The global online gambling industry has been constantly evolving since it began to gain popularity in the late 1990s. In 1997, the number of online casinos grew to over 200. Global annual revenues from online gambling reached 1 billion US dollars (897 million euros).
By comparison, according to a report by Statista, in 2020 the global online gambling industry was valued at US$66.7 billion (€59.3 billion). By next year (2023), it is expected to reach 92.9 billion US dollars (82.6 billion euros). Needless to say, the iGaming industry is a money-making machine and keeping up with the latest tech trends is what fuels its popularity.
For 2022, several trends are predicted. Online casinos in the UK and Europe will need to stay abreast of these developments if they are to remain competitive. Some of these trends include:
Improved security and safer gaming practices
It’s no secret that Britons seek out the most trusted UK casinos to enjoy their favorite slots, table games and live dealer games. No company these days can be too careful when it comes to cybersecurity or providing players with a safe, reliable and responsible gaming environment.
Over the next year, maintaining legal compliance will continue to grow in importance. This includes rigorous KYC (Know Your Customer) processes to prevent fraud, other criminal activity and to protect minors. Responsible gambling efforts (self-exclusion, setting limits, etc.) will also play an important role. Other notable security trends in 2022 include two-factor authentication, advanced login (e.g., facial recognition), and faster withdrawal times.
Decentralized gaming continues to rise within the industry, with many online platforms choosing to accept cryptocurrency as part of their payment services. Even some of the most well-known platforms that offer iGaming software solutions, like SkillOnNet and SOFTSWISS, offer Bitcoin and other encryption options to their online casino business partners.
Although traditional FIAT payments will remain the main option on most of the biggest gambling sites in the UK and Europe in 2022, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and many others will start to dominate the industry, because of security, anonymity and fast deposit/withdrawal speed. they offer players. Not to mention, as NFTs and the Metaverse become more prominent, the demand for blockchain casinos will only increase.
VR and AR game
While several VR casinos currently exist, as the metaverse evolves and immersive experiences become more desired and common, there will be a new push for VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (reality mixed). Currently, online casinos that offer VR experiences not only include games, but also more advanced technologies like 3D avatars, gesture imitation, and live interactions. As one can imagine, the digital poker experience could be completely revolutionized by virtual reality as it will look more like the real thing.
That said, while these technologies are slowly gaining traction, it will take a few more years before VR and AR technology in online casinos really takes off. This is largely due to the cost of helmets and other equipment required for the experience.
Improved gaming experience
Younger generations are not interested in traditional slot machines and casino games. As such, software vendors will face the challenge of creating more interactive video game-style entertainment that combines gaming with social and with skill. Likewise, more online casinos will need to incorporate incentivized gamification features to keep players interested and immersed in the experience. This can include challenges, tournaments, collecting points or special casino currency, etc.
In addition to entertainment, over time gamers will demand a fast, smooth and seamless iGaming experience. This means a faster sign up or no sign up process, instant and/or same day withdrawals, easy navigation and a responsive user interface regardless of device.
Mobile and wearable technology
The latest trends in mobile gaming will be for online casinos to go beyond the basic requirements of just having an app. Operators should make it as easy as possible for new users to register an account and include a module technology stack with their app to enable or disable features as needed. Additionally, discoverability optimization will be important to provide users with quick access to relevant games.
Apart from smartphones, betting on wearable devices, such as smartwatches, will also gain popularity. Creating an ideal experience for this device presents many challenges due to the small and different screen sizes, as well as the large number of proprietary operating systems. However, gaming providers, like Playtech, have already seen the potential in the handheld gaming market and have started designing slot apps for Apple Watches.
The rise of online casinos
Last but not least, beyond all the growing trends listed above, one thing is certain, 2022 will see more casinos thrive on the internet compared to their land-based brethren. The future of gaming is definitely online.