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What’s to see in ’23…

What’s to see in ’23…

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The year-end may not quite be upon us, but winter is certainly drawing in, the preparations for Christmas are well underway and it feels like time to start both reflecting and looking forwards.

2022 has felt like it has flown by, although this may partly be because the previous two years were so strangely surreal and, at certain times, dragged by so slowly. That said, in terms of business revitalisation, specifically in our industries, there has been much resetting and revitalisation in 2022 and, hopefully, much to look forward to in 2023.

So, what do we all think? How has our industry impacted upon the rest of the world in recent times, and what does the ‘Crystal Ball’ have in store for us all as we prepare for the year ahead?

Leading the digital economy

The gambling industry, and in particular sectors such as iGaming, betting and esports, are driven by a rich combination of high demand and intense competition. The pressure to constantly lead the way in technological evolution is huge. You guys are playing to an audience that always seems to want ‘newer, better, stronger, faster’. This hunger has resulted in our industry effectively becoming the breeding ground for technologies solutions that go on to enrich the wider digital economy.

The ‘multifunctionality’ of iGaming platforms – embracing gameplay, payments, security, affiliates etc – and the accessibility from almost any device, has set a bar that other areas can only follow. Similarly, the quality of the graphics, the speed, flexibility and ease of integration of these solutions are eye-opening. And it is reasonable to suggest that few other areas of consumer-facing industry or commerce are better exploring the opportunities presented by new payment methods, enhanced security, artificial intelligence or augmented reality.

And the point is, much of this forward-looking work has taken place over the past couple of years, accelerating rapidly these past 12 months, so we can look back over recent times with some satisfaction and much excitement for the future.

What will we see in ’23?

Looking ahead, the statisticians who study these things are forecasting that global gambling revenues will grow by 34% in 2023, with an average overall market growth of 7%. Driven in no small part by the ‘stay-at-home’ scenario enforced by the pandemic, there was a huge spike in interest in iGaming and this appears to have been sustained. It follows that the constant demand for innovative ideas and new experiences will continue. With the assistance of the big brains within the Business Intelligence Department at leading software supplier and aggregator, Slotegrator, we highlight some of the main trends to expect in 2023:

Changing Payments Ecosystem

The potentially ‘knee-jerk’ belief that interest in the credibility of cryptocurrencies is decreasing may, in reality, be premature. An entire generation of players is now used to using e-wallets, and cryptocurrencies are continuing to spread around the world. Those who have adopted and welcomed crypto are unlikely to return to cash, and of great relevance to the gambling sector is the anonymity that crypto provides. Crypto may go up and down more than traditional currencies, but it most definitely isn’t going away.

Attracting digital natives with mobile

The smartphone is the ‘Life Manager’ for the vast majority of adults under the age of about 55, and this very specifically includes the 21st century bettor and player. Everything they require for online gaming and betting simply has to be on their smartphone. This is now non-negotiable. And owners and operators of land-based activities should not see this as a threat, but an opportunity to attract a new and growing audience of digital natives.

New types of games

It is no longer enough to simply offer standard format slots, with Irish, Egyptian, nautical or Wild West themes. In order to stay competitive, as new ‘next-gen’ players arrive on the customer conveyor belt, providers will have to continue to create new types of games. It now seems that these will need to include elements such as NFT integration, or increased opportunities for the players themselves to be creative, as was the case, for example, with the October launch of Aviatrix’s crash game with a customisable NFT token.

Live Dealer Games

As previously mentioned, the massive move online was to some extent driven by the pandemic, but the popularity of live dealer games will continue long after restrictions have eased. For online casino owners, it is already a must-have option, as the interaction is beyond anything previously seen and, to be blunt, players trust live dealers more than they do a random number generator.

For the land-based sector, this is also an unprecedented opportunity to throw of the geographical limitations of bricks-and-mortar and attract an online audience from anywhere in the world. Live Dealer Games are hugely popular in the booming markets of Asia, India and Africa. Operators in Eastern Europe have been successful in using marketing techniques such as cashback, tournaments and welcome bonuses to attract players and keep them interested. In Western Europe, the UK is one of the main markets for Live Dealer Games, and Sweden can almost be considered the home of such games.

Ease of market entry

As service es have evolved, it has become ever easier to open an online casino, and the list of benefits such a business can deliver is an indication of why so many entrepreneurs are doing exactly that. Online casinos can target global audiences, player anonymity is guaranteed and the most popular game features now appear first in the digital format. Customer attraction and engagement tools continue to get more powerful all the time and it is no great surprise that analysts at Slotegrator have recorded a 15% increase in interest in opening online casinos with a digital platform in 2022. This growth will not slow down either.

Growth in stream betting

Finally, we are very much into the realm of the ‘bright young things’ engaging in activities that are light years away from where the mass market was as recently as just a few years ago. An increasing proportion of today’s bettors like to watch their bets play out in real time, hence the growth in streaming options. Stream betting is also very closely aligned to the esports audience, itself continuing to accelerate at an insane pace. This is because its visual and real time elements create confidence and trust. 2023 is sure to be a year of significant growth for all the ingredients within this particular mix.

The Final Word

Dmytro Kryvorchuk leads the sales team at Slotegrator, so we thought we would leave it with him to look beyond 2023, and give us a view on what developments the next five years might bring…

“We will see two main trends and the first will be casinos in the metaverse, and some companies are already renting space for this solution. The second trend will be virtual reality products. These are already of great interest to the gambling industry and there are start-ups offering these solutions. The market is beginning to think and act in this direction, and the prospects here are huge!”