Monday 11th January 2021

With innovation and advances in technology continuing apace globally, there are a number of developments in the casino industry likely to take place in 2021. These will aim to create a casino experience that is immersive, safe and fun. In 2020, online casinos saw a dramatic increase in traffic, and according to Mordor Intelligence, the global online gambling market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.94 per cent during the period 2020 - 2025. Whilst nothing is certain in the casino industry, we can suggest possible directions that may be taken this year.

Virtual reality (VR) headsets are already transforming some land-based casino rooms, with their use online said to increase significantly in 2021. The current barrier to growth is the cost of the software and hardware for customers but for table games like baccarat, VR will further enhance the fun element in online betting, using the baccarat system to play immersive live dealer games and interact with live dealers. For players to feel as though they are in a live casino playing their favourite casino game is a massive game-changer for the industry.

The casino industry is investing in enhanced vision and imaging displays, 3D content and tracking and geo-location as well as better consoles for a more immersive experience, though the current major issue is speed and efficiency of data usage which at the moment causes games to lag, though if a 5G network is finally adopted, the issue could be resolved.

Whilst punters have been used to gaming from a PC or laptop, mobile devices have become more popular and with apps becoming even more user-friendly, the use of mobile devices to access online casinos is expected to increase further during 2021. The biggest revenue generators are expected to be China, Japan, South Korea, the US and the UK. With an extensive and growing library of demo sites available for download on Android and iPhones, mobile gaming is encouraging more and more people to sign up and the mobile gaming sector of the market is set to grow by around 60 per cent in 2021 alone, with operators focusing on free to play apps to attract customers before shifting them towards real-money play.

Cloud gaming allows games to be loaded from a remote server without needing to be downloaded, another mobile-friendly alternative to consoles or a personal computer. As this service relies heavily on 5G, which is not yet widely adopted worldwide, it will be a while before the casino experience on a smartphone catches up.

Bitcoin became mainstream about a decade ago and Bitcoin casinos have already launched, but cryptocurrency casinos are still developing. However, rapid growth is forecast in this sector as business rules are agreed with regulatory bodies worldwide. This has already happened in Spain, where cryptocurrency casinos can apply for a specific license to trade.

Like all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is a reliable form of currency, popular for low or even zero transaction fees at many bitcoin casino sites. The blockchain technology also ensures that casinos are safer, more secure, efficient, and reliable than ever before. With blockchain technology also being used to ensure fairness in the casino games themselves, cryptocurrency exchanges could become much more mainstream.

Cryptocurrency casinos will also attract an entirely new audience since transactions are fast and will not leave players without any money which can happen with bank transfers that can take hours or days if there is a dispute about a transaction. Anonymity is also a bonus for many players, as registration via a cryptocurrency wallet removes other verification procedures. Another comfort to potential players is the security offered since cryptocurrency wallets that are impossible to hack.

Esports has become increasingly popular in recent years, with a younger demographic competing in tournaments and playing for fun and for real money in an interactive online setting. With prize pools offering payouts in the millions and greater technological improvements being made within different games, Esports are expected to thrive in 2021. Some casinos, particularly in Vegas, are looking to host Esports events on their premises to encourage gamers to gamble. The HyperX arena at LUXOR in Vegas has its own eSports arena that was custom built to host tournaments and with the potential for further partnerships between eSport companies and casino owners, ongoing success for both is likely in 2021 once eSports are embedded in the casino industry.

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