Bingo Rooms and Online Casinos into 2018
Online gaming in the UK would appear to be in a very strong position, if the latest industry statistics by the UK Gambling Commission are anything to go by.
Perhaps the most notable headline figure is that remote (or online) gambling now accounts