The online gambling industry never stops developing and 2021 has been a great example of that. The year brought us new solutions and plenty of exciting news. I explore them all in this overview of the latest online gambling trends of 2021.
Let’s take a look at what’s hot in the industry to understand the direction it has taken this year.
Crypto Is Now Mainstream
Cryptocurrencies and online gambling have always been a match made in heaven. The first Bitcoin casinos and poker rooms go way back, but it was rare to find established sites offering cryptocurrencies.
We saw more and more of them implementing different coins last year and in 2021, crypto has become part of the online gambling mainstream. The trend is hard to ignore and even giants of the payment industry like Visa embraced cryptocurrencies.
Nowadays, you can use different virtual currencies in many old-school gambling sites and the list is growing all the time. Here are the most popular options.
- Bitcoin – Every gambling site that works with crypto offers Bitcoin.
- Ethereum – You can often use Ethereum for online gambling nowadays.
- Ripple – Some sites offer XRP as a payment option.
- Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar – These three are still relatively rare, but you can use them on certain gambling sites.
You can expect more and more options in the future because cryptocurrencies are great for both the gambling operators and the customers. They are cheap and much faster compared to pretty much every traditional banking method.
If that sounds appealing and you don’t know how to use crypto, we have a guide to Bitcoin gambling that can help. It’s focused on BTC, but the main principles apply to other cryptocurrencies as well.
Esports Keep Getting Bigger
Another gambling trend of 2021 that won’t surprise too many people is the rise of esports betting. The prize pools are getting bigger, more and more fans are watching, and it’s only natural that more people are placing wagers too.
Games like CSGO, Dota 2, and League of Legends are still leading the way, but there are plenty of newer titles that gained traction this year.
Let’s take a look at the five biggest esports tournaments of 2021 by prize pool, so you can understand the scale of the industry.
|Dota 2||The International||$40,018,400|
|Arena of Valor||Honors of Kings World Champion Cup||$7,728,000|
|PUBG||PGI.S 2021 Main Event||$7,068,071|
|Overwatch||Overwatch League 2021 – Playoffs||$3,200,000|
|Rainbow Six Siege||Six Invitational 2021||$3,000,000|
You would struggle to find many traditional sports that can match the numbers above! Most online betting sites have realized that esports are here to stay and you would struggle to find an internet sportsbook that doesn’t offer them nowadays.
The number of markets is constantly increasing and more people are looking for action too. 2021 was big for esports gambling and the expectations for the next few years are for more of the same.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The online gambling industry is always on the look for new technologies that can improve the user experience. It’s hardly a surprise that more and more sites are utilizing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in various areas.
Chatbots for customer support purposes have been around for what seems like forever, but that was only the beginning.
Here are some of the other ways gambling sites use AI and ML in 2021.
- Custom Bonuses and Promotions – The online gambling sites follow the habits of their regular customers and use the information to prepare custom offers for them.
- Better Products – The technologies are also used to analyze user behaviors and improve gambling products based on the data, most notably in the online casino niche.
- Problem Gambling Detection – Some patterns that suggest addiction and problem gambling can be detected using machine learning. More and more sites are expected to do that in the near future if we judge by 2021.
Considering how widespread AI and ML are, it won’t be a shocker if they are used by the gambling industry for even more purposes in the near future.
Virtual Reality Is Getting More Popular
It feels like Virtual Reality or simply VR technologies have been the next big thing for a while without hitting their potential. The expensive equipment was the main problem and that’s in the past now.
This year showed us that VR will finally become an important factor, at least when it comes to online gambling.
Many of the biggest studios for casino games are working hard on new titles. We have plenty of VR slots and table games by giants in the industry such as Microgaming and NetEnt. The rest are following their steps and we should see more VR products soon.
The same applies to online poker rooms. Many of them are working on their own VR solutions because many customers demand them.
Even the sports betting industry looks set to embrace VR opportunities. Some of the biggest names in the business announced they were working on their own solutions at the end of 2020. Many others followed suit which is why VR is among the top online gambling trends of 2021.
Smartwatch Gambling Is Here
The concept of smartwatch gambling has been around since 2014. And yet, the costly development process and the limited userbase prevented many studios from working on games that work on such devices.
2021 saw a big change in a positive direction, mostly because more people are using smartwatches and the demand is higher. Early projections suggest that this is the beginning of a trend that would see the smartwatch market reach over $88 billion in revenues by the end of 2027.
You can already place sports bets from your watch, now you can play some casino games, and it’s only a matter of time before other products are available too.
More US States Are Working on Regulated Online Gambling
This is another trend that started before 2021, but it simply can’t be ignored after exploding recently. After years of federal restrictions regarding online gambling across the entire US, many states have been given the right to craft their own legislation.
Some of them quickly opened the door to licensed internet casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms. Others are working hard to introduce new bills that would provide regulated options to their citizens.
Here’s a list of states that made a lot of progress in 2021.
It’s an ongoing process but this year certainly saw great strides. The trend should continue in the next few years and many more states are expected to offer regulated online gambling options soon.
If you want to join the show right now, check out our top US casino sites. We cover only safe options that deliver excellent games and loads of juicy promotions.
What Does the Future Hold?
All of the latest online gambling trends of 2021 are likely to continue in the near future. The industry is always open to meeting the demands of the customers, so it won’t be shocking to see even more new technologies enter the field.
With so many gambling sites out there, the competition is insane. Everyone is trying to provide the best experience to the users and that’s the driving force behind all recent innovations in online gambling.