The Income Access team flew down to San Francisco last week to attend the Totally Gaming industry event and we are pleased to say that we had a very productive conference.
We listened to a number of interesting speakers, spoke to many friends and colleagues from across the iGaming sphere, and even took home an award for ‘Acquisition and Retention Partner of the Year’ at the second annual eGR North America award celebration (see photo of all the winners below).
The conference attracted a wide array of attendees, from suppliers, to land-based casino operators, to digital innovators and marketers. Our team walked away with fresh insights on the current status and future outlook of the US gambling market.
With all eyes on the US market, we thought we would share with you some of the key trends we discovered during our time in San Francisco, and the ones iGaming operators and influencers should keep an eye on in the upcoming year.
Slow and steady wins the race: iGaming in the US is on the riseA reoccurring theme throughout the conference was the ongoing regulatory and compliance discussions taking place in many states across the US. If these bills are passed, many doors will be opened wide for DFS, poker and sports betting operators.
A close eye should be kept on Californian poker regulations, as the latest bill has made its way farther through the Assembly than it has in the past decade. With a population of 38.8 million, this market is expected by many to be the tipping point for growth of iGaming in the US, potentially drawing in key players like Google and financial institutions that have not yet approved payment processing in these markets. The entrance of PokerStars into the New Jersey market has proved encouraging as well, and it will be interesting to see what happens in California.
As we all know, this past year has been a turbulent one for the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) market, with many states currently reviewing regulations and whether or not to legalize DFS. Some states have chosen to regulate, while many others assemblies are still deliberating the future of DFS. For more information, check out the latest news at Legal Sports Report.
Non-traditional games may be the way of the futureWith iGaming still on the cusp of expansion in the United States, GiGse focused much of its agenda on operators and developers that are building alternative product offerings for both brick-and-mortar and digital businesses.
A few key panels focused on the following new product developments:
- Skill-based Gaming
With the customer engagement and stickiness that games such as Candy Crush and Bejewelled create, businesses are looking to emulate these gaming engines with newly designed slot machines to offer an augmented experience that adds a skill-based element to gameplay. Skilled moves to match more jewels will earn players more winnings, with random number generators at play in the background.
This genre of gambling has taken off, particularly given the massive following and $750 million market size estimated for the past year. Though this product is not yet seen as a direct money source for land-based casinos, brands can leverage tournaments, sponsorship deals and even event hosting to build engagement and grow their customer databases.
- Virtual Reality
This new technology has created quite the buzz in the tech world and people on the conference floor at GiGse were able to test its application and relevance to the iGaming space. Players of the future will be able to walk through their favourite land-based casino from miles away, peek at their opponents in the poker room, or even take the place of a jockey in a virtual horse race.
Millennials are still a key focus for US casinosMillennials live in a digital world, which has made it quite challenging for operators and traditional brick-and-mortar casinos to connect with this generation. According to Lea Artis, CEO at Katal Artis Labs, millennials have more sophisticated taste because everything has always been at their fingertips.
When compared to times where other generations were of a similar age, leisure activities have slightly shifted. Taking part in gambling activities in land0based establishments is not as popular as it once was. Even though thousands of millennials flock to Las Vegas every year, many go for the shows, nightlife and overall experience of the city, rather than for the casinos themselves.
To attract this age group, an online presence is a must. It is important to keep in mind that they are looking for more than the traditional shopping experience and it is therefore essential to provide them with fresh, exciting and personalised content.
Overall, there are many exciting opportunities emerging in the US market and we are excited to see what this year will bring!