As we move towards the end of what has been an exciting year for the world of iGaming, we take a look at the biggest trends so far and look ahead towards the rest of 2023 and beyond.
iGaming and technology have seen significant changes in the past year. The differences are substantial if we compare today's technology to a decade ago.
As humanity traverses this new and exciting landscape of iGaming innovation, operators, providers, and all other industry people would do well to ensure they are broadening their horizons and keeping up to date with the latest technologies and developments.
Our ever-changing world presents a broader scope of possibilities, with younger generations expecting more for their money with a higher-quality experience. The key to success for any operator is understanding how they can keep their provision fresh and exciting while still appealing to the more traditional gambler.
So, what are the main areas sharp-eyed industry heads must look for as we move towards 2024?
Gamification has become a buzzword in 2023. The idea behind it is ingenious; by taking elements of old-school gaming concepts of competition, such as high scores, players immerse themselves in a new gambling style similar to retro arcades.
Operators inject gaming elements such as leaderboards, point systems, achievements, and tournaments in first-person language that bolsters engagement. Players can join leagues and communities and collect benefits, bonuses, or gifts in reward schemes and loyalty programs.
It’s bringing gaming fun into gambling. And it’s not just for the younger players, either. While this may not appeal to the veteran boomer gamblers, even the more ‘mature’ Generation X players were raised during the early days of console and PC gaming or visited arcades in the 70s, 80s and 90s. For them, it’s like a fun blast from the past.
It has been a natural progression as operators move from product-specific models to more player-centric ones. Elements such as Fantasy Games are ideal for gamification, being designed explicitly with leagues, interaction and gamification aspects as core components.
Personalisation works alongside gamification. To gamify, content must become personalised towards each player. The premise of improving the personalisation of platforms starts simply enough: targeted marketing.
Any operator worth its weight will use data-driven tools to create player journeys that target individuals based on their history. Therefore, each interaction with the site will influence any upcoming offers and incentives. We all know platforms have VIP players, but why not treat EVERY player as a VIP? Think about it, it makes sense.
Intelligent software knows the types of games a player enjoys, their favourite sports when they’re most active, their age, and so on. Using this knowledge can massively increase their interaction on a site, saving hours of man-time writing generic promotions that are potentially of little interest to many people who may receive them.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has developed in this area, leaving the brains behind the computer to create exciting ways to make the most of the knowledge. Things like special tournaments and promos for fans of a particular game or sport, jackpot campaigns for the big-jackpot fans, seasonal gifts and promotions, loyalty schemes, and even tiered activities with different activities earning different levels of prizes or points. Can you see the similarity to gamification? As we said, the two go hand-in-hand. Dynamic marketing is the operator’s best friend.
Localisation in iGaming means many different things, but the overall gist is to make sure whatever content is being provided works for the people you are targeting and their location. Whether adhering to local regulations, getting a local licence or using the local language, each aspect will uphold the authenticity and professionalism of a brand.
Knowing Your Customer (KYC) will always be essential in iGaming for security purposes and marketing. As well as doing due diligence in the form of security and identity checks, operators and providers need to speak the language, literally and metaphorically. Is there customer support for the players and from the provider for the operator in their native language?
But it’s not just language, spelling and grammar; it’s also about the finer nuances. Regional differences are also important. Take languages that are widely spoken, such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French. The language differences are sometimes minor but can also be vast. For example, take a player from Spain and a player from Mexico; will their language be the same? What about their customs, festivities and sporting interests? The answer is no.
With tailor-made promotions targeted to each jurisdiction and each individual, operators can enhance their offerings and increase their profits. Brand ambassadors and sponsorships are a great way to engage with a community. Knowing which sports and games your demographic favours is also crucial.
Long gone are the days of offering a few generic slots with some basic table games thrown in for good measure. Players expect (and deserve) more. A broad range of options to suit an ever-growing need for newness will stand any operator in good stead.
First, liven up the hardcore selection of slots with a more comprehensive array of game types. As well as the classic slots and video slots, and the multi-feature offerings or varied game mechanics such as those with cascading wins, go for something that also includes a few of the less well-known types of games with easy-to-play games like scratch cards and (if available in your location) free-to-play (F2P) games.
The appetite for skill-based games is growing, offering gamification with new casino styles that play more like traditional console and mobile games.
Consider the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and all they entail. Meta casinos provide a unique, immersive experience that players love. But you don’t need to develop a meta casino to benefit from new technology. Think about crash games and their benefits; they’re quick and easy to play, exciting and fun simultaneously. Of course, if you want to benefit from crash games, you’ll also need to open up your platform to various payment and withdrawal options, like cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and NFTs.
