As more of our lives move online, it comes as no surprise that online casino games continue to grow in popularity. But there’s one statistic that will occupy the brightest minds in the gambling industry as they prepare for the year ahead. According to a new market study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., Gambling – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics – the global market, now worth around $711.4 billion, is expected to top $876 billion by 2026. With growth like this on the cards, casino businesses will be working hard to develop a strong hand, which could see a rush to bring new gambling products and services to market ahead of the competition.
So, while some online gambling developments will not be unexpected in the year ahead, others might still surprise you. Let’s take a look into the future at what 2022 may hold for players and casinos.
The move to mobile
Apart from the coronavirus pandemic, nothing has changed the way we live our daily lives more than the use of mobile technology. According to the Pew Research Center, 97% of Americans own a cellphone, 85% use smartphones, and 50% have a tablet computer. With a mobile device in almost every purse and pocket, casinos that haven’t already branched into the online format will move quickly to offer this service to players in 2022.
Online casinos that already have a strong customer base, will ramp up efforts to optimize their mobile offering to meet the increasing demand from players to access all types of casino games that deliver the best gambling experience on the device of their choosing from any location, day or night.
Smartwatches straddle the areas of both mobile and our next topic – wearable technology. Gaming software companies like Playtech and Microgaming, along with online gambling companies, are already looking at the possibilities around developing a range of gambling and online sports betting apps. The technology that will allow individuals to play casino games on this type of smart device is almost here. But a number of interesting entries to market in 2020 (the $1,500 limited edition Fnatic watch with an aesthetic designed for esports gamers that sold out quickly, and the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition smartwatch) could be the forerunners to some interesting developments in the smartwatch space in 2022.
The future of mobile is undoubtedly wearable technology. Smartphone developers are already researching exciting developments like thinner stretchable screens. We’re hoping to see further innovations in these areas that have the potential to impact the way people play casino games:
- Smart clothes: Already we’ve seen a cocktail dress that lights up when a call is received; keyboard pants; clothing with built-in LED lighting; and shoes that use a smartphone, Google Maps, and vibrations to tell you where to turn to reach your destination; and shiftwear’s smartphone application that allows users to change the design on their shoes. Could 2022 be the year we’ll see prototype technology that allows individuals to, for example, play online slots on an item of clothing instead of a screen?
- Payment technology: While much has been written about the first tentative steps towards use of cryptocurrency and blockchain in casinos, 2021 saw some other jaw-dropping developments in payment technology that could impact the way patrons pay to play their favorite casino games. In 2021, the NFC Ring enabled celebrities walking through the “Cashless on the Catwalk” event at the Collins Music Hall in Islington, UK, to make purchases by simply tapping the stylish jewelry ring at any purchase terminal. This points to several exciting payment options that take security and payment flexibility to new levels.
The live casino
Live dealer games have kept the casino floor experience alive for many players during the pandemic, while for others it’s simply been a more immersive way to play classic casino table games. Live casino games use gameplay software and a real-time video link-up to a studio that has been designed to look like an authentic casino environment. While this format is still somewhat limited in its scope, it does enable players to take part in games from almost any location and on a device of their choice. There is also a chat function that gives players the opportunity to talk to each other and the in-studio dealer.
The future of live dealer games is bright and 2022 will no doubt see further developments in this area. While every year since at least 2012, it’s been predicted that VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) will at last “go mainstream,” 2022 just might be the breakout year. Outside of military uses for VR/AR, the gaming industry has led the charge, and the VR/AR sector is expected to be worth $12 billion by 2024. One aspect that has held back the widespread adoption of this technology is affordability. Now, innovations in the internal hardware of headsets are transforming the market. PCB design simulators are helping not only to standardize the electronics in these devices, but they’re also making it easier for the industry to share and manufacture designs in large quantities, which is resulting in better and more affordable products.
This may be the nudge the gambling industry needs to introduce VR-optimized virtual casino rooms where individuals can, for example, play a blackjack online casino game while having a 360-degree view, picking up their cards, and playing with chips while talking to the dealer and fellow players. Online poker tournaments are already growing in popularity, and the use of VR/AR technology will no doubt take them to the next level.
While an amazing user experience is a great motivator for industry-wide adoption of this technology, it’s also in the online gambling industry’s best interests. Online casinos know that while it’s expensive to set up a VR/AR platform, it’s definitely cheaper than operating a live casino that requires an expensive TV studio and live-stream production. Will 2022 be the year of VR/AR casinos?
What to expect at BetMGM in 2022
Regardless of what trends or developments may come or go in 2022, we can assure you that we’ll be on top of the technology, to deliver the best user experience possible for our customers. For example, we’ve merged all the different BetMGM state apps into one unified BetMGM app. This means you can use the new state switcher function to select which state you’re in and play seamlessly. Travelling to another regulated state? Just switch to that state and create an account to place your bets.
If you haven’t yet signed up with us, simply register online to get access to one of the most comprehensive offerings of online games, from the best slots and classics like roulette casino games to immersive variants of well-known table games. It’s a world of entertainment at your fingertips. And, who knows? You just might be playing on a smartwatch, item of clothing, or walking around a virtual casino room in 2022. Whatever happens, you won’t want to miss the action!