Time does not stand still, and the same can be said about gambling industry. We might still like to play free slot games, but we also have to follow new developments in the industry: what we play in the future may depend on these developments. 2020 was a highly productive year for the iGaming industry. Unlike most industries, it was hardly affected by the COVID19 pandemic because consumers were already complying with social distancing: everyone continued to play from home. It is even possible to say that the number of players has increased due to quarantine. Therefore, 2020 has been highly productive for this industry, and there have been many interesting developments. Below, we summarize them for you.
Two Important Acquisitions
Have you heard the name “Flutter” before? We guarantee you will hear from now on. At least you’ve heard of the “Paddy Power Betfair” name, this London-based company is one of the biggest players in the iGaming industry. Paddy Power Betfair changed its name to Flutter in March 2019, but this did not attract much attention because players knew the company not by its own name, but by brands such as Poker Stars, Paddy Power, and Betfair. But when Flutter bought The Stars Group at the beginning of 2020, this caught everyone’s attention as it made Flutter the world’s largest online gambling company. Canada-based Stars Group owns the “Sky Betting” brand and is one of the top 5 companies in the iGaming industry. The sales price was $ 6.95 billion, making Flutter the largest online gambling company on three continents (Europe, USA, Australia).
This wasn’t the only acquisition in 2020: DraftKings was acquired by a company founded by Hollywood celebrities called “Diamond Eagle”. The interesting part was that the same company also acquired the SB Tech brand, which develops sports betting technologies. Diamond Eagle announced that it would merge the two companies and form a new Nevada-based company called “DraftKings Inc.” This is an exciting development as SB Tech provides the infrastructure for many online betting sites in the industry. Will the new company continue to do this or will it offer a special service just for DraftKings? We will learn the answer to this in 2021.
New Gambling Trends In 2020
We have also witnessed new trends in the gambling industry due to both technological advances and COVID19. Below, we list the most important of them:
- Blockchain and crypto tokens are becoming more common. No, we are not talking about cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin). There is an increase in the number of online casinos supporting them, but the real revolution is likely to happen in terms of crypto tokens. These are digital and blockchain versions of “coins” already used in casinos. They can be customized to a specific player and instantly converted to Fiat currencies. Unlike classic coins, they are safer and faster. They cannot be hacked and can be used in all games without any problems. Most importantly, unlike cryptocurrencies, they do not need to be purchased on an exchange: Players’ balances can be automatically converted into crypto coins. We will see them start to be used in many online casinos in 2021, and we can easily say that they will represent the common currency in the iGaming industry in the near future with casino bonus online as well.
- VR technology could not produce the expected effect. In 2019, we thought that VR casino games would become more and more common because there were many VR goggles on the market and almost all developers had released demos of VR games. However, in 2020, prices for VR glasses still had not dropped, and fewer and fewer developers became interested in this technology. We are writing this article in November 2020, and no VR casino game is going to be released this year. This situation doesn’t look like it will change soon. The developers are focused on mobile platforms, and they plan to use them, especially in terms of payment systems. Technologies such as new wallets, payment gateways, and even voice-controlled payments for mobile devices will hit the market in early 2021. VR technology is out for now, but may come back in a few years: It all depends on whether the price of goggles will go down or not.
2020 was a fruitful year for the iGaming industry, but we will begin to see the consequences of many developments in 2021. Therefore, we can say that 2020 was a year of preparation: Companies developing new technologies and trends will begin to launch them from the first months of 2021. In other words, 2021 will be a pretty good year for casino players.