Over the last couple of decades, online gambling has become increasingly popular. Worth US$58.9 billion in 2019, US$66.7 billion in 2020, the industry is predicted to grow to US$92.9 billion by 2023. This growth had been driven by a number of factors:

  1. Advances in technology

The advent of the smartphone is one of the key drivers behind the growth in online gambling, in particular mobile gambling. Improved connectivity, affordability of devices and technology available to developers has driven the growth of the market. Technology has also increased online security, leading to more casual gamblers, as well as the more hard-core gamers, accessing the market.

  1. Changes in gambling legislation

Changes in laws around the world, in particular in the USA, have led to an increased presence of online gambling. For example, in 2018 the Supreme Court struck down PASPA as unconstitutional, allowing for sports betting to restart in the US. This has allowed not only for sports betting, but for online casinos to for sponsorship partnerships with professional sports teams raising their profile and increasing traffic.

  1. Changing player habits

The rise of the casual and hyper-casual gamer has been instrumental in driving the popularity of online casinos. Gamblers are now able to drop in and out of games according to their availability, rather than having to plan to go to a land-based casino. This new demographic has helped drive the growth of the online, and specifically mobile market, in the last few years.

Cause for optimism

This growth in the market is expected to continue into 2021 and beyond. The combination of the new demographic that has been brought on board and the gamblers who have been poached from land-based casinos leads to a great deal of optimism for the future of the industry.

  • Poker

Poker has always been a mainstay of gambling, and online poker have certainly leveraged technology to ensure that the experience provided to all in the poker room rivals that of a land casino. Operators will have a combination of live dealer games and electronic games to provide as much variety as possible to their players. Live dealer games offer an immersive experience to players, with a real person dealing and the opportunity for players to chat and feel like they are really in a casino, by from the comfort of their own home!

  • Slots

Slots are also a hugely popular in casinos, with thousands of machines up and down casinos across the globe. In online casinos, slots are an easy introduction to gambling, as they require no skill or prior knowledge, and are fun and exciting, with flashing lights and fun noises. Many slots are themed, with pirates, mythology, books, and films to name but a few. 2021 looks set to continue this trend with more theme’s slots based on all the latest blockbusters!

  • Bingo

Bingo is one of the casino games that has recently seen a resurgence in the market. Though usually associated with the older generation, with many people’s first memory of bingo being in a church hall with their grandparents, recent developments in technology and the move online has seen a new generation of player lift the game into the 21st Century.

What can we expect to see in 2021?

  • Mobile Gambling

Though nothing new, the popularity of mobile gambling is set to grow. New technology is making the medium more accessible, and increased connectivity on the go is set to increase the number of mobile gamblers, which is already (as of 2019) over 50%. New cloud-based technology no longer means that offerings are limited by the capability of the device, and more complex games can be created and enjoyed by all. Additionally, advances in security, such and facial recognition and finger printing can be used as easy ways to keep accounts secure and instil confidence in players.

  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Payments

Though cryptocurrencies have been around for a number of years, it is only recently that this firm of payment has started to be adopted by online casinos. It is expected that in 2021 a large number of online operators will begin to adopt cryptocurrency payments; a safe, secure payment method that allows for anonymity, tends to have lower transaction fees, and makes withdrawals of winnings quicker.

  • Increased competition

The low barriers to entry to the market and the success and profitability of online gambling seen thus far has led to an influx of new operators into the market, and this is expected to continue into 2021 and beyond.

  • E-Sports betting

Sports betting has always been popular amongst sports fans and betting fans alike, and 2021 is set to add e-sports into the mix. The e-sports market is already growing rapidly, with professional tournaments for games drawing huge audiences and even bigger bets. It makes sense therefore for casinos to embrace this new form of betting and offer a space on their sites, as much of a way to profit for the popularity of e-sports, as well as to push more traffic through the site into the more traditional casino games.

  • Virtual/Augmented Reality

2021 is set to be the year that even newer technologies are adopted. Many operators have invested in research and development of new technologies to help improve their offerings to players and create a more immersive experience. For those who prefer the experience afforded by being at the casino, AR and VR can be used to provide them with the experience and feel of a real casino, from the comfort of their own home! Considering that VR revenue is set to double in the next 12 months, it is definitely due to feature heavily in the offerings of online casinos.

Final thoughts

The recent growth in online gambling is by no means the end. Ongoing technological advances and evolving player habits mean that the market is set to continue its boom into 2021 and beyond.