Online gambling has blossomed into a hugely lucrative sector in recent times and that trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Advancements in technology have transformed the industry, effectively making gambling an entertainment activity that can be undertaken 24/7/365.
Experts have predicted that global online gambling revenues will top $65 million by the end of 2021 and continue to rise at a rapid rate thereafter.
As with any fast-moving industry, the online gambling sector will undoubtedly continue to evolve, so read on as we look at some of the best trends to follow over the next few years.
The creation of the internet sparked a massive resurgence in the popularity of bingo and it is once again firmly established as a mainstream social activity.
Innovative operators such as Wink Bingo have developed excellent online bingo sites over the past few years that have introduced the iconic game to a much broader demographic.
The social element remains an important part of modern bingo and the incorporation of chatrooms alongside the games allows people to interact with other players.
Future innovations may include the use of video communications technology such as Zoom, allowing players to enjoy enhanced social interactions when playing bingo.
Virtual reality (VR) tech could also be a game-changer, providing players with the opportunity to transport themselves into ‘real-life’ bingo settings.
5G connectivity is one of the biggest tech advancements of the 21st century and it is expected to positively impact many aspects of online gambling.
One of its greatest benefits will be speed, with the data transfer offered by 5G pitched between 1GB/sec and 50GB/sec – figures that blow 4G out of the water.
This has the potential to allow developers to create casino and bingo games that will resemble the quality of console games, regardless of the device you use.
5G will undoubtedly prove to be most beneficial for mobile gambling, thus driving further growth in a sector that is already booming.
The improvements in wireless internet speeds will also revolutionise sports betting, with operators able to utilise the tech to significantly ramp up their live in-play offering.
eSports has come a long way since being cruelly pegged as a pursuit for spotty teenagers and socially awkward young adults.
According to recent research by Statista, global eSports market revenue is expected to reach almost $1.6 billion in 2023.
With major broadcasters and sponsors clamouring to jump on the bandwagon, that prediction may ultimately turn out to be on the conservative side.
Gambling operators are also expected to drive growth in the sector as they seek to capitalise on the growing interest in eSports around the world.
Official partnerships with leagues, tournaments, players and teams will become the norm as betting firms follow the path that served them so well in traditional sports.
Awareness of the need to keep personal information safe and secure has transformed the way that people pay for goods and services.
Society progressed effortlessly from cash to card payments, before e-Wallets arrived on the scene to ramp things up another notch.
However, history has shown that the payments sector rarely stands still and cryptocurrencies could well be the ‘next big thing’ for gambling companies.
Payment methods such as Bitcoin have been threatening to make a major breakthrough over the past few years and the time now looks right for this to happen.
The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency payments heightens their appeal to gamblers and it would be a major surprise if they are not commonplace over the next couple of years.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already made huge inroads into modern society and it looks set to become even more prevalent in the future.
Gambling operators have already been investigating how they can leverage the tech in order to enhance the offering on their sites.
Automated customer service bots and use of smart data are amongst the ways that AI is already featuring within the gambling sector.
AI also has the potential to improve detection of problem gamblers, thus creating an environment where people with an issue can be prevented from ruining their life.
The tech may also be used to identify dishonest gamblers who use software or other manipulative practices to cheat on online sites.
VR tech was mentioned earlier as a potential game-changer for bingo and other sectors of gambling could also be revolutionised by the tech.
In simple terms, VR creates an artificial environment and presents it in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.
Developers such as Evolution Gaming and NetEnt have already invested significant resources into VR and the fruits of their labour should not be too far away.
VR has the capability of making casino games far more immersive, allowing users to mimic the experience they would enjoy in a land-based venue.
Many people dream of visiting casinos in Las Vegas or Monte Carlos, and VR tech will allow them to do that from the comfort of their own home.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has generated huge excitement in technology circles and it is likely to have a major impact on the gambling industry.
The IoT is the ethos behind a culture where all devices with an internet connection share data with each other in order to make elements of daily life more efficient.
Slots are just one genre within online gambling where the IoT could have a major influence, particularly with regards to personalisation of the gameplay experience.
Personal settings and preferences could be automatically updated via the IoT as the player traverses through different slots on the internet.
With global revenues IoT tech already smashing through the $100bn barrier, it is easy to see why online casinos are eager to find ways to leverage it to their advantage.