The global online casino and gambling market is valued at just under $100 billion in 2022 and projected to continue its bull market, reaching over $130 billion by 2027 according to a MarketWatch data report, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9%.
Traditional brick and mortar casinos have been falling out of favor for some years, even before the global pandemic forced many land-based gambling casinos to close to punters. Both the customers and casino investors who would rather ‘bet on the house’ have increasingly been going online to get their fix.
Fuelling the growth of the casino industry are several interlinked trends popular with young gamers, bringing gaming and gambling closer together - they include the use of VR headset innovations, the popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and the rise of esports betting.
Top 3 Online Casino Trends
VR (virtual reality)
VR and AR - augmented reality - allow people to gamble with greater immersion, particularly now that in 2022 Facebook has announced a brand name change to Meta and the creation of the Metaverse, which will make VR gaming accessible worldwide.
A term first coined several decades ago by New York Times bestselling science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, the ‘Metaverse’ is a proposed virtual reality world where people can have immersive experiences by wearing a VR headset, and bridge the gap between the online world and reality.
What that means for the online casino industry is that people will be able to experience the sights and sounds of a Las Vegas strip casino from the comfort of their computer, as if they were walking around the pits themselves - spinning the roulette wheel, throwing the crap dice and pushing all-in with your poker chip stack will take on a whole new meaning for those who would rather play online.
The use of decentralized digital currencies has opened up online casinos to more of the world, in countries where local financial regulations and laws previously made it difficult to access.
Blockchain technology has also been used to develop provably fair casino games and even crypto lottery formats, that are less vulnerable to the RNG (random number generator) being manipulated or hacked. All Blockchain transactions can be verified on a digital ledger, improving transparency in gambling formats of all kinds.
Bitcoin casinos have risen in popularity online. First household name online casinos started to accept cryptocurrency deposits - whether in Bitcoin, Ethereum, other altcoins, or stablecoins like USDT - alongside fiat currency.
Then entire crypto casinos came onto the market, where gamblers bet in units of BTC - ‘Satoshis’ - or other digital currencies, depositing and withdrawing in the crypto of their choice. This list of 25 such crypto-friendly gambling sites goes into the intricacies of modern-day online gambling using cryptocurrencies.
The anonymity of crypto, allowing people to ‘be their own bank’ and achieve financial freedom also translates well to online gambling, as unlike high street banks there’s no risk of account closure or blocked transactions when using a crypto wallet if you happen to enjoy a flutter online.
Sports betting and online casinos have always been a match made in heaven, with many online casino sites also operating sportsbooks and offering bets on football, horse racing, basketball, and more.
Esports, short for electronic sports, is more appealing to the next generation of online gamers as it allows betting on popular video game titles like FIFA, multiplayer fantasy game DOTA 2 (sequel to battle arena game Defense of the Ancients, similar to Warcraft), and first-person shooter (FPS) PC games Call of Duty and Counter-Strike - especially its most popular expansion CS:GO (Counter-Strike Global Offensive).
Developed by online gaming developer giants like Valve, what were once seen as niche hobbies have become industries of their own, as video gaming fans happily pay to watch and bet on the result of online multiplayer games, and the most talented gamers become superstars, comparable to athletes in celebrity status.
USA Legalising Online Betting
Another encouraging trend on the regulatory front is that more and more US states are legalizing online betting, allowing an increasing number of Americans to gamble online.
US states have not been very active in enforcing US gambling laws such as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 at the state level. That was followed by multiple bills being passed by house representatives in 2007 and later years which softened federal internet gambling laws.
The good news for the punter is that there has never been any federal law against the players themselves gambling online. Any legal action taken in the past was always directed against the casino sites themselves, and in cases where funds were seized as part of investigations, they were over time repaid to players.
A 2018 Supreme Court ruling increased the legitimacy of online sports betting and allowed six US states to make online poker legal again - Nevada, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Kentucky is rumored to follow, New York has a poker bill on the table, Connecticut has already introduced an online gambling bill, and Nebraska has a bill to declare poker a skill game. The future looks bright for American online casino players in 2022.