Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson Operations, has shared his thoughts and predictions for the online gaming industry in 2023.
Svensson told iGaming NEXT that he does not expect revolutionary changes to the industry this year, but he highlighted several trends that are likely to become more visible during the next 12 months.
Increased adaptation of local regulations
One trend that Svensson anticipates will continue is the increased adaptation of local regulations as online gambling becomes more popular and widespread.
As online gambling becomes more popular and widespread, governments and regulatory bodies want to tax and increase their supervision of the industry.
This trend has been prevalent for more than 10 years and will keep being visible in the coming years, Svensson said.
Continued growth of ‘black market’ business
Svensson also raised alarm over the continued growth of the black market for online gambling.
As more countries adapt local regulations, non-licensed operators are stepping into locally licensed markets and taking business away from licensed operators, he said.
“In some markets, the so-called black market has been increasing rapidly over the last years.
“There are various reasons for this, and it can vary from market to market, but generally speaking it has been driven by the regulatory trend of stricter regulations and limitations on player activity, and in several countries this trend is likely to continue to grow for many years to come,” he added.
More focus on Web3 and blockchain technology
In addition, Svensson predicts that 2023 will see more focus on Web3 and blockchain technology in the online gambling industry.
He is convinced that over time, blockchain has the potential to change how the industry conducts product development and provides a secure and transparent platform for transactions and hosting games.
He expects to see more companies exploring and trying to benefit from this new technology in the coming months.
Although “the potential is clearly there”, the technology is still in the early stages of adoption, and it may take some time before it becomes widely used in our industry, he added.
Last week, GiG and Rivalry also shared their predictions for this year.
While GiG’s CCO Marcel Elfersy said he expects further cost cutting measures as operator’s focus on profitability, Rivalry has predicted more openness to betting from video game publishers in 2023.
iGaming NEXT reached out to Gaming Innovation Group’s (GiG) chief commercial officer Marcel Elfersy to discuss the trends and developments that should be on the agenda of the iGaming industry in 2023.
The global economy faces a critical juncture with several parallel and related crises, and the next year promises to be a tougher ride for most businesses, investors and consumers globally.
However, Elfersy, who recently assumed the role of CCO for platform and sportsbook at GiG, believes there will be significant opportunities for the iGaming industry in 2023.
US market changes
A focus on profitability among US operators is one key development that Elfersy expects to see in 2023, which will likely lead to several changes.
“A direct result would be more of a focus on product and data to drive retention, and the need to increase customer lifetime value and reduce cost per acquisition,” he stressed.
On the other hand, he said, operators that have yet to reach their initial goals of growth and profitability may look to cut operating costs, which may increase the demand for partnerships with third parties for platform and managed services.
“In the US, we may also see the dominance of the top three brands diminish, with a stronger, more commercially viable opportunity for late entrants to the US market emerging,” he added.
GiG CCO Marcel Elfersy: “We may also see the dominance of the top three brands diminish, with a stronger, more commercially viable opportunity for late entrants to the US market emerging.”
There’s no doubt that on the back of increasing interest rates and inflation across the globe, consumer spending power will be in the spotlight.
While land-based casinos may well feel the impact of that, Elfersy believes that digital suppliers, including GiG, are well positioned for continued growth.
“We’ve placed a heavy emphasis on product innovation and have built a large, diverse geographical footprint in which to operate.
“This combination of scope and unique, flexible technology perfectly suits the switch to online, and will continue to drive growth,” he said.
Moreover, he highlighted that the North American market showed no sign of slowing, “which will also help bolster those of us invested there”.
In addition, he said growth will be driven by the emerging regulated markets in Africa and Latam as well as their demand for localised product and platform solutions.
Tech-driven approach to RG
Finally, Elfersy expects operators to move towards a more proactive tech-driven approach to responsible gaming.
“The tightening of existing frameworks has left some exposed, incurring fines in the UK and other regulated markets.
“We’ll surely continue to see the necessity of inherent AI that tracks behavioural patterns to spot harmful or fraudulent behaviour within licensing requirements,” he said.
He concluded that there are no effective alternatives to help increase the protection of both the end-user and the operator.
TSX-listed operator Rivalry outlines the top three trends that it believes will shape the esports betting industry in 2023.
Esports-focused betting operator Rivalry offers regulated betting on 18 different esports titles and has experienced significant growth in 2022, with October marking the company’s first profitable month.
Here are the company’s top three trends and predictions for the upcoming year.
- Growth of Valorant
League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 have long been Rivalry’s most popular betting titles.
Together, the three titles account for approximately 90% of all esports betting on the platform.
However, Rivalry pointed out that betting volumes on Valorant increased by 264% in 2022.
Rivalry predicts that the Riot Games title will have a shot at breaking into the top three next year, or at least “inching significantly closer to that mark.”
The operator highlighted that Valorant is similar in structure to CS:GO, and is therefore reaping the benefits of consistent and familiar gameplay that bettors understand.
- Mobile games continue to gain traction
Mobile gaming is the fastest-growing segment of the games industry, and the same could be said for its prospects among esports bettors, according to Rivalry.
Rivalry only added betting on mobile titles to its portfolio in March. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang was the first mobile title to break into Rivalry’s overall top five.
However, there are also promising signs that League of Legends: Wild Rift, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Free Fire can comprise a meaningful share of betting volume in 2023 given their global player base and interest among competitive players, Rivalry said.
- Video game publishers will further embrace regulated betting
Rivalry predicts to see more openness to betting from video game publishers in 2023.
“The advent of legalised sports betting has drawn clear connections between sports bettors and engagement, where placing a bet increased the level of attention and duration spent watching a game,” the operator said.
“In the larger industry, where games are free-to-play and publishers now make a majority of their revenue from in-game transactions, engagement is the new benchmark for success,” Rivalry noted.
Betting, therefore, offers a “slate of benefits that are uniquely aligned with the KPIs of publishers, esports organisations and tournament organisers,” the operator concluded.
Embracing responsible and regulated sports betting, Rivalry believes, will stand to offer the larger games industry opportunities to deepen engagement and to further monetise their offerings.