Canada online gambling market trends in 2021 and beyond.
The gambling industry, both on land and online, has been big business for decades. As we look upon the current state of affairs, and ahead into the future, there are a number of notable trends in the Canadian iGaming market. Some are already taking shape, while others are visibly approaching on the horizon. Likewise, some are to be expected, while others may surprise you. Without further ado, let’s take a look at…
Canada Online Gambling Market Trends in 2021 and Beyond
There are a multitude of factors that are, and will continue to impact internet gambling trends. While the current condition of the world’s health is partly responsible, it is not a major factor in the impacts we’ll be discussing today. Even the #1 feature on our list – Continued Growth of iGaming – is attributed far more to progressive technology than anything else.
Continued Growth of iGaming Market
This one is a no-brainer. The online gambling market has grown exponentially since the dawn of the industry, dating back to the mid 1990s. The driving force behind that growth changes from time to time, but the result is always the same. Every year, more jurisdictions are regulating the activity; more advances in technology enhance the quality of the experience; more people gain an interest in it, largely due to an acquired trust in the security of the systems that power it.
Spending more time at home, seeking out variable means of entertainment has had an impact on the market, but more critical to iGaming’s recent growth is greater and greater reliance on mobile technology. You’ll remember a time when a phone was just that – a phone. Even mobile phones started out as basic communication devices. Now, a phone is a lifeline to anything and everything you might possibly seek, from information, to entertainment, to social media and, well… everything! It should come as no surprise that casino gamblers, poker players and sports bettors are making the transition to mobile gaming, as well.
Live Casino Games Have Yet to Peak
Live dealer casinos have been around even longer than smartphones. When the first live casino opened for soft-launch in 2003, it wasn’t exactly the booming success so many had hoped for. The concept was fantastic, but technology was not yet capable of delivering the goods – not in a way players could truly appreciate. Videos lagged, audio skipped, real-time streams froze and glitched. It took about ten years for live blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other popular table games to come anywhere near their true potential.
Now, nearly two decades since their debut, live dealers offer an experience like nothing else in the iGaming sector. Combined with the continued growth of internet gaming, these realistic experiences are sure to garner more and more of the overall market share in years to come. As always, Evolution Gaming will lead the charge, developing new content, fresh games, and a more smooth, sleek, seamless experience for users.
Expect Mainstream Crypto Payments
Bitcoin showed up in 2009 as an alternative, digital currency, under the control of no central government. It was revolutionary. But it didn’t get much attention until its value skyrocketed. That’s when a flurry of cryptocurrencies began hitting the market – Ethereum, Litecoin, the infamous meme-turned-joke-crypto, Dogecoin.
Over the last few years, more people have come to trust in digital coins. In fact, a lot more people are participating in the stock market, in general, and trading crypto-currencies has become a natural extension of it. As such, digital coins are destined to become mainstream payment options in iGaming. There are already numerous online casinos that accept only crypto deposits. Soon enough, 90% of the industry will proudly display Bitcoin and other cryptos on their payments menu.
Immense Growth in eSports Betting
Electronic sports, or eSports, is the colloquial name given to the competitive video gaming community. What started as a very small group of pro gamers, hardly even worth of the title “niche”, slowly grew into a world-wide, tournament-based series series of championship events. Call of Duty, League of Legends, DOTA2, even Mario Kart, was worthy of massive prize-pool tournament status. But still, it was a small group of highly talented players, making up just a few dozen teams across the globe.
That fact hasn’t changed. What has changed is the amount of interest from the public. Viewership has exploded in recent years, especially since 2020, and a substantial number of those viewers are betting on eSports competitions. The popularity of eSports betting isn’t expected to slack off just because traditional athletic sports are back in full swing. It should only grow more attractive as additional games, tournaments, and teams take to their PCs and consoles
More Competitive Promotions from iGaming Ops
As the industry grows, so will the level of competition between online gambling operators. The competitive nature of the business has led to progressively more valuable incentives for decades, and that’s something online bettors can expect to see a lot more of in the coming years.
The iGaming industry isn’t like retail gambling establishments. Aside from gambling meccas like Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Macau, China, local casinos don’t have to worry too much about competition. They know that they’ll attract the local population on the majority of their gaming excursions. By this, I mean that, unless you’re planning a vacation, you’re more likely to visit your local casino, poker room, sportsbook, etc., to place bets in person. Therefore the local casino knows they will have your business.
There are no distance limitations for online gamblers. Any operator legally capable of accepting your business is open to you. Every operator must do its best to compete for every last customer they can get. The end result is a market that grows continuously more creative in its promotional campaigns and marketing efforts.
Responsible Gambling Awareness
More and more jurisdictions all over the world are taking steps to legalize internet gaming in one capacity or another. While each chooses their own path to regulation, there is one thing just about every acquiescent government can agree on, and that’s the need for greater awareness of responsible gambling practices. Operators are required to make greater efforts to raise awareness for players – awareness of responsible practices, as well as the availability of problem gambling information and treatment materials, aids and facilities.
Some operators, especially here in Canada, are already supporting this effort with the provision of voluntary and/or mandatory bet limits and deposit limits. Once a player has accessed games for a certain period of time, they may be interrupted by a pop-up message to let them know how long they’ve been playing, and how much they’ve bet, won, and/or lost in that amount of time – a quick “reality check”, so to speak.
Efforts like these are sure to increase over time, with industry-wide access to voluntary self-exclusion options. It is hoped that more jurisdictions will begin working together to combine their self-exclusion lists. Someone from Ontario who opts for self-exclusion should not be able to drive across the border to Quebec and access online gaming there. One day, this is sure to be a reality. For now, its a loop hole.
The Future of VR Gambling
This is the only item on the list that remains questionable. It’s been projected for years that virtual reality would be the future of online gambling. The introduction of high-tech headsets, like Oculus Rift, was what triggered the conversation. However, each time it comes up, the same argument is made.
One day, when worthy VR tech becomes affordable enough for mainstream households, VR casinos and poker rooms are sure to take off. But just when that will happen is impossible to predict.
Virtual reality didn’t catch on the way its original developers hoped that it would. Even users who have invested in the best equipment do not use it on a regular basis, if at all. The biggest problems contradict one another. 1) Not enough people use VR for development companies to invest millions of dollars on creating major content for it. 2) There’s not enough major content for the public at large to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a quality VR headset.
Once these two factors come together – and one day, they surely will – we’ll finally see movement towards a significant VR gambling market. Until then, this is one of those “future predictions” that’s just too hard to put on a timeline.