iGaming – The New Definition of Wealth & Sports
The iGaming industry – an umbrella term covering real money gaming and wagering activities, such as online poker and sports betting – has snowballed in growth since the turn of the 21st century. Continued technological advancement and the emergence of the digital era have kept the industry at the forefront, and there are now thousands of online platforms, mobile apps, and innovative games that are flooding the marketplace.
The exponential rise in popularity of online casino games, wagering opportunities, and virtual poker tournaments has helped to create an industry that is now worth over $46 billion as of 2017. This is thanks to recent developments in the US that have given real money gaming industries a resurgence in states like Delaware and Pennsylvania; coupled with the emergence of online poker in India, it’s expected that by the year 2026 online iGaming activities will generate revenues as high as $123 billion.
As with every year, we can expect innovation to play a big role in the continued growth and success of the industry in 2020 and beyond, so what’s on the horizon for iGaming in this new decade?
With the rise of innovative poker variations like hyperspeed sit & go max tournaments, Virtual Reality poker on Steam and Oculus and crypto poker, it’s clear that players today are seeking experiences to enjoy as much as they are the opportunity to compete for real money prizes. As such, we predict that the trend for enhanced gameplay will only continue in this sector, with the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) into online poker games.
Up until now, this technology has predominantly been used by the console and hyper-casual gaming genres – you’ve no doubt heard of Pokémon Go during the past few years – but in 2020 we will begin to see augmented reality making its way into both online poker rooms and online casinos.
AR will offer new, enhanced gaming experiences that will enable players to enjoy a 360-degree experience of live online games, without the need for expensive virtual reality hardware. It will add elements of realism into games and tournaments, increasing interaction between players, casino staff and even dealers.
An emphasis on content creation
We now live in a world where streaming content over the internet is more popular than watching traditional TV shows and movies. It’s natural, then, that the iGaming industry will also join this wave in 2020, with live casino game shows emerging to compete with the big-name social sites and applications like Facebook Live, Twitch and YouTube.
Twitch has already played a prominent role in the development of iGaming so far, with its extensive community not just streaming footage of their games, but also sharing educational content – this makes casino and poker gaming that much more appealing and accessible to the digital generations. The latest trend to take this social engagement a step further is live game-show style real-money competitions, which are streamed and broadcast live over the internet.
Online casinos themselves are also attempting to become more social with their offerings, introducing games in which players can compete in teams, publishing free to play social casinos apps, and investing more and more into their social media budgets, with an enhanced presence on the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
21st-century customer experience
It’s hard to think of a global business sector that hasn’t been impacted by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its usual partner in crime, Machine Learning, these days. Moving forward into this year and it’s unlikely that the iGaming industry will be the exception since more and more platforms and brands are seeking ways to integrate this advanced tech into their services.
Automation will have a two-fold effect on a player’s experience on a gaming or betting website. Firstly, it can be used to analyze a gamer’s habits and preferences, generating a more personalized playing experience through curated games, thereby eliminating the need for manual searching.
But it will also have a transformative effect on customer support. Some online gaming platforms already use AI tools like chatbots to help site visitors and resolve customer queries, and as the technology develops these bots will only get more sophisticated. Paired with Machine Learning, AI-based tools will be able to “evolve” with every use, becoming much more useful by anticipating a customer’s needs and personalizing their support requests.