The iGaming industry has been on an explosive trajectory over the past decade, and there is little sign of things slowing down any time soon. Although regulation has become widespread throughout Europe already, much of the rest of the world is lagging a long way behind. This means that, for all the growth we have seen, there could be much more on the way moving forward.
Predicting the future is always a tricky business, and never an exact science. That said, examining the fastest growing trends of the past twelve months will often provide some indication of what we can expect to see during the following year. Using this method,we identify some of the trends which are likely to continue to grow during 2022:
Blurred Lines: Gaming, or Gambling?
There has been a lot of debate over the past year or two regarding the inclusion of so-called “surprise mechanics” in popular video games. The term surprise mechanics was used by a representative of Electronic Arts who likened the Ultimate Team feature in their hugely successful FIFA series of soccer games to the children’s toy Kinder Surprise. Some countries and regulators believe these features must be classified as gambling, whilst others do not.
At the same time, complex online slots with role playing game type features have been surging in popularity. The two major mobile platforms have had “free” slots of this nature in their app stores for a long time, but developers of online slots have questioned if gamblers would be willing to accept games where the biggest wins can only be unlocked through a continued investment of both time and money.
The developers of iGaming software are clearly being inspired by video games, and vice-versa, but how far this trend can go is still up for debate.
Technology in Live Casino Games
If “loot boxes” in video games do become widely recognized as a form of online gambling, then it would be a fair guess that the current generation of gaming consoles will end up being targeted as another platform for regular online gambling, too. This would be especially advantageous for the live casino industry, who are eager to get their Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality tables into the homes of a wider player-base.
Live casino games are already extremely popular with players at the best online casino in Canada. The development of this technology would not only provide an enhanced experience for those current fans of live blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and so forth, but it could attract a whole new type of player to this type of gaming and gambling.
Sales of virtual reality headsets are yet to take off in a huge way, but many would argue that the software support just hasn’t quite reached critical mass yet. Opening up the iGaming industry to PlayStation VR owners would likely tempt more developers to create top quality live casino games, or maybe something new to blur the lines even more?
Further Regulation & Legalization
The United States should know as well as any other country in the world that prohibition simply doesn’t work. When America tried to ban alcohol in the early 20th century, it instantly created a huge black market which organized crime was more than happy to satisfy. A similar situation has been happening in modern times with online gambling in the USA, something which individual states have thankfully recognized and sought to resolve in the absence of any federal legislation.
Citizens of the United States are far more likely to end up getting ripped off while gambling online than their European counterparts – a direct result of the slow pace of regulation in the American market. Almost half of the states in the USA now have some form of legalized online gambling, a trend that looks sure to continue in 2022.
Which Way for Crypto?
When Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies exploded in popularity around 2017, they seemed like the perfect way for players to participate in online gambling. The first cryptocurrency-based casinos used the same algorithms which secured their payments to prove the legitimacy of their games to players. This trend seemed to fade away, with cryptocurrencies instead becoming just another payment method.
Now, governments around the world appear to be worried by the entire concept of cryptocurrency altogether. Some countries have banned cryptocurrency exchanges entirely, whilst others have passed laws to track the buying and selling of these “virtual” assets. This has made currencies such as Bitcoin less useful for otherwise law-abiding citizens who were merely using crypto to get around banking restrictions, as well as making them far less attractive to criminals for money laundering.
Will cryptocurrency continue to have a place in the iGaming industry? The numbers don’t look good at present, especially for privacy-focused coins such as Monero (XMR). We could see a major decline in the use of crypto for iGaming during 2022.