Gambling has come a long way since people first played dice games against each other in the streets, with players now being able to enjoy a wide range of digital games of chance on the information superhighway. But while the internet has undoubtedly changed the way we gamble, have we already seen all it has to offer, or are there more changes on the horizon? Join us as we take a look at the future of online gambling beyond 2021.
Crypto payments will remain fairly niche
Many of us are still learning about cryptocurrencies (or just “cryptos”), a new system of payment that has undoubtedly been very hyped up by some individuals and has turned some of those who experimented with it early on into multimillionaires.
However, despite the allure of this form of payment, and the fact that some cryptocurrencies have been around for more than a decade, many governments are still sceptical about their role in our economic systems. Many policymakers are still struggling with the legalisation and regulation of this form of payment, which is why the adoption of crypto payments has been slow across many industries. This is also why – despite the benefits that crypto offers such as instant transactions, anonymity, and increased security – the number of online casinos that accept crypto payments is still few and far between.
Unfortunately, unless we have a rapid change in attitudes from our policymakers around the world, this situation is unlikely to change soon, so many of us will still be stuck using older and slower payment systems when we make a deposit to play games such as online blackjack.
Live dealer games will continue to grow their presence
Live dealer games may be a relatively new genre of online casino games, but these types of games are growing massively in popularity. There’s simply no clearer sign that the live dealer games are a force to be reckoned with in the industry than Evolution’s acquisition of Big Time Gaming in 2021, as well as its acquisition of NetEnt, NetEnt Casino, and Red Tiger in the same year. Both of these deals total almost £2 billion, and cement Evolution as the largest developer of live casino, online slots, and table games.
None of this would’ve been possible if it wasn’t for the massive success of Evolution’s portfolio of live dealer games. And who knows, maybe these live dealer games will replace their random number generator (RNG) casino game counterparts in the coming years. If Evolution’s meteoric growth is any indication, they just might.
More people will play on mobile devices
While mobile gaming in the early 2000s was limited to rudimentary games that didn’t even compare to their PC- and console-based counterparts, the birth of the smartphone in 2007 saw the mobile gaming industry explode in popularity. As mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have become more powerful and popular, the gap has closed between what’s available on other platforms and what these devices can offer. This has allowed game developers to bring some of their best experiences to the mobile platform.
But broader mobile gaming functionality isn’t the only reason why more people are opting to “go mobile”. Mobile gaming offers a number of other benefits that other gaming platforms don’t, including lower cost (for most devices), unique augmented reality gaming experiences such as Pokemon Go, and the convenience of being able to play wherever you go.
It’s benefits such as these that have helped contribute to mobile gaming’s year-on-year growth, as covered in the article, “Mobile gaming industry statistics and trends for 2021”, by Business of Apps and SocialPeta. This piece highlighted a number of major trends, but one of the most important was the 12% growth in the number of players, bringing the total mobile gamer base to more than 2.5 billion people!
Online casinos and sportsbooks will further embrace eSports betting
Competitive video gaming, or eSports, has come a long way since Dennis Fong – the first professional gamer, according to the Guinness World Records – took home a Ferrari after winning a video game tournament all the way back in 1997. Today, some eSports tournaments offer prize pools totalling more than $30 million (£21.3 million), with individual players walking away with roughly $3 million each for a first-place finish.
Growth isn’t only taking place for competitors directly within the industry. In its article, “The incredible growth of eSports (+ eSports statistics)”, the Influencer Marketing Hub described the various ways the industry as a whole is increasing. These factors include:
- Viewership – European viewership of eSports grew from 79 million in 2018 to 92 million in 2020.
- Awareness – Early investigations into eSports awareness in 2015 showed that only 800,000 people had heard of it. This number was estimated to be at about 2 billion in 2020.
- Platforms offering live eSports coverage – More than 220 million hours of content have been streamed by Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube Gaming Live. This is likely to include a significant number of hours dedicated exclusively to the eSports industry.
- The time people spend watching eSports – More than 28 million hours were spent watching the League of Legends European Championship, while the PUBG Mobile World League racked up over 33 million viewing hours.
- The role of brands and eSports’ revenue growth – Brands have played a major role in the growth of eSports, having already contributed almost $1 billion (£710k) in different ways, including sponsorships, media rights, publisher fees, and merchandising and tickets.
- Visible growth in eSports tournaments – While 2020 has caused some setbacks for the industry, the total prize money for 5,288 tournaments was $234,433,656 (that’s just under £166.5 million) in 2019, which marked an increase of 42% over 2018’s prize pool.
With such fantastic growth in this scene, it’s unsurprising that some sportsbooks and online casinos have started to offer eSports betting. This will continue as the audience for this new industry grows, and more fans want to take part in betting on their favourite players and teams.
VR will become more accessible, meaning more and better VR casinos
The release of the first mainstream virtual-reality headset, the Oculus Rift, would set you back $599.99 in 2016 (approximately £426 by the latest currency conversion rates). Today, the Oculus Quest 2, a completely mobile VR headset that doesn’t require a powerful gaming PC, goes for half the price, at $299.99. As prices on these devices come down, more people are likely to purchase a virtual reality device and try out the wide variety of experiences on offer – which, of course, includes VR casinos.
While VR casinos are currently extremely niche, developers recognise that there is huge potential in this market, and will vie to be the first in this space when VR gaming finally goes mainstream. While it’s undoubtedly a risky venture right now, those that have the courage (and deep pockets) to start building VR casinos for the future are likely to cash in when VR gaming really picks up – and we’ll be there to see it happen!
Enjoy the best online casino games in the here and now
While the future of online gambling is undoubtedly very exciting, if you’re interested in the best mobile casino experience today, you can find it at The Phone Casino. We have a wide variety of great games to entertain you at our online casino, from online roulette to online scratchcards, so you’ll be sure to have a great time, no matter what you like to gamble on. Until the future arrives, register at The Phone Casino to join in the fun!