Online gambling has morphed into an unstoppable industry, and it appears that nothing will slow down its rise anytime soon. In 2019, the global gaming sector pulled in estimated revenues of $58.9 billion. That number rose by $8 billion in 2020, and current projections say it will hit $93 in 2023. The worldwide market is growing at a rate of 11.4% per year. Europe, one of its more developed regions, should see an annual expansion progression of 7.5%. On the other side of the world, the US, a somewhat embryonic internet betting territory, should experience a compound annual growth of 17.34% in the next four years. Among the reasons listed for the mushrooming of this sphere is the evolution of blockchain technology and its wide adoption.
Cryptocurrencies got birthed in 2009 with the invention of Bitcoin. It took two years (2011) for the first gambling websites that accept digital coins to debut on the internet. These were primitive dice platforms featuring provably fair algorithms. Around 2014, Curacao master license holder Antillephone N.V. began licensing crypto casinos, and the industry opened up to new possibilities for operators and players. In 2016, the UKGC announced that it equates cryptos to fiat money, and crypto gambling in Britain took off.
Today, hundreds of gaming platforms allow crypto bets, and interactive gaming providers are inescapably becoming more flexible and innovative to meet the needs of an ever-changing market. While, in the past, provably fair algorithms incorporated into simple products like hi-lo, Plinko, dice, and crash ruled the crypto wagering landscape, now, things have gotten more advanced. These days, everyone can bet on slots and live dealer casino games with digital money on a wide range of platforms. The Malta-based software provider BGaming, which has Belarusian roots, was the first to offer a randomness verification system for online slots. They are now working on a package of dice provably fair titles that they hope will meet market tendencies.
BGaming’s latest crash-based game, Space XY, may prove to cause ripples in the industry and act as a game-changer. Due to its simple yet eye-catching design, it classifies as an uncomplicated product featuring multiplayer mechanics, something that many believe is the new horizon for the gaming sector. Hyper-casual games have their fans because they are fast to load and convenient to play on any device. Moreover, the multiplier dimension in Space XY adds a greater sense of dynamism to its gameplay and helps proliferate elements standard for regular video games into the interactive gaming arena. Undoubtedly, gamification concepts are spreading like wildfire to online gambling platforms as of late and are an essential tool to capture younger demographics.
What no one can also argue against is that interest in playing games of chance and betting on sports over the internet has sky-rocketed amidst the global health crisis, beginning in early-2020 when retail wagering shops and casinos started closing down or operating with a limited capacity. Going by a May 2021 University of Bristol study, frequent gamblers were six times more likely to bet online after the pandemic than before it.
Cryptocurrencies and eSports betting also saw a spike in popularity in 2021. Cryptos reached an all-time market high by exceeding $2 trillion in 2021. Per data from Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs, around 4% of all online gambling searches are now crypto-oriented. That may not seem like much, but it should get noted that this percentage only represents the entire search volume of this gaming genre and not the revenues it generates.
More and more online gamblers are gravitating toward using cryptos for their betting hobby than ever before. Per Google Trends, interest in Bitcoin casinos increased four-fold from June 2019 to early-2021, and there are no signs that this trend is on the decline. That is so, despite virtually all forms of digital money experiencing a price plunge recently as news broke that the US Federal Reserve may introduce a series of increased interest rates which should ripple through multiple markets, causing investors to panic.
The appeal of crypto casinos lies in that they offer fast transfer speeds and anonymity. However, the latter is an aspect of cryptocurrency betting that has become less established due to regulators mandating that operators implement Know Your Customer policies. These require that players identify themselves by providing personal documents. Government starting to take crypto regulation more seriously also disrupted the secrecy linked with crypto betting. Hence, some players have migrated to playing at metaverse gaming establishments, which is this sphere’s latest fad.
Metaverses are virtual shared spaces that have made substantial noise over the past two years. In October 2021, Facebook announced that it is undergoing a rebrand and shifting its focus to expand into this new craze. In short, metaverses are 3D environments that users can freely roam. They can interact and transact in these open worlds with others and even run businesses. Most currently active metaverses have Etherum-powered economies, utilizing native ERC-20 tokens. Decentraland, the most famous metaverse running today, has its MANA token, which acts as its digital money equivalent. This virtual world is home to several metaverse casinos that accept the mentioned token and many others for betting fun. Two notable gaming venues in Decentraland are the Tominoya casino and the Atari one.
Metaverse gaming also appeals to a niche demographic and is not something that boasts a ton of mainstream intrigue at the moment. Perhaps, in the years to come, as the user pool of these virtual shared spaces swells, so will the fascination with these digitally simulated locales that offer authentic gambling fun, complete with different levels of interaction. Still, metaverses are definitely gaining traction. Axie Infinity, a popular crypto-based game produced by Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese game studio, accounted for a crypto trading volume of $2.5 billion in September 2021 alone. Play-to-earn games are a thing that appeals to many, and there is an apparent gambling expansion occurring within the NFT space right now.