The casino industry is in a constant battle for customers’ attention, with dozens of new slots being released every week, and almost as many falling by the wayside a month later. What have the developers and casinos come up with so far this year? Here are 5 interesting trends which could prove pivotal in 2020.
Live Casino is edging out slots
Industry data shows that users are spending more and more time playing live casino games from providers such as Evolution Gaming. These games include roulette, blackjack and craps, streamed in high definition to users across the world, with live dealers communicating in the users’ own language. Casinos like Mr Green even have bespoke, dedicated tables where their customers can play exclusively at branded tables. These live dealer games are clearly a big draw for fans, and at least some of this growth is coming at the expense of online slots, with Evolution’s revenues growing at a faster rate than their slots-only competitors. It seems that while people may enjoy gambling online, they still enjoy the human touch.
But slots are entering the live casino market too
One interesting development we are seeing is that live casino providers are starting to introduce slots in their lobbies. How does this work? Well it basically involves a presenter spinning reels on a slot game on behalf of an unlimited numbers of viewers, who can define their own stake sizes. This adds a social element to proceedings which customers seem to be enjoying so far. Playtech has already rolled out a live version of Buffalo Blitz, with more games in the pipeline.
Live casinos are starting to use TV and board games as inspiration for new titles
Evolution Gaming started off life streaming classic casino games like roulette, poker and blackjack. But to expand their growth into new market segments, they have adopted a strategy of applying gambling elements to more popular games. These include versions of the Monopoly board game, the Deal or No Deal TV show, as well as various versions of bingo. Such games have allowed live casinos to reach out to customers who would otherwise never consider playing poker or roulette.
Franchise slots continue to be popular among players and game developers. This year’s batch so far includes an official Expendables slot game, while one of the biggest releases of 2019 was NetEnt’s Narcos. However, the best movie slot of the past 18 months was probably Ghostbusters Plus by IGT. This game has a fun bonus round that involves zapping ghosts and collecting them for later prizes.
Slots are integrating gameplay with their themes
Modern online slots bear little resemblance to the one-armed bandits of last century. Now developers try their damnedest to actually get inspired by the slot theme when they get to designing the game mechanics. As well as the Ghostbusters example above, the recent Yggdrasil slot Yokozuna Clash has a sumo wrestler theme. In the bonus round, you need to choose one of two wrestlers, who then fight each other for a share of the spoils.
The online gambling industry already shows some interesting trends through the first quarter of 2020. Some of these trends look like they should continue for a good while longer yet, with the growth in the live casino vertical being the most intriguing. We will continue tracking the trends above and see how many can make it to the end of 2020.