Adam Gontarz, CEO for custom software development company CrustLab, writes for SBC News about the emerging trends across the betting and gaming industry, and how 2021 promises some interesting technological developments.
With the constant evolution and advancement of technologies within the betting and gaming industry, what was maybe considered ‘hot’ one day may be replaced by a new development or product a few days later.
The one thing that all these new trends have in common, however, is the core desire to offer an elevated player experience.
Now that we’re three months into 2021, we’re beginning to see a range of new trends merging which many believe will dominate the market in months to come. At CrustLab, we wanted to break down what we believe are the areas to keep an eye on.
With many retail operators forced to close their doors over the last 12 months due to coronavirus, and the associated lockdown periods, many betting companies pivoted their attention towards the online space.
Data from H2 Gambling Capital suggests that approximately 60% of betting platforms use mobile devices – this is up from only 10% a few years ago. That same data has predicted that by 2023, half of the gross income of the gambling sector will be provided just by mobile gambling.
What we could see is that more companies begin to take a mobile-first approach with a supplementary desktop offering, which will likely change the world of gambling beyond recognition, making it even more accessible to gamblers around the world.
Live streaming and in-play betting
Live streams have been used by betting operators for a number of years now. But with the rise of mobile gambling, live streaming and in-play betting will likely emerge as a major trend in 2021.
Offering bettors the chance to wager on events as they unfold, many believe that this will drive engagement with sports fans.
One main advantage to in-play betting is that it extends the deadline for betting on specific games. Players are not limited to wagering on an before it begins. Instead, they can bet on outcomes depending on the developments within the game. The odds change constantly, but betting opportunities arise at every minute of the game.
More and more betting operators are beginning to offer live betting opportunities for a range of sports, and with constant improvements to the availability of data, the number of in-play markets is only going to continue growing.
Enhanced payment security
Wanting to make sure that your transactions are secure is no new phenomenon, but the technologies which we use to do so are continuing to advance on a regular basis.
In the wake of the global pandemic, it seems that cash has been knocked off of its throne as king, with contactless payments taking the crown. According to ABI Research, shipments of wearable devices will reach $500 million by this year as more bettors opt for bracelets and watches that are capable of making payments
With ease of use, convenience and enhanced security among the key advantages of wearable technology, we wouldn’t be surprised if this emerges as a top trend for 2021.
Moving on from wearable technology and another payments development which is taking the gaming industry in an exciting direction is blockchain technology.
Put simply, blockchain is a technology which includes timestamped and non-editable blocks of records managed by a network of computers. Data is protected using cryptography, while blockchain is not tied to one central location.
So why will this play a pivotal role in the development of the industry in 2021? Firstly, more and more operators – both from the sports betting industry and casino sector – are beginning to use blockchain technologies and accept cryptocurrencies.
Secondly, blockchain has been praised as being an ultra-secure form of technology which is not subject to hacking. This makes it an obvious contender for the security conscious.
In addition, it offers guaranteed transparency for gameplay, transactions and operations. Combine this with complete anonymity for the player and the ability to check the honesty of the outcome of the game due to its provable fair technology, it’s fair to see why blockchain will become a top trend for 2021.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI emerged as a major feature in 2020 but that doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to make waves this year.
By integrating AI technologies, gambling platforms will become much smarter, thus enabling them to interact with an even larger audience on an individual level. Not only this, but AI can also be used to carry out analysis of player activity while sophisticated algorithms can predict a player’s future actions.
This can have a multitude of benefits, from tailoring marketing and promotional campaigns to ensuring that social responsibility standards are at the forefront of an operator’s strategy.
We still seem to be in the early stages of AI adoption within the gambling industry, but as the technology continues to improve, players should be able to look forward to some interesting developments and an even better user experience in the months to come.
While we are yet to see the true effects of how these trends will change the industry, one thing remains clear: 2021 promises to be an exciting year for the betting and gaming industry. At CrustLab, we imagine that analysts, operators and suppliers alike will have their eyes peeled for new technologies that may capture the most attention.