Expected Evolution in the Online Casino and Slot Industry
As the year 2021 begins to wind down, we take a look at what we can expect in terms of the evolution of the online casino games and online slots. A lot of great innovations are on the horizon that we believe could completely change the face of the entire industry.
Exploring Where the Online Casino Industry is Heading Next
Over the past couple of decades, we have seen the online casino industry as a whole make several major changes. We’ve seen changes in regulation as well as changes in the games that are popular. Additionally, technological changes have led to a complete overhaul of how we enjoy the games.
As we look forward over the next decade, we can anticipate some changes that are likely to come.
We have several predictions about what will and will not happen as the industry evolves. This covers regulatory changes, technology changes and the fashion of the most popular titles. In what follows, we’ll break down these predictions and why we think they are the case. However, this will not only include things that we think will happen. It will also include things we think will not happen in the industry.
Over time, we’ve seen the industry start off as being completely unregulated. From there, we had some form of regulations in some parts of the world. However, this eventually shifted to many countries having at least fairly serious regulatory bodies at the time of this writing.
This leaves the question of what will change in terms of regulations over the next 10 years? We think a few key points sum up what we can expect:
- First, we think it’s very unlikely that many countries that already have it regulated will ban it. The governments of these countries are generally strapped for cash as it is. Since regulating the gambling industry online brings them revenue, we don’t think they’ll cut it out.
- Second, we expect more places to regulate the industry than already do. One good example of this is the United States where we expect full coverage eventually. Another couple of good examples are African and South American countries where the industry is not yet regulated.
- Third, we believe that more countries and regulatory jurisdictions will start working together. This could come in the form of unified guidelines for the games. However, it could also come in the form of unified betting pools for player-vs-player games like poker or sports betting markets.
In any event, we think things will definitely become more global. Because we’ve seen every other industry become more global in this sense, we expect it to happen here as well. It’s already been started in that direction. However, we definitely expect to see a strong continuation of that trend.
The Evolution of Casino Games
Ten years is a long time in terms of game development. However, if we look over the past 25 years of the online casino industry, not a lot has changed. Note that we mean that in terms of the types of games being played. It’s still largely video slots that get the most attention.
With that said, we have seen some innovation in other areas. Live dealer games in particular have gotten a lot of increased competition in recent years. There’s no reason to think that won’t continue since there’s so much room for creativity there. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only space that could see innovation.
Across the next decade, we expect some more genres to get new life breathed into them. While live dealer games is one of those, it’s not the only one. We suspect that titles with new styles of social tie-ins, especially those set up in a way that will be good for streaming, will take off. Poker is one of these because of the competitive elements. Additionally, exciting aspects due to the combination of luck and skill also come into play.
With that said, casino tournaments could also become big for similar reasons. They combine luck and skill in certain ways, and when you add the social elements that you have similar to poker tables, you end up with a similar dynamic.
While online slots will probably still be the most popular, we don’t think they will dominate as much. They may still have a majority of the play, but their lead over second place is something we think shrinks.
Incorporating More Technological Advances
If you’ve been around the online casino industry for a while, you may remember the first mobile games. They were clunky, Java-based applets that had severe limitations. The technology was definitely there to have legitimate, real-money play. However, it was so limited that it wasn’t really something that players got super invested in.
Fast forward to now, and mobile play accounts for more than 50 percent of all online casino bets placed. Screen sizes increased, the infrastructure to send and receive data improved and so on. These advances allowed for a much better experience now than what we had then.
Keeping this situation in mind and the progress that ensued, consider the case for virtual reality. While virtual reality games have been out for a few years at this point, they aren’t particularly outstanding. It’s cool that they exist at all. However, they mostly feel like playing a regular game with something strapped to your head. Nothing in particular stands out about them in terms of gameplay that you can’t get from mobile or desktop play.
Likewise, if we fast forward by a decade, we could see massive advances just like we saw for mobile. In fact, we’d go so far to say that this is the safest bet from all of our predictions. We really feel like virtual reality advances are going to be the next frontier in the same sense as mobile. At some point, we fully expect VR casino play to be the norm and the majority of bets.
What We Don’t Think Will Happen
First and foremost, we don’t think smartwatches are going to get more of the market than they already have. A push has already been tried in a major way to get slots going on that platform. However, it’s just not that viable. Not enough people have them, and the ones who do are literally walking around with a phone as well. Since the phone gives a superior experience on the same games, we can’t see smartwatch-based games taking off.
Something else we don’t think will happen is much evolution in terms of online slots. If we look at the games we have now, and we compare them to the ones from 25 years ago when the online sector first started kicking off, the only real differences we’d notice is in some of the formats (eg: more ways to win) and the graphics and presentation. No serious improvements have been made outside of those two areas in 25 years. We don’t suspect that will change over the next 10.
Finally, we really don’t expect too much of an increase in interest for classic casino games. Roulette, Baccarat and blackjack all have their place, and plenty of people love them. However, we fully believe slots will still continue to dominate by far.
Everything about our predictions are based on our extensive experience covering the industry. While we may end up being wrong about some of these, we strongly feel that the vast majority of them will be proven to be accurate.