Despite a recent rollercoaster ride in exchange rates, the uncertainty of many and the outright cynicism of those who feel most threatened, the global embracing of cryptocurrency continues. And nowhere is this being more obviously seen than in iGaming, amongst the most dynamic of all industry and technology sectors.
Not only is the proliferation of online crypto casinos relentless, but we are now increasingly seeing those operators and sites that may be perceived as ‘old school’ beginning to accept crypto, alongside the traditional ‘fiat’ currencies issued by governments. The obvious question to ask is where is this all heading?
With the very welcome assistance of our colleagues at SOFTSWISS, we can bring the readers of Global Gambling News a peek at what might be happening in the near future…
Online gaming is experiencing a new phase
The iGaming sector is not only sensitive to the latest trends in technology, but also driven by them. Right now, the online gambling industry is going through its latest period of evolution, a period where an entire community of cryptocurrency players and operators is establishing itself.
The SOFTSWISS team is constantly monitoring changes within the crypto community, in order to provide the iGaming community with forecasts that are as accurate as possible. Its most recent report, covering its latest look at cryptocurrency data for the first half of 2022, compares the state of crypto with the same period last year. The data collected is based on results from the company’s most popular and successful products, the SOFTSWISS Casino Platform and the SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator.
Overall iGaming market growth
SOFTSWISS uses statistical indicators such as the Total Bet Sum to monitor the general conditions within the market, and any fluctuations. What this data confirms, not surprisingly, is that interest in iGaming is steadily increasing year by year. Compared to the first half of 2021, the sum of all bets placed showed a 46.4% surge for the same period in 2022. And equally significantly, the 2022 figure is 247% higher than that for the same period two years ago, in 2020.
Cryptos share of the overall spend
What may surprise many, is that according to the SOFTSWISS data, gathered from across their partner and client projects, is that of all the total bets volume for the first half of this 2022 year, 34.8% was placed using cryptocurrencies. And whilst it may be true to say that the SOFTSWISS audience operates very much within the highest of hi-tech areas of the iGaming business, where trends accelerate rapidly, a share of almost 35% has to be taken seriously.
Those with concerns about the volatility of crypto will also point at the fact that if we analyse the iGaming performance ratio between crypto and ‘fiat’ over the first two quarters of 2022, we see that crypto’s share has actually declined by 2.37%. Vitali Matsukevich, Chief Operating Officer at SOFTSWISS, is confident that this tendency is short-term.
“This slight decline during the second quarter should not affect the overall trend towards an increase in the cryptocurrency share of the total volume of bets. We have been seeing stable growth for several years, which contributes to the further development of crypto gambling.
“A crypto community is growing among players. The interests of this audience now largely influence the growth of the whole industry. Operators that meet the needs of this community gain a competitive advantage and become market leaders.”
As endorsements of contemporary trends go, it does not get more affirmative than that.
More than just Bitcoin
As you would expect, Bitcoin (BTC) remains the most popular digital currency in the iGaming industry, just as it is the most popular digital currency for online traders and shoppers. Over the first half of 2022, 71.2% of all crypto iGaming transactions took place using Bitcoin. However, SOFTSWISS have reported a notable trend in the growth of Ethereum (ETC), with its 7% rise in usage during the same period lifting it to a highest ever total share of almost 15%. The third most popular crypto gaming currency is Litecoin (LTH), with a 6.15% total share, a rise of 2.15% on the 2021 period.
The complete list of top cryptocurrencies in the iGaming sector for both 2021 and 2022 is contained within the full SOFTSWISS report, which is available here.
So, what will the next move be?
Despite a slight decline in cryptocurrency betting and iGaming through the second quarter of this year, the bigger overall picture very clearly demonstrates that cryptocurrencies are continuing to penetrate deeper into the iGaming industry, as they are with all areas of entertainment.
That said, it is still very early days and the twin impacts of regulation – globally – and diversification – inevitably – are still yet to be truly felt. Both will have a significant impact of the coming few years, and especially on iGaming, as the COO at SOFTSWISS, Vitali Matsukevich, concludes:
“Stricter regulation of crypto operations, of course, will have an impact on the development speed of this business area. However, the huge potential of crypto projects and, accordingly, interest from leading industry representatives will play a decisive role.
“We will see further growth in this niche combined with a new non-standard approach to the gamification of the playing process with novelties such as NFT and tokens.”
It is a familiar cliché when composing this type of piece to make a passing reference to the Bob Dylan song, “The Times They are a-changin,” but the fact is this, Bob’s lyrics may be more appropriate in this case than in the numerous previous examples! The times are changing, and what is more, across the gaming and gambling industries, they are changing faster than they ever have before. Few of us will have ever experienced anything a seismic as the emergence of cryptocurrency and it is a wave that we must surely attempt to ride with all the skill and composure that we can find.