The global gambling industry grows bigger every year. Three factors have been driving this phenomenon.
Firstly, as China and the rest of Asia develop their economies, their citizens have more cash to splurge on luxuries, whether it be designer goods, the latest smartphones, or betting.
Secondly, the trend for governments to start regulating the gambling industry in the hope of raising tax revenues means that for the first time in history, it is getting easier to acquire a licence.
Thirdly, the exponential increase in technological innovations means that casinos can usenew ways to entice customers into the online world. Smartphone apps, mobile casinos and superfast broadband have all opened the gambling world up to market segments which were hitherto unexplored.
And it is this third growth driver where the real opportunities lie in the near future. If you can predict what will be the next big thing to hit the gambling world, then you can position yourself to make a fortune.
What will be the next innovation that will change everything in this sector? Here are 3 candidates to consider.
Virtual Reality (VR) casinos
Thebettor.com covers the most innovative online casinos and they believe the next frontier will be VR.
How likely is this?
Well, in many ways, the casino experience seems to be tailor-made for the VR world.
Despite its best efforts, the online casino world simply cannot match the thrill of entering a Vegas casino and playing against a real dealer or real poker players.
But VR could change this.
Imagine an experience where you find yourselfon the casino floor, enjoying a lifelike, fully-immersive and interactive world, where you can engage other players in real time.
Imagine playing realistic slot machines, or being able to display hand and body gestures, and to observe those of other players. Suddenly, we would have to think about our virtual tells!
VR development is still in an embryonic stage, but the prospect of this technology finally making the online casino experience more lifelike is why predictions are for VR gambling to rise 800% by 2021.
In many ways, Bitcoin was made for the murky world of the online casino world, since its anonymous peer-to-peer structure means that using it as a payment method gets around any government restrictions. It is notable that Bitcoin casinos are more popular in the US than they are in Europe, where licences are much more readily available.
However, Bitcoin faces some headwinds which might slow its advance into the gambling industry.
Firstly, the trend for governments to legalize online betting means the main reason to use the cryptocurrency to pay into and withdraw from casinos is limited.
Secondly, the huge spike in transaction fees and waiting times during Bitcoin’s heady rise in 2017 is not exactly customer or operator friendly.
Lastly, the new betting markets of Asia tend to have governments which are ambivalent about their citizens holding Bitcoin, which just increases the risk of using it as a payment method.
This niche has exploded in popularity since it began at the start of the decade. To those who don’t know, eSports is simply video gaming, but with an audience watching.
It was only a matter of time before this niche attracted the gambling world, and now several bookmakers offer bets on the big events, whether it be Overwatch or League of Legends.
How big could gambling on eSports get? Well, some in the betting community believe that the gaming people are a demographic which has barely been touched upon by traditional bookmakers. Gamers also tend to be younger and more affluent than average.
Does this mean that there will be a big market for betting on eSports? Maybe. The rise of platforms like Twitch where people can watch other people play video games was one of the surprises of the last decade. Can persuading these people in large numbers to bet on the outcome be the next big surprise?
In our view, VR seems to be the most convincing candidate to be the next big thing in gambling.
How should investors or business people play this?
Well, the investor should look at which gambling operator is entering the VR world first, as they are likely to gain market share. They might also consider investing in VR service provider start-ups which the operators will inevitably turn to for technical support.
Business people on the other hand should consider the affiliate opportunities which will arise once consumers start searching online for VR casinos.