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The Techy Twenties - How emerging technology will define iGaming this decade

Head to one of the many iGaming conferences or events around the world and ask any keen industry insider for their opinion on the future of our industry.

We guarantee you, they’ll all share the same outlook, that of enthusiasm, optimism and excitement. There’s no hiding it, innovation is just around the corner and it’s going to hit the iGaming industry with the force of a runaway freight train. Regardless of what side of the industry you fall on, operator, affiliate or player, all of us are set to benefit from a number of promising new breakthroughs as the decade progresses.

Regulation - Can we stop looking over our shoulders yet? 

Before we can start talking about all of the wonderful technological changes that sit just on the horizon, it’s well worth addressing the elephant in the room, Regulation. If we’re being completely honest, almost all of the major discourse within the iGaming industry has centered around the tightening grip of regulatory bodies, and it’s hardly been enjoyable. 

This rhetoric is not going to change right away, not by any stretch of the imagination, however, in select markets we are seeing things slowly slip into place… There’s still plenty of uncertainty in countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom as external pressures from prominent government officials, and the media, could still yet cause challenges for us all.

External meddling aside, new regulations and emerging markets are certainly leading to iGaming companies looking to go the extra mile to win custom from these new audiences, and that can only be a good thing for all involved.

The Operators - How online casinos are standing up to new media empires

It’s hard not to start by looking at what online casinos and game developers are doing to propel this industry forward, because we’re only a month into the new decade and we’re already on the cusp of several game-changing innovations which see casinos directly take on already established forms of digital media.

The crafty development team behind Volt Casino introduced the iGaming world to VoltCity at iGB Conference 2020, bringing gamification to a whole new level and quite literally changing the game for online casinos. 

In the coming months Volt will turn what was a fairly standard casino experience into an immersive gaming extravaganza that incorporates an innovative new reward cycle and engaging daily promotions with a never-seen-before mobile gaming experience that can hold a candle to popular games sat in app store charts.

Over in the live casino sphere, Evolution Gaming are taking huge strides forward in making their game selection more entertainment driven thanks to leaps forward in technology, more specifically, augmented reality. Their new upcoming 2020 live casino game show releases focus around engaging players with charismatic hosts, and never-seen-before bonus rounds. 

None of Evolution’s fantastic new titles, or past successes such as Monopoly Live and Deal or No Deal Live would be possible without the technology to develop a stable, seamless platform that allows for players to enjoy these highly enjoyable, fast paced new games.

It was stated in a recent Gambling Insider interview with Evolution Gaming CEO Martin Carlesund that Evolution Gaming hopes to steal user screen time from the likes of streaming giants Netflix and YouTube… Whether they succeed remains to be seen, but we’re certainly excited to watch the unlikeliest of clashes play out..

The Affiliates - More avenues for revenue than ever before

There’s never been a better time to be an affiliate, especially if you’re driving traffic to your site via social and video platforms. YouTube has never been easier to utilise and master, and various tools are being released on a near monthly basis that allow affiliates to easily manage their ever-growing social communities from easy-to-use digital dashboards. We’ve seen social media work hand-in-hand with sports betting affiliation to great success throughout the last few years, and it seems that those specialising in slots and casino games are now after a slice of the pie themselves. 

The rise in affiliates using video content to appeal to potential players has grown rapidly as doors are opened for additional earnings thanks to creative campaigns which are sending players to affiliate sites and casino landing pages via an entirely new platform away from organic and paid search.

It’s also impossible to ignore the rapid growth of live streams on platforms such as YouTube Live and Twitch. What’s even more impressive is the fact that affiliates are opting to ignore the norm for these platforms, such as eSports,  and instead stream slots and table games.

Could voice search be the next big thing in iGaming affiliation?

There have been huge shifts in the way users interact with voice technology in the past several years, sparking debate after debate as to whether there’s a place at the table for affiliates in the potentially lucrative voice search market. There are those of us that believe there’s nothing in it for affiliates, with the lack of a physical click terrifying people the most. It’s also thought that many of us would feel the sting if search swung drastically in favour of voice, due to the fact that the #1 search result holding the featured snippet solely benefits from a voice query, cutting the rest of us off. 

Those comfortably sitting atop the rankings, however, will argue that this is only fair, considering they’re the ones putting the work in, in order to rank #1 for Google’s most popular search terms. It remains to be seen whether this will be a worthwhile avenue for affiliates to take, however we can take some solace in the fact that the Google Assistant has begun following up voice searches by sending website links to users’ phones. If this becomes the norm then we might well be in business.

The Players - The biggest winners

Of course, the most important people and biggest winners in this entire technological revolution will be the players themselves. Everything mentioned above, they’ll gain from. Social media and voice search gives them access to the best casinos, slots and promotions quicker than ever, and YouTube and Twitch allow them to digest media tailored to their interests, even when they don’t feel like playing themselves.

Best of all, operators and developers are coming together to help build meaningful communities. No longer are players dropped into a casino lobby upon sign-up to only be contacted when a new offer is available. They’re becoming part of the family, being allowed to interact with other players and dealers in real-time is game changing. Technology is empowering the iGaming world to be a little less isolating, and that is huge.

Blockchain and bitcoins, a new(ish) way to pay

Secure and transparent, cryptocurrency is a huge plus for all involved in the iGaming world. If there’s one thing all parties can agree on, it is that privacy and safety is key. Considering bitcoin requires no third party access and transactions are public, traceable, and permanently stored in an open network, then we can see no reason why players shouldn’t consider moving away from more traditional payment methods. Of course, the biggest plus of using cryptocurrency is speed. We’re all incredibly lucky to live in an age where instant deposits and withdrawals are just a click away.

Admittedly, there are huge hurdles involved in actually getting to grips with using cryptocurrency. It’s not easy, however, the same could be said for emerging technologies of years gone by. With a little education on all sides iGaming and crypto could make for a beautiful pairing.

In conclusion - An exciting future for iGaming as a whole

The last decade has certainly been challenging for all involved, there’s no doubt about that… There’s no saying that it’s not going to continue to get harder before it does get better. That’s just the unfortunate reality associated with the threat of heavy regulation. 

However, as long we all continue to reap the rewards of advancements in technology it’s fair to say that we’re still all in for a very exciting ride. This is just the start of a journey that we should all be incredibly optimistic for.

About the author:

Sam Gascoyne is head of content at No Wagering – an online gambling news and comparison website which promotes fairness and transparency, and takes safe and responsible gambling seriously.