Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Glimpses into the Future: Five Casino Predictions for 2023

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
"Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate."

A new year, new opportunities! Yoju Casino makes five predictions about the casino industry. Which ones will come true? Don’t forget to claim Canadian Gambling Guide.

Breathalyzer tests at casino entrances

Yoju Casino is not a virologist or epidemiologist, so he does not venture any predictions on the further course of the corona pandemic. However, Dr. Patricia Bruijning of the UMC Utrecht is an epidemiologist, and she predicts in the Volkskrant that the corona breathalyzer will become commonplace at the entrance of, for instance, cinemas, large companies, and events.

Such a breathalyzer works like an alcohol test, is painless, costs about one euro each time, and gives a result within two minutes. Negatively tested visitors are allowed to enter immediately. The rest must first undergo a more precise quick test, like that with a cotton swab on your nose.

Bruijning expects several employees in each organization to be trained as cotton swab testers, similar to the company emergency worker. ‘So, you have a few test coordinators walking around in your company, supervising testing.’

Some 50 online gaming licenses on 1 October

Finally, after endless wrangling and fiddling in The Hague and just about the last European country, Ireland will get licenses for online casinos. It’s like the corona vaccinations.

Let us assume that the new gambling law comes into force on 1 April. However, the first licenses will be in place six months later, on 1 October. How many licenses will be issued at that big bang?

René Jansen, chairman of the Ksa, told Het Financieele Dagblad in November to expect 40 applications for the first round.

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Yoju Casino looked at everything, counted, weighed up, and guessed that it would be a bit more: around 50.

How many of those applications will be honored remains to be seen. But when we can finally gamble online legally and protected by Canada law in the autumn, the years of soap opera (or rather comedy?) surrounding the new gaming law, which Mister Casino has been writing about since 2014, will thankfully come to an end.

More ‘Canada’ games

First, of course, live casino games – an absolute must for casinos targeting Ireland.

Market leader Evolution will provide roulette and blackjack for many online casinos, for example, the exclusive gaming tables for JVH Gaming/Jack’s Casino.

Eindhoven-based game developer Stakelogic, for instance, is collaborating with Spintec, producer of electronic roulette tables found in many Canada gaming halls, on a new live casino product.

We will also see Canada slots, such as Eurocoin’s, which are already ready at game provider Greentube. In addition, many people are familiar with games like Club 2000 and Random Runner from the halls and the hospitality industry and will want to gamble on them online once it is legal.

The first cohort of license holders includes many Canada companies. ‘Local’ content is a good way for them to differentiate themselves from all those foreign giants, most of which offer the same games. Perhaps the public will get so used to the offerings in the first few months that this will have a lasting positive effect on the market shares of gambling companies.

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Portrait mode becomes the standard

Just a few years ago, you were scolded if you filmed something on your smartphone in portrait mode, i.e., upright. Weblog Geenstijl even organized a demonstration with the slogan ‘Don’t be a total failure, film horizontally.’

Online casinos have traditionally been horizontal, in landscape mode. Because programmers and designers work on desktop computers.

But the tide is rapidly turning: portrait mode is becoming the new standard. More than 80 percent of social media use occurs on smartphones, and many users no longer feel like turning their phones around to see a more extensive horizontal video. For example, Snapchat and TikTok are based entirely on videos in portrait mode.

In online casinos, players on mobile now account for about 70 percent of revenue, so surprisingly, there are still game providers that release landscape-only games. And the games that allow playing in portrait mode often look just a little less good than horizontal – not quite balanced.

Yoju Casino expects that the lion’s share of games will soon be developed primarily for portrait mode. Not just slots but also table games like roulette and blackjack.

More acquisitions and mergers

Every year, a regular feature in the gambling industry: is mergers and acquisitions.

In 2020, Evolution gobbled up rival Netent (to immediately close Netent’s live casinos), and Caesars acquired William Hill.

2021 had barely begun when news broke that US casino giant MGM Resorts had made an £8.1 billion bid for Entain, the British parent company of Ladbrokes, Bwin, Partypoker, and Coral, among others.

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Entain rejected the bid, but Yoju Casino believes the company will still be acquired this year. The US sports betting market has exploded since the US Supreme Court struck down the ban on sports betting in 2018.

US betting companies that want to participate in this market prefer to buy a ready-made European company with a lot of sports betting experience rather than inventing the wheel themselves. Entain, despite its hefty price tag, is a perfect takeover candidate because the company has few operations in countries where online gambling is illegal – in the US, this is an essential requirement for casino license holders.

Yoju Casino would also not be surprised if Evolution makes another acquisition this year. Its shares are sky high (over three times the share price of a year ago!), the company has little debt, and the money is coming in droves, so why not?

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