What's the Future of iGaming?
The iGaming industry is just over 25 years old, having seen the first online casinos launch in the mid-1990s. In that time the industry has grown massively, with estimates showing that the industry is now worth around $50 billion, and expectations that it will reach $80-90 billion by 2024.
It’s, therefore, safe to say that the future of iGaming is looking strong, with rapid growth expected in newer markets like the United States.
Where will this growth come from, and what will it look like?
Looking at Clues From the Past
Understanding where past growth has come from can help us to understand how iGaming will achieve future growth.
The first online casinos were incredibly popular because they made it more convenient for customers to play their favorite games, like roulette and blackjack. Previously, they would have to visit a physical casino, which may have required travelling to another town, state, or even country.
As soon as technology (computers and internet) and legislation changes made it possible for online casinos to open, the iGaming industry took off. This was repeated in the early 2010s when smartphones became mainstream and most consumers owned one, meaning players had the convenience of playing wherever they were, rather than having to be at home.
In both of these situations, the advancement in technology has made iGaming services more accessible and playing games more convenient. Changes in the legal environment, such as the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Act in 1994 also contributed heavily to this growth.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that future growth will come from legislation changes in other territories and advances in technology that make gaming more convenient and easier.
Sports Betting in the United States of America
To demonstrate this in a real-world example, the 2018 Supreme Court decision in the United States meant that each individual state could now set their own rules for sports betting, ending a Nevada monopoly.
The US will therefore likely be a big contributor to the size of the global iGaming industry. Although the growth will likely be slowed significantly during 2020, it’ll likely recover very quickly towards the end of the year.
Strong Competition Leading to Aggressive Promotions
In mature markets like Europe, and emerging markets like the United States, competition for market share is strong. This results in very attractive promotions being offered by iGaming brands in both online casino and sportsbook markets to encourage customers to use their service over a competitor. Promotions like free slot games are a common way for online casinos to attract new customers, particularly since many offer similar ranges of games from the same providers.
In the US, this is common among the new sports betting brands who offer free bets and bonus bets to new customers. These promotions can run into hundreds of dollars for each new customer, a significant sum designed to beat their competition.
Other New Territories?
Other parts of the world, in particular, Asian countries have stricter legislative environments that make it difficult for iGaming companies to operate. There are some signs that this may be changing, such as the approval for two land-based casinos to be opened in Japan (the country’s first).
What About New Technologies?
It’s not clear what new technologies will have the same impact as smartphones and computers. However, augmented and virtual reality marching into the mainstream and there is also a push for live casino games. The future looks both; promising and virtual.
Instead, it’s likely that the growth in iGaming will likely come from growing new markets, .