Online casinos are having a great year in 2020, with these sites more popular than ever. People have been left with few options but to go online to gamble due to the coronavirus crisis and this has led to an explosion in user numbers at these sites.
While bricks and mortar casinos might well make a comeback as COVID-19 starts to recede into the background, many people may decide to stick with playing online. The flexibility of online casinos is a big plus point and they tend to offer better bonuses and promotions as well.
But what is going to be coming next for online casinos in the year 2021 and beyond?
Competition in the industry will keep growing
Online gambling might be on the rise, but that does not necessarily mean the industry is an easy one in which companies can make money.
Everyone seems to be trying to secure a slice of the pie right now, with more businesses entering the market all the time. Existing operators are trying to earn a place in the queue to capitalise online, but there are a few firms already dominating the internet in this area.
More and more competition seems certain as the online gambling sector keeps expanding. Online gambling is said to be worth more than $50 billion globally already and this figure is going to continue to rise quickly in the next few years.
Competition will likely be good for casino customers. There are already a lot of bonuses available at online casinos, but to attract users these might have to become more generous.
Technological developments on the way
With so much competition in the industry, standing out from the crowd will become more important than ever. One way to do so will be through adopting new technology.
Online casinos have upped their game, which you can tell by the many glowing reviews that are out there for people to read. It seems likely that further developments in the industry will continue, with many believing virtual reality - or VR for short - to be the next big thing.
VR could revolutionise online casinos, making them feel just like being inside a bricks and mortar casino. This would rely on VR headsets becoming a lot more common, however, as they have not made the breakthrough to the wider general public that may have been expected.
Adopting artificial intelligence can also allow online casinos to produce targeted bonuses and promotions for their customers, encouraging them to come back and play more often.
Casinos with a physical presence to move online - and attract investors
One trend that is already noticeable within the industry is that casinos that have a physical presence in the United States are starting to move online. This trend may be exacerbated in 2020 by the coronavirus crisis, which has left a hole in the finances of these companies as a result of having to close their bricks and mortar casinos.
It might seem obvious that physical casinos would be in prime position to make the most of the rise in online gambling, but this is not necessarily the case. One of the reasons for this is that casinos have worked hard to protect their position in the market - they do not usually welcome the online gambling trend.
This part of the industry has become harder and harder to ignore, however, as people appear to prefer playing online. The pandemic could result in a permanent switch to online play.
MGM Resorts is a company worth using as an example here. The company has typically focused on bricks and mortar casinos in prime locations around the world. However, a partnership with GVC Holdings, one of the biggest players in the online casinos world, suggests that MGM is looking to become a lot more open-minded.
GVC and MGM are two big casino stocks worth keeping a close eye on in the near future. Another could be Flutter Entertainment - the company that owns brands such as Paddy Power, Sky Bet and PokerStars - which has made recent moves into the United States market.
Companies such as IGT and Scientific Games, which both provide some of the key nuts and bolts for the online casino industry, could also be of interest to investors in the near future.
Online casinos are here to stay, without a doubt, with the sector expected to grow extremely quickly both in 2021 and beyond. There will therefore be plenty of cash to be made here.