The global gaming industry is big business. According to the latest research from Statista, the entire market could be worth over $200 billion by 2023 and a significant portion of that will be generated by the iGaming sector.
Of the 2.7 billion online gamers in the world, a substantial 59% of those regularly participate in online poker, casino and sports betting activities. Continued growth and development throughout the iGaming sector over the next 2.5 years could generate revenues of as much as $92.9 billion – an increase of over $20 million from 2020. And with the sector set to double in size before the end of the decade, iGaming is primed to become a major player in the digital entertainment industry.
So, with such substantial growth on the horizon, what are the key trends within this booming market that will contribute to it?
The Expansion of iGaming across the States
The last twelve months have had a major impact on iGaming on a global level. While gamers have faced the closure of land-based options, the online segment nevertheless has seen exponential growth. Many of the leading land-based players have taken their offering online, and the US has seen several new states license online real-money activities.
In 2020, the US iGaming market was valued at just under $2 million. By 2026, it is expected to register a CAGR of 17.32%. Key drivers in this growth include additional revenue streams across The States in which activities are currently legislated. The US has already seen this play out well in the state of Pennsylvania, where, in 2019, the iGaming portfolio was expanded to include online poker alongside sports wagering.
More recently, West Virginia expanded its licence to allow legal online casino activities in 2020, while New York is expected to continue to push for a comprehensive gaming licence in 2021.
iGaming Goes Mobile
For much of the development of the iGaming industry, online gaming platforms have been the dominant method of play. Pioneering operators PokerStars Casino, for example, have led the way in developing immersive online casino experiences that have kept gamers enthralled for over half a decade.
More recently, however, there’s been a distinct shift in the way consumers want to access casino games, leading to an increased focus by operators on developing and launching mobile iGaming apps.
While mobile iGaming apps themselves are nothing new, with the first ones appearing in the marketplace over half a decade ago, operators are nevertheless pouring extensive resources into creating innovative new gaming experiences for on the go. This is especially important for those brands operating in (or hoping to expand into) developing markets like India, where smartphone penetration is at an all-time high thanks to affordable handsets and data connections.
Cryptocurrencies are Becoming Mainstream in iGaming
iGaming and cryptocurrency seem like a match made in heaven. The decentralised nature of cryptos like Bitcoin means the added layer of security they offer is a natural fit for the security-conscious sector.
However, online gaming providers have been reluctant to fully take up alternative currencies, mainly due to the cost of implementation and lack of widespread availability.
All that has begun to change since 2020 and now cryptocurrencies are becoming mainstream across the sector, with some experts even predicting that they’ll edge out traditional banking methods in the years to come.
Integration into the Video Gaming Sector
Despite sharing many similarities, iGaming and video gaming have long been two distinct, separate sectors of the gaming industry. The emergence of the social media component in iGaming, however, is going a long way to integrating it into more mainstream video gaming culture.
The rise in popularity of Twitch poker streams and iGaming-focused Discord communities are just two of the ways in which iGaming is being embraced by the wider gaming community.
This development isn’t just growing amongst the gaming community, either. Even leading developers like Rockstar Games are integrating fully-functional iGaming elements into immensely popular franchises such as Grand Theft Auto.
Gaming audiences are relishing the opportunity to engage with casino activities like slots games, blackjack and even virtual sports on an RPG-gaming level, as evidenced by Grand Theft Auto Online’s best-selling success.