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Opinion: iGaming predictions – What we’ll see in 2023

16th January 2023 10:14 am GMT

Delasport CEO Oren Cohen Shwartz gives his opinion on what will happen in 2023 to address the growing need to go beyond content and run a successful operation.

Innovation has always been the hallmark of the online gambling sector, with every year seeing more and more evolution in technology and the way in which operators, suppliers and players interact.  

By partaking in a highly competitive environment, all operators have access to the same payment options, sports, video slots, live casino games and other desired features. The game has changed, and creating a differentiation against the competition and going beyond expected content is a make-it-or-break-it scenario.

Here’s what Delasport CEO Oren Cohen Shwartz thinks will happen in 2023 to address the growing need to go beyond content and run a successful operation through personalization, social, original content, higher level of service, gamification and more.

Better player personalization

In a market that is becoming more and more commoditized, where competing products frequently have a similar look and feel, user experience differentiation becomes essential. As such, operators and suppliers will look to include better player personalization, where content, communications, bonuses, and other aspects are tailored to player preferences and behaviour. This will be achieved through better data collection methods whether explicit or implicit.

Through such practices, punters and players (just like any other digital consumers) are fundamentally empowered. If they don’t feel that power, they can quite easily switch operator in search of something better. Today’s players are already getting used to being catered in a bespoke manner by other eCommerce establishments, meaning that iGaming operators need to step up and provide similar experiences. For example, at Delasport, we have a feature named ‘My Sportsbook’ and as the name implies, it is a personalization functionality that essentially displays only the content that the player likes to see. Hence, My Sports, My leagues, My teams etc. This feature allows a simpler, ready-to-use UX for quicker bets.

New, exciting ways to bet

Intriguing new wagering options are an important attribute for several reasons, and not just for early adopters. Firstly, they allow operators to differentiate in their market, and second, it stimulates player imagination and can potentially increase revenues and player satisfaction. For instance, several years ago Big Time Gaming came up with Megaways mechanics, which was a new and exciting concept that allowed each spin to have over 100,000 variations. These types of game got a lot of player traction to the extent that operators have decided to have them in a category of their own.

With this in mind, we have introduced If Bet, a new way to bet on Sport. With If Bet, the bettors can make multiple selections of single bets at whatever single initial stake they choose. If their first selection loses, they lose the stake and the rest of the underlining if-bets are cancelled – but if it wins, the system will continue to make the next bet automatically using the original stake, or if preferred, with the winnings stacked on as well.

We are also introducing ‘My Event Builder’, which is an exciting way to bet as it introduces endless events that each bettor can create for themselves. With this feature, punters can create a virtual event that is based on two real-life events. For example, they can bet on a correct score of 2:1 between Inter Milan and Liverpool, while Milan is actually playing in real life against Juventus, and Liverpool is playing against Everton. If in their respective events, Milan scores 2 and Juventus scores 1, the player has a winning ticket. 

Original content

In today’s marketplace, operators are sharing access to the same sports, leagues, tournaments, video slots, live casino games, and other content. While this will give them some traction, it’ll come at the cost of lower loyalty and customer lifetime value. With this in mind, operators will need to find ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Original content in Casino is becoming a growing trend, with most tier 1 operators investing the money to produce 10-20 games of their own on an annual basis, such as CR games studio for Coral, Star technologies, bet365 and others. These operators are producing proprietary games, but not to save on revenue, but to differentiate.

Going Social

The social revolution does not pass the iGaming industry, with 20-35-year-olds heavily active on various platforms. Sharing for them is a way of living, where they can share a bet slip, watch casino streamers, play slots together (shared bet behind), slots duals, sharing a win, and others ways of socializing. We will see more of this trend in 2023 as suppliers and operators seek to assimilate the social revolution into the betting experience.

At your service

Together with content comes great service. Players have a lot of brands to choose from and their tolerance for bad service is very low.  ‘At your service’ is a concept that threads through each part of the player journey. From automated, speedy registration and KYC process to automatic fast withdrawals, quick bets and swift deposits, every touchpoint needs to be painless.  In addition, customer service is the face of the operation, and the team that has direct contact with players needs to use the opportunity to resolve any issues quickly and maintain the image of the brand. If done correctly a player can move from complaint mode to appreciation mode.

More gamification

Although the term is overused, Gamification is still important and will continue becoming the mainstream as suppliers and operators look for new ways to attract and retain their players better. Gamification is all about the need to elevate the betting experience beyond content. By introducing metagames over existing content, operators will have many more ways to retain player interest and reward them for their time spent in the ecosystem. I expect to see more gamification elements such as tournaments, missions, XP points, in both Casino and Sports verticals. Lastly, gamification should go hand in hand with player personalization as no players are alike. The offering must be relevant and contextual to each player individually.

Faster and less hassle  

High rollers and recreational players alike are entering operator websites with a betting state of mind. The easier and quicker they can bet on their favorite team or spin their favored wheel, the better the betting experience. While this is an existing trend, operators in 2023 will need to look for ways to further remove frictions, and produce flawless journeys with fast KYC, automated withdrawal, content filtering according to past activities, quick bets and more.

Meaningful and contextual notifications

Punters and players will opt-in to notifications if they are relevant to them, such as live results if they have placed a bet, when a jackpot reaches a certain amount or when a preferred game presenter is on. If handled intelligently by the operator (so that they don’t annoy or overwhelm the player) it can be a great way to keep the player connected to the ecosystem, even if they aren’t actively using the app at the time.

Live Dealer Games

Live-dealer games are extremely popular as they combine the feel of both online and offline gambling. Players can enjoy all the benefits of playing at home, such as creating their own environment and avoiding crowded areas, while also getting the visual experience of watching a dealer deal cards or spin the roulette wheel. This choice will likely be used more frequently by casinos as they realize how effective it is at enticing customers. And, as internet bandwidth limits rise, streamers of live gambling can accommodate a higher number of players in one instance.

Crypto Gambling

The cryptocurrency gambling industry will grow as its regulation becomes more defined. Casinos that accept Bitcoin and other digital tokens as payment methods will grow in 2023 as they already occupy a sizable market niche within the iGaming sector. For the players, being able to bet anonymously, paying little to no fees, and having quick transactions are attractive prospects. Cryptocurrency users highly value the anonymity they provide and are unlikely to return to traditional cash payments.

To satisfy the needs of their users, many non-crypto gambling platforms will likely work to incorporate cryptocurrencies into their platforms in 2023.

Regulation and legislation

More governmental organizations are starting to realize the importance of regulating betting in their areas. No matter if gambling is permitted or not, there will always be those who partake in gambling-related activities through side channels and other means. Governments have the option of actively regulating these activities to reap the financial rewards of a highly profitable and popular industry.

I expect to see more development for countries that are on the brink of regulation, especially sleeping giants such as Brazil and other LatAm jurisdictions. And, for those countries where legislation is already established and in infancy, I expect to see their laws become more protective of the players.

Final Thoughts

The above are just some of the larger trends I expect to see develop further. In an industry like ours, there are many technological and promotional nuances that are always changing and evolving alongside the needs of operators and their players. As someone working as a supplier, we at Delasport are often at the beginning of the pipeline for when it comes to bringing new technology to the table, so staying on top of what tomorrow’s needs will be is paramount. 2022 has been a very interesting year for the industry and I have no doubt that 2023 is going to be a real push forward in many ways.

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