VSO New Year’s Special: Gaming Industry Predictions for 2024

Crystal ball

The year 2023 was full of surprises for the global gaming industry and we look to 2024 to make some predictions about what the year might have in store. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The gaming industry is constantly experiencing waves of change. New laws are enacted and companies adopt emerging technologies while sometimes catastrophic events lie ahead.

2023 was a year full of intrigue as more US states introduced legal sports betting, artificial intelligence (AI) emerged as a potentially major disruptor to the industry, and several major casino companies suffered from crippling cyberattacks.

Even if we don’t have a crystal ball, VegasSlotsOnline news did its best to give some predictions for the gaming industry for 2024:

Greater integration of artificial intelligence (AI)

AI has been around for several years and gained significant mainstream attention this year with the introduction of ChatGPT, which launched in November 2022. The general public recognized the many benefits that this type of technology can have in all aspects of their lives. Companies are now considering how they can integrate AI to become more efficient and keep the competition at bay.

We are likely to see much greater adoption of AI in the gaming sector in 2024. This includes developers using them to create even more attractive casino games and try to hold players’ attention for a longer period of time. Companies will also be able to collect data more efficiently, allowing them to better optimize games by seeing what works and what doesn’t.

AI tools can quickly identify suspicious betting patterns

AI security tools can provide operators with a little more comfort as they combat the rise in cyberattacks. They can also offer more effective geolocation tools to detect if someone is using a VPN to access the platform from a restricted country. Certain AI tools can quickly identify suspicious betting patterns and easily find out if someone is using multiple accounts on the same device or showing signs of problematic gambling behavior.

Further consolidation of US sports betting

The US sports betting sector is truly about survival of the fittest. Many smaller operators were forced out of the market and couldn’t compete with the mega-money that big players FanDuel and DraftKings were spending to gain market share. The latter caused marketing costs of almost $200 million in the second quarter of 2023 alone.

Platforms are either gobbled up by the bigger players or simply collapse completely

Numerous sports betting providers are making little progress in their normally low-margin business. It’s likely that many of these platforms will either be bought out by the bigger players or simply collapse completely. The larger operators, meanwhile, hope to generate a consistent profit.

ESPN Bet and Fanatics are two relatively new players in the US sports betting sector that are looking to capture significant market share. It will be fascinating to see if Fanatics can achieve its expected 20% market share or if Penn Entertainment can leverage ESPN’s brand and reach to gain traction following the disaster of its former partner Barstool Sports.

Companies rely on virtual reality and augmented reality

Two other emerging technologies that are gaining traction are augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). While these technologies have been around to some extent for some time, they are now reaching a point where they can prove useful for gambling-related offerings.

Integrating an AR experience to make live dealer games even more realistic

We expect that in 2024 more online casinos will begin offering an AR experience to make live dealer games even more realistic. More than ever, players will feel like they are physically sitting at a casino table when they put on a headset. You can interact with the dealer and fellow players in a shockingly realistic way.

Certain companies are also working on fully immersive VR online gambling experiences that allow people to walk around a virtual casino and play whatever they like.

Companies are investing more in combating cyberattacks

Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International were both high-profile victims of cyberattacks in 2023. Hackers also targeted other casinos, but none felt the impact as much as these two industry giants.

While Caesars paid a $15 million ransom and tried to keep the scandal as secret as possible, MGM took a different approach. The company refused to pay the hackers, and its Las Vegas properties were subjected to severe disruption for weeks before the operator was finally able to get the systems back up and running. The whole ordeal reportedly cost the company around $100 million.

Large institutions like MGM and Caesars are lucrative targets for hackers. Not only do they have the financial resources to potentially pay a ransom, but they also have databases containing the personal information of millions of customers. This type of data can fetch a pretty penny on the black market. Other well-known casino companies hope to avoid similar problems in 2024.

It is likely that all types of gaming companies will invest heavily in cybersecurity in the future. Employee training will be a big focus, as social engineering is one way these nefarious groups often gain access to networks. One concern we have is whether smaller operators will have the resources to invest adequately in this area in 2024, with consumer trust and reputation at stake.

More gambling markets are opening in the USA

Two of the most exciting things to watch in the US next year will be the impact of sports betting in Florida and the awarding of three full-fledged casino licenses in and around New York City. After a two-year legal battle, Hard Rock Bet is finally up and running again. With a population of more than 26 million people, Florida can compete with New York for supremacy in the sports betting rankings.

Two of the three licenses appear to go to MGM Resorts and Genting

Then there’s the awarding of three casino licenses worth $500 million in New York state, which about a dozen different parties are vying for. The companies that come out on top gain access to a very lucrative market. While two of the three licenses look like they will go to MGM Resorts and Genting, there will be a big fight for the final seal of approval.

Spectrum Gaming estimates that a Manhattan casino resort could generate up to $2.3 billion in annual gaming revenue.

With more than 35 states having already legalized sports betting, attention is now turning to the iGaming market. Online casinos have much higher margins than sports betting. Currently, only six states have such platforms. We expect lawmakers in jurisdictions such as New York, Maryland, Indiana and Illinois to take the issue seriously in 2024.


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