Live casino has had a renaissance, with more and more intriguing new games streamed in HD worldwide. Old favourites mingle with new options, so there’s something for everyone. In particular, live game shows have taken off in the last few years. With their fun and engaging presenters, interactive feel and exciting vibe, they appeal to many who would avoid traditional table games like poker, blackjack and baccarat.
Then there’s eSports. eSports has grown impressively of late, with the option to study in the genre at college or university being taken up by more and more people. Again, eSports appeal to the broader gamer fans and players, bringing a more diverse customer range to a platform. ESports players also enjoy watching others play, so there’s a vast scope for potential.
Further options to include might be bingo, keno, or lottery. Lottery games work well on a purpose-built platform, but lotteries can also boost established brands as a high-incentive extra. People who wouldn’t partake in any other form of gambling will often join in with a lottery as there’s no skill involved and the chance to bring home a massive prize for a relatively small cost. Many people enjoy global lotteries, with hundreds around the world available for players wherever they are based, and personalised and exclusive lotteries also work exceptionally well for brands.
As for sportsbooks, operators should ensure their platform is up to the minute. Television and streaming services are popular, and stream betting allows players to enjoy their sport as and when it happens.
Alongside creativity with products, operators need to consider the versatility and diversity of their technical range. As well as the apparent frontend and backend design aspects, other areas are growing in popularity among players and the wider audience.
Take deposit and withdrawal methods. Choosing a wide range of various options to cover all bases is a must. The options need to be available and popular in the particular target location. Savvy thinkers will also ensure they consider Fintech (financial technology) options, such as cryptocurrency, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), and mobile payments. Their use is on the rise globally, and they make for swift, easy, and often very safe depositing methods with added security built in.
‘Multi’ should be a phrase you keep in your head also. Think multi-table poker, multi-screen poker, multi-screen sports betting. People want things quicker and faster than ever, with the capacity to enjoy several things simultaneously.
Platforms need to be fast, 5G optimised, with no lagging, quick upload times and the capacity to work across various devices such as PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and even smartwatches. iGaming on the go is most definitely ‘a thing’. Commuters can enjoy their favourite games on the train or catch up on their fantasy league while waiting for an appointment. It opens doors. Streaming tournaments, matches and competitions across different outlets or social media channels can add a quick following to a platform, primarily when used with influencers, notable people, or events.
With the rise of new tech capabilities and iGaming options, of course, every operator and player will be aware of the potential to become a victim of fraud. Always employ the best legal professionals to keep players and operators happy and follow all related laws and regulations. Be stringent, and do not presume that once everything is in place, you can sit back, relax and take your eye off the ball. You can’t.
However, as long as you cover all bases, ensure all staff are well trained in fraud prevention, anti-money laundering, Know Your Customer best practices, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), risk prevention, etc. You should be as safe as you can be.
Customers look for this, too. They want to spend their money somewhere their data and money will be safe. Having the relevant licence will help in this respect, as will clear procedures to ensure responsible gambling and the rights of the individual (no one wants their details sold).
Suppose your customers feel safe knowing that you take their information and security seriously and have the evidence to prove that you do. In that case, they will feel comfortable playing on your platform.
Well, the answer here is the opposite of everything above! No slow-to-load, glitchy platforms with the same old boring slots without any exciting features or jackpot games. Repetitive promotions or simple promotions upon joining but nothing after. Tedious sportsbooks with a few sports and limited betting options. A limited range of verticals, without the extra fun options like live gameshows, bingo, lottery, or fantasy to try. Platforms that only work on desktops with just credit card or bank transfer deposit options. Withdrawal limits and slow and laborious verification processes. You know the drill. Why would anyone waste their time and spend their hard-earned cash at a frustrating site when a new and exciting platform that tailors everything, especially to them, is also available? They wouldn’t.
There’s plenty to get your teeth into here. But don’t panic. No one needs to rush out and equip their site with everything on this list. Start small. Add one or two features, research what your customers enjoy and go from there. Expand bit by bit, and soon your business will be bustling!
WA.Technology offers a full spectrum of tailor-made iGaming solutions, products, and services. WA.Technology specialises in emerging markets and powers multiple iGaming businesses and sportsbooks worldwide.
If you want to get into iGaming using our WA.Platform and turnkey solution or expand your current brand with our products, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.