Local regulation, metaverse gaming and data privacy as a priority are some crucial industry trends for the current year according to SOFTSWISS, a leading innovative tech provider for iGaming with 10+ years of expertise. In this study, the company (which will be showcasing at ICE London 2023 on February 7-9th at stand N8-231) takes a deeper look at different segments of the online gaming business, and offers an optimistic approach on what will happen this season.
PAYMENTS AND LICENSING
Almost 60% of the third-party experts surveyed by SOFTSWISS named Payments and Licensing as a fundamental category influencing the iGaming industry. In 2023, more markets worldwide are expected to become locally regulated. This trend is strengthening as certain countries, including Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, are withdrawing from their registrations with international gaming authorities.
In terms of payments, operators need to ensure an abundance of well-established payment options, and a localization of financial modules. The integration of Apple Pay and Google Play could serve as a sound springboard to boost an online gambling business on the go. As for digital coins, even non-pro crypto adopters are expected to continue to offer them as a payment option to tap into new audiences and attract crypto-oriented gamblers. On the whole, cryptocurrencies see a wider recognition, as many countries are beginning to accept and integrate them into their financial systems. The latest example is Ukraine launching e-hryvnia, issued by the NBU.
Andrey Starovoitov, Co-CEO at SOFTSWISS, comments on the future of crypto: “The SOFTSWISS Crypto Casino Solution statistics demonstrate that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin remain the most demanded among crypto players. We also expect USDT to be an upcoming trend in the next few years. Despite the fact that the crypto market is going through turbulent times, operators understand the importance of crypto payments and their influence on the project attractiveness for the audience and the final casino choice. That explains why in 2023 operators will seek to incorporate alternative currencies and reinforce their portfolio with new digital coins.”
When it comes to the player behavior trends, operators are predicted to shift their focus from product-centric to user-centric business models. The commitment and effort to solve players’ issues will pay off through improved player retention metrics and increased loyalty. Another sage move is launching mobile and smartwatch versions of casino and sports betting projects to win over new audiences seeking easy and quick access to the online gaming functionality.
One more player trend outlined based on the SOFTSWISS Casino Platform clients’ data is the increasing popularity of live dealer games with crypto users. The market will give preference to this type of games, considering it as a more valuable proposition.
As for sports betting projects, the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook statistics demonstrate that 66% of bets are placed during live events against 34% of those placed in advance. This adds weight to the technical sustainability of platforms and drives the need for high quality live broadcasts.
The data-driven decision-making approach will make operators seek ready-made software products offering real-time access to clear and transparent data on their projects. In 2023, operators will redirect their attention from such exclusively financial KPIs as the first deposit, GGR, and NGR towards the game session length and bet count metrics. Prudent operators will invest to diversify their game portfolio, integrate new bonuses and use free-to-play games to improve loyalty, increase conversions, and establish long-term relationships with players.
Max Trafimovich, Chief Commercial Officer at SOFTSWISS, states: “To run a profitable iGaming business, operators need to know what their target audience is concerned about. It could be the integration of top-performing titles and new game mechanics to diversify their content portfolio, or availability and seamless performance of different payment methods, including crypto, or technical sustainability of web and mobile project versions. At SOFTSWISS, we develop technologies allowing our clients to stay one step ahead and keep track of their project progress 24/7 in great detail. To achieve these goals, in 2022, we launched three Business Intelligence tools housed by the SOFTSWISS Casino Platform: BM3, Event Streaming and iGAP.”
In 2023, being one of the main player engagement growth directions, gamification will continue to proliferate in the industry, bringing in a number of related trends. Cryptocurrency and NFT are expected to underpin the financial systems in meta-casinos to simplify withdrawing and depositing from different countries. At the same time, the market will be limited to crypto users.
This year, operators will rely more on jackpot campaigns to attract, reactivate and motivate players to engage in the desired type of gameplay. According to the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator’s clients, 49.6% of jackpot players increased their average bet sum in response to a global jackpot campaign, boosting the operator revenue. Besides being a player engagement booster, in 2023, bonuses will also find their use in regulating at-risk gambling activities and protecting overspending players. To achieve this, operators will opt for new innovative bonuses with flexible mechanics meeting various player needs. Overall, casino and sports betting projects will have to leverage different engagement tools to deliver outstanding results.
About this issue, Trafimovich thinks: “It is not the innovative technologies only that are capable of engaging the audience. The inclusion of retention and reactivation practices in project operations also affects the growth of key casino metrics. By treating each player as a VIP bettor, we not only maximize the player LTV (Lifetime Value), but also increase the overall audience loyalty. For example, in 2022, the SOFTSWISS Reactivation team discovered that their outgoing interactions reduced player churn rate by 50%.”
Following the iGaming industry growth, players want to understand what data operators are collecting about them, and how it will be used. In the context of GDPR and data security, the main Data Privacy as a priority trend will develop in several sub-trends further detailed in the report. This year, the emphasis will also be laid on the Responsible Gambling practices. Preventing affective behavior, dealing with already problematic players, and managing marketing activities will allow having a healthy gaming experience, free of economic and social risks or traumas.
In addition to the player care security trends, 2023 will see improved fraud prevention with advanced ML-powered tools. The SOFTSWISS Anti-Fraud department, which saved €15+ billion for the company clients in 2022, shares that the most widespread types of fraud look like: a) Bonus abuse – 69.9%; b) Money laundering – 9.9%, and c) Payment system fraud – 5.9%. In 2023, operators will be protecting their reputation and income by strengthening the verification quality with the help of additional analytical tools and services for checking documents and identifying destructive patterns.
Starovoitov summarizes the report trends: “The fast-growing iGaming market generates plenty of trends stemming from various business areas. It’s rather a challenge to monitor and follow each of them. To be a leading casino or sports betting operator, we suggest leveraging all existing business opportunities. In 2023, that starts with the integration of innovative solutions for deep project analytics, and player engagement tools. Another thing is to choose a reliable software provider who offers deep data-driven market expertise, flexible products, top-level service, and is capable of ensuring security.”