In the past few years, there has been a significant change in the online gaming industry. At a rate never before seen, new technological trends offer opportunities to enhance or entirely develop player experiences. As a result, every business in the sector is engaged in a technological arms race with the aim of differentiating themselves from the competition and offering the best gambling experience.
Here are the iGaming trends we anticipate in 2022, which will be influenced by the ongoing global pandemic as well as new player expectations, behaviors, and emerging technologies.
2022 iGaming trends at a glance:
Market expansion and regulationGamification, video game components, and video streamingConsolidation through M&A, leagues, and the involvement of international media companies Esports trend gains traction Mobile betting trends Smart TV, augmented reality, and VR
Market expansion and control
H2 Gambling Capital estimates that the global market for online gambling is already over 70 billion euros per year and will surpass 90 billion in 2025. In 2021, regulated markets produced 73% of the total market GGR; this iGaming trend is anticipated to continue as more and more markets become regulated.
Rightfully and actively looking for new sources of income, governments are now doing so, even more so given the ongoing pandemic’s impact on national economies. Governments can generate revenue from gambling taxes and licenses, create more jobs, and reduce illegal betting all at once by setting up regulatory bodies and legalizing gambling activities.
Sports betting as a necessary good
H2 Gambling Capital estimates that 49% of all iGaming revenues come from the global sports GGR. We expect to see a clear iGaming trend, with the sports share growing even faster than the other products. And not because of the football World Cup this year, – but mainly because the U.S. is a predominantly sports betting market. The US online gaming market is currently valued at 2 billion USD, and by 2025 it is expected to grow to 8.5 billion USD in gross gaming revenue, representing a CAGR of over 15%.
Only six states—Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—have legalized internet gaming (casinos), whereas more than 25 states have already legalized mobile sports betting, and 14 more are in the process of doing so. Regarding sponsorship agreements, we anticipate league involvement in iGaming to increase.
For instance, the Premier Lacrosse League has already announced a deal with DraftKings; BetMGM has a deal with the Ladies Professional Golf Association; and PointsBet has a deal with the college team Colorado Buffaloes. As more people discover sports betting, existing casinos may lose customers who will never come back, making sports betting an even more essential product. In addition, the CPA (cost per acquisition) fees for sports players are lower than for a casino, with the bonus of some players still being successfully cross-sold to casinos (mainly live casinos).
Gamification and game mechanics
Even though iGaming and traditional video games have many differences, a number of video game elements have been making their way over as a steadfast trend in iGaming. Better visuals, more interactions, more gameplay loops based on missions, and more themed and role-playing mechanics will all be prioritized. Arcade-like games are being tested by businesses like Green Jade, Skywind Group, and Spribe.
For instance, Skywind’s Fly Jet is a fly-and-shoot game where players compete against bosses while flying through five different locations in search of enormous cash rewards. Spribe’s Aviator, a social multiplayer game that was inspired by the video game industry, is another example that has attracted significant attention. Developers will need to keep enhancing the visual fidelity of their games to match the screen resolutions of today’s more advanced smartphone devices in order to provide more immersive experiences and truly stay ahead of the competition while staying trendy at the same time.
In 2006, Google foresaw the potential of online video streaming and paid $1.65 billion to acquire YouTube. The idea of enjoying gambling experiences from the convenience of home while maintaining vital social interaction was introduced by Evolution Gaming in 2007 when it began to stream live roulette dealers. It has proven to be much more exciting than anyone could have imagined to be able to play casino games remotely while interacting with a real live dealer. It makes sense that it became a must-have iGaming trend because live dealers, after all, not only offer a more genuine and legitimate gaming experience, but they also build a stronger bond with the players and may even increase operator-player trust.
More studios will be competing for a piece of the expanding live streaming market, including businesses like Skywind Group and EGT. Additional predictions include the continuation of the localization trend, in which studios create regional games like Andar Bahar, and the continued adoption of show games, which Evolution Gaming popularized. Pragmatic Play has already demonstrated this with their very first show game, “Mega Wheel.”
M&A, leagues, and global media companies’ involvement in consolidation
Gaming companies want to strengthen their position in the market. Some are interested in buying technology firms so they can control the software and their own future, while others want to quickly expand into established and developing markets by buying firms that already have access to licenses and knowledge of local regulatory requirements. We have already seen M&A activities in the American online gambling sector, including Draftking’s acquisition of SBTech, Fultter’s acquisition of The Star Group, and William Hill’s European operations. We anticipate more participation in iGaming from leagues and media outlets that follow professional sports leagues like the NFL, as well as from outlets like Fox and Sports Illustrated that want a piece of the action.
Esports are becoming more popular.
Esports betting options are more plentiful than ever, and in 2022, this iGaming trend will still be growing. eSports, once thought to be a niche market, are now attracting a growing fan base, to the extent that some TV channels are now streaming eSports-focused channels as part of their bundles, expanding their appeal. The members of generation Z, who already enjoy playing these games, are particularly affected by this. By 2022, the Esports market share will reach $1.8 billion, predicts NewZoo.
This fad’s rise has been aided by traditional video games’ increased sophistication. Competitive and interesting experiences can be enhanced by improved graphics, more difficult mechanics, and deeper gameplay loops. On console, PC, and even mobile platforms, gamers from all over the world can now place bets on games like FIFA, League of Legends, Dota 2, Valorant, Overwatch, Fortnite, and others.
Trends in mobile betting
Mobile betting will remain popular. Over 50% of all markets’ wagers are placed on mobile devices, and in some markets, that number has already surpassed 90% of all wagers. Playing games on smartphones has never been simpler or more fluid thanks to the widespread adoption of 5G speeds. Even welcome packages are being offered by some operators, but only for mobile. We might see Google and Apple expand the markets available to mobile betting apps in the Apps category.
VR, smart TV, and augmented reality
Technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and smart TV applications are still in the early stages of mass market adoption, and they are even more in their infancy when it comes to iGaming and online casinos. But as the technology advances and becomes more accessible to the typical consumer, we do anticipate seeing it gain ground and develop into a genuine gambling trend in the years to come.
The iGaming industry has come a long way since its niche beginnings and has grown to become one of the biggest and most lucrative industries in the world. Since many online casinos go to great lengths to set themselves apart from one another, competition in the online casino industry is fiercer than it has ever been. The ultimate goal of every operator is to draw players.
Bonuses, promotions, awards, and excellent customer service are all excellent motivators, but if they want to survive through 2022 and beyond, they’ll need to stay on top of the most recent social and technological trends. To stay on top of your game, make sure you keep a close eye on the most recent iGaming trends visit fafabestgaming gambling software.