A New Wave of Product Improvements

The iGaming industry is seeing a renewed focus on product enhancement. Some 70% of all online gambling is today taking place on mobile devices, and mobile has by far become the dominant distribution channel.

With wearable devices being added to the mix, a host of new avenues will open up for operators to present their products.  Netflix is inspiring iGaming executives’ drive to emulate the ability to personalise content, promotions and offerings. The runaway success of the No Account Casino is proof that product enhancements to players’ pain points can have a major impact.  The key to the success of this product is the BankID, which is a personal electronic identification issued through Swedish banks that allows online gaming companies to authenticate a player’s identity.

Meanwhile, live casino continues to turn in great growth figures and is gaining ever more importance. Having watched esports from the side-lines for a number of years, most operators are now adding it to their portfolio. A timeless classic, bingo appears to be the one game that never goes out of fashion. Bingo is increasingly attracting a younger audience while more mature players are switching to online sites as they grow in confidence with the technology. The big news in the world of poker is the willingness of large countries to allow shared liquidity pools across markets. Lotteries have been one of those products that have been gaining traction in terms of player appeal and product innovation. But despite its universal appeal to players, not all countries are quite sure the competition to their national lottery operators is so welcome.  

Advances in artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies are opening up a whole new landscape for sportsbook operators to develop new products and real-time betting markets. Online slots retain their top ranking as one of players’ favourite. With an endless portfolio of games being offered, personalisation is becoming ever more important. To maintain its top position, elements of skill and interactive play are being introduced to keep the games generationally relevant for younger players. Social gaming continues to attract the attention of operators as a way to extend their reach and attract a whole new audience of players on social media. A nice-to-have, more online operators are adding Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) to their product line-up, while virtual sports betting has proven to be a very successful filler product for operators wanting to offer their clients betting opportunities between game cycles and live events.

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The Rise of esports

Sold-out stadiums, an infusion of venture capital and mainstream media coverage have helped propel esports, as well as the betting on esports, to even greater popularity. The bet on esports has paid off handsomely for the few gaming operators who have focused on his explosive growth sector, which has given operators solid revenue streams and, more importantly, a strong foothold in the elusive millennial market. Esports betting, which just a few short years ago was considered a niche or novelty by gaming operators, is now being recognized alongside mainstream sports betting markets like soccer and basketball. The expectation is that this market will continue to grow in the coming years, as more esports enthusiasts will reach the legal age to gamble. Games industry researcher Newzoo predicts that the global audience for esports will reach approximately 580 million by 2020. The demographic, overwhelmingly male, is made up largely of millennials and GenY teens, who play video games for eight hours a week on average according to a Nielsen report. The biggest esports games are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends and Overwatch, which also dominate the fast-growing esports betting market. Many iGaming operators believe esports is a valuable add-on to their services, however, they say the biggest threats to the continued success of esports are match fixing and betting fraud. As the industry goes increasingly mainstream, many believe that some form of regulation is necessary for it to maintain its legitimacy.

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