The online gambling industry will process almost $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars) in bets per year by 2021, according to a whitepaper published this week by analyst Juniper Research. That equates to a 42 percent increase on the $550 billion expected this year.
The surge will be driven by the increasing power of the mobile technology to build customer engagement through the use of live streams and media, the paper says. Extraordinarily, it suggests that “wager levels will thus approach total spend on all digital goods and services by , forecast to exceed $1 trillion for the first time [in 2021].”
“User engagement goes a long way towards drawing in return business,” said the paper’s author, Lauren Foye, “Providing features such as news and media on favorite teams, as well as personalized offerings based on past betting activity, enables greater engagement and is likely to reduce churn.”
Virtual Reality Casinos
Virtual reality will also further increase customer engagement, particularly in the online casino vertical, argues Foye. Experts are divided about the speed of adoption of high-end virtual reality, which will allow players to explore virtual casino spaces and gamble on real-money casino games.
Real-money virtual reality casino gaming is already here though, late last year online casino, Slots Million became the first operator to launch a full blown real-money VR experience. You can experience it yourself, without headsets, via the 3D browser version here.
But the truth is, with VR, we are still waiting for the market to catch up. While headsets cost around $300, the high-spec PCs required to deliver the experience will set you back at least $1,200, which is currently a little too expensive to drive mass market adoption.
By 2021, though, who knows? Foye makes the valid point that early VR casino adopters could well be big-spenders.
“The new format of VR will attract a niche clientele initially, though these participants will wager significant amounts on real world ‘casino-style’ VR gambling products,” she predicts.
Bitcoin Won’t Go Mass Market
While high-end VR is likely to reach mass market adoption at some point, the paper doesn’t have the same high hopes for Bitcoin and other digital currencies, even in the gambling sector.
“Whilst a number of leading sportsbook providers, including William Hill and 888 now offer Bitcoin, Juniper believes that the cryptocurrency is unlikely to see mass-adoption, even in the gambling space,” it said.
Reasons for this include its relative technical complexity and increased regulation across the world, which include anti-money laundering directives that are largely incompatible with digital currencies.