The future of any industry can be difficult to predict given the variables that can determine its progression. 

However, it was unanimously agreed across CasinoBeats Summit’s Industry Trends and Future Predictions panel that personalisation and the player must be one of, if not the most, important factors for any casino and their future innovation prospects.

Sponsored by NetBet, the Industry Trends and Future Predictions panel featured a variety of industry experts from across sectors who forecasted their unique perspectives on what casino and slots platforms might look like in the years to come. 

On the panel was Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO of EvenBet GamingInesa Glazaite, Chief Commercial Officer of iGPItai Zak, Executive Director of Digicode and former CEO of SBTechAlexander Martin, Advisor & NED at Dice GP and former CEO of SKS365; and Mark Taffler, Commercial Director of Hub88.

Moderated by SBC Media’s Project Director, Martyn Elliott, the panel was asked about casino innovation and technology, with product personalisation being the response each panel participant gave in some form or another.

Martin noted that gamification needs to be at the top of operators’ minds with something new and something interactive, while Starostenkov stated that igaming verticals need to work together to create “comprehensive entertainment” for consumers on casino platforms.

Glazaite highlighted the importance of adapting to changing player behaviour, while Zak remarked that “the player must be placed in the centre”.

Taffler doubled down on Zak’s comments that casinos must recognise players being at the forefront of any future direction for any operator.

The Hub88 Director said: “You have to put the player at the centre of everything that you do. As a B2B supplier, we have to put the B2C customer at the centre of everything we do.

“We have to look at this at a more macro-level. The industry is maturing at such a rate that players are a lot more educated now and I don’t think there’s been any real innovation for a while, I think it’s more iteration.

“That is fine, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I refer to the Henry Ford quote quite a lot where he said ‘If you ask customers what they want, they’ll say faster horses’ and then he invented cars. Customers didn’t know that they needed cars, they thought they could only have a faster horse.

“What is really important is, as the industry matures, we see growing markets that localisation is still fundamentally important. I still hear of people going into LatAm. Which part? The Portuguese-speaking part or the Spanish-speaking part? How big is the file size of your content? How good is the mobile connectivity in Venezuela vs Germany? Where are your servers?

“I think there’s a lot of really hygienic things that need to be done in the industry before everyone starts to move on to the BHAGs – big, hairy audacious goals. Ultimately, all that matters is that the player is happy if you’re a B2C, and ultimately, all that matters is that the casino is happy if you’re a B2B.”

Current trends

Elliott then asked the panel about trends that they are seeing emerge currently in the casino space and several topics were discussed.

Martin noted that he’s starting to see more social games on the market, with gameshows getting involved in various ways, as well as streaming services and the metaverse. He also pointed out the growing interest in artificial intelligence.

“Something that has been around for a long time already and something that everyone should be adapting is AI,” stated Martin.

“The key question is who is adopting the technology. We have been using it for customer service operations, we have been using it for marketing developments, graphics, videos, all kinds of promotions and CRM. These kinds of tools are very efficient and very powerful for an operator. 

“There have been some attempts to use AI to create slots, it’s not of the quality that we are used to having today, but it is something that will be continuing and something that will be coming up in the next few years.”

Zak also noted how important AI is currently for casinos, but stated it’s still in its early stages. It’s just being used as a tool for operators to achieve another goal within their operations such as creating a safer gaming environment for responsible gaming or streamlining development processes. Care with its usage needs to be a top priority.

The Digicode Director said: “AI isn’t suddenly the solution for everything. There is always going to be a need for human interaction. Players’ behaviour, especially in gambling, is very complicated, even for AI at this stage.”

He continued: “Make sure you understand that AI itself can’t solve anything, there is always going to be room and a need for professional human interaction.”

Across the rest of the panel, Glazaite re-emphasised localisation across markets for all operators down to the finest details, especially when launching in new regions. Starostenkov highlighted an interest across several gaming verticals for operators rather than just one or two.

Meanwhile, Taffler commented on live casino, going down a similar localisation point as Glazaite – bringing attention to producing a product which is in line with what the customer wants down to the fundamental elements of each game type.

Future predictions

As for what the future holds for casino and igaming operators, Taffler offered three predictions – payment processes to be improved upon; more companies to assist operators with quicker and more profit performance; and curated player casino experiences via a direct link.

Martin believes that in the next five years, there will be more gamification across all aspects of gaming operations for the metaverse and virtual reality. Glazaite believes personalisation and social gaming will become more prominent with groups gathering to play together online, while Starostenkov feels sweepstakes will be a red-hot trend in the coming months.

Zak brought the conversation back to the initial discussion on the importance of personalisation and the player, emphasising that the “player is king”, replacing the previous gaming monarch of content.

In addition, he also believes there will be more innovation, player offering personalisation and usage of AI by operators for streamlining processes and assisting in responsible gambling.

Zak commented: “If up until recently we used the slogan ‘content is king’, I believe now that the player is the king.”

He continued: “Technology is at a stage where it now enables us to do a lot of things, the limitation is not the technology. The limitation is the connectivity and how you tailor, provide and market your offering. We will see much more focus on the player.”

Other topics that were discussed on the Industry Trends and Future Predictions panel include live casino, content direction, VR and AR future in igaming as well as crypto.