in the casino gaming sector was projected to reach $1bn within a few years. With a population of 1.3bn, increasing internet connectivity and growing mobile usage, India has huge potential for operators who can localise their offering to include the likes of rummy and cricket betting.
As for the CIS, Georgia and Armenia are promising. Both are attractive for tourists, with gambling sectors that grow rapidly each year. In Georgia, operators can offer online casino games and sportsbooks if they have a license for a land-based project. Neighbouring Armenia has gambling participation rates roughly six times those of the UK.
Africa – A universal passion for sports
Africa’s most attractive markets are Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. The latter is the continent’s largest market, with a GGR projected to reach $2.3bn by 2023. Africans enjoy a range of online casino games, and this trend is growing, but their main passion remains sports betting. The economic potential of these countries is demonstrated by increasing incomes leading to a growing middle class, a spread of internet access, the low price of computers and smartphones allowing more people to go online and a general improvement in gambling taxation and legislation.
Europe – Established leaders & promising new territories
Europe has always been a fertile iGaming market, with established leaders and promising new territories. The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) estimates that in 2022, total GGR in Europe grew by 23% to €108.5bn, with online gambling revenues growing to €38.2bn.
Scandinavian countries have strong economies, but each has different regulations. Denmark and Sweden are regulated and growing, and both online casinos and sports betting are popular.
The UK and Ireland have preferences for sports betting. Online betting is regulated, as are online casinos, but sportsbooks are more popular among players. They are also popular in France, as is poker. Belgian players enjoy a variety of casino games, especially dice. In Germany, gambling used to be allowed only in land-based casinos, but recently approved regulation allows online casinos and betting.
The Baltic countries have seen economic growth and regulatory development. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia offer licensing for online casinos and sportsbooks. Players prefer the online versions of traditional games like poker, blackjack and baccarat. Everything players are used to seeing in land-based casinos is well-received on online platforms.
Switzerland and Poland offer outstanding opportunities. Switzerland is one of the world’s most developed countries in terms of nominal GDP per capita, though regulation for online gambling has been introduced relatively recently. Poland is the sixth largest economy in the EU, and with a population comparable to its western neighbours, it is likely that its iGaming market will strengthen in the coming years.
The Slotegrator Summary
“Each market has its own demand and combination of several factors: regulation, economy, culture and habits,” says Ayvar Gabidullin, Business Development Manager at Slotegrator.
“Our team studied the specifics of each market, and we are focused on these regions and confidently recommend them to our clients and partners.”
What’s new in technology?
As we all know, the software ‘gurus’ and game developers are forever trying to surprise the rest of us with the next ‘big thing’, the most cutting-edge offerings in design and graphics, gameplay, payment methods, rewards system and more. These are the guys and girls who embrace new technologies as soon as they appear and in 2023, things will be no different. And so here are the top three technological innovations that will rock the world of gaming in 2023…
- Artificial Intelligence
Today’s iGaming operators have to make decisions based on a massive and constantly changing flow of information. This phenomenon, known as Big Data, is described by three Vs: Volume, Variety and Velocity.
Operators need all this data presented in a clear and cohesive manner. Besides information about industry trends, competitor behaviour, latest innovations and market insights, there are statistics that the casino itself generates, and this is no less important.
Business Intelligence modules, such as that available from Slotegrator, perform real-time analytics, presenting data in digestible reports that operators can use to make informed decisions. For example, bonus abuse is common among online casino users. Abusers use VPNs, different devices and false identities, making it increasingly tricky to identify well-intentioned players. Artificial Intelligence and Risk Management modules automate this process, saving operators time and money while protecting them from undue risk. Casino Managers are provided with statistics and alerts about suspicious activity, allowing them to take measures in real time.
- Bots that work as a complete platform
Bots are accounts or channels that have Artificial Intelligence software, and not a real person, behind them. They can do anything – chat, play, search, etc. – and can be opened with a link or shared by users.
Many businesses use bots to automate processes, but their capabilities go way beyond using ‘chatbots’ for customer service. Slotegrator’s Telegram Casino, for example, offers the full online casino experience through a bot in the popular messaging application.
The bot’s algorithm is simple and intuitive for any user. And bots are easily spread. Telegram bots can accept payments, integrate with other services, customise notifications and create games.
Telegram Casino is an alternative way for the backend management system to control every aspect of the casino – notifications, newsletters, content, components, etc. It is fully synchronized with an online platform, including bonus modules and various payment methods and currencies, and can be a stand-alone platform or function as part of an established online casino.
The main difference between navigating a normal website and interacting with a bot is simplicity. Whereas searching for something on a web platform can be time-consuming, Telegram chat is much quicker and takes fewer clicks to achieve the same result. This ease of access is also potentially a great advantage when entering new markets and attracting new players.
- NFT and Blockchain technologies
As many as 15% of the world’s casinos now support Bitcoin transactions, and this is only the beginning. Blockchain technologies provide increased speed and security for processing transactions, both indisputable advantages.
Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are another Blockchain technology that can be used to engage players. NFTs are irreplaceable digital tokens which can hold value, like works of art. Physical money and cryptocurrencies are ‘fungible’ which means they can be traded or exchanged. The use of NFTs to increase player retention is spreading throughout iGaming.
Aviatrix has already created a NFT-Based B2B iGaming Solution, which allows players to customise the NFT that serves as their avatar during gameplay in a ‘crash’ game. The game has a unique NFT-based lifetime loyalty program. Players choose from various aircraft models to serve as their avatar and have a chance to participate in daily prize tournaments. This type of game is certain to grow in popularity.
The Slotegrator Summary
“The gambling industry is not afraid of new things, it is our strength and opportunity for the development on a whole new level,” says Ayvar Gabidullin.
“We are working in the era of digitalisation and we need to create entirely new products from scratch or understand how to adapt new technologies in our products, because that is how we can offer our customers products that exceed the expectations.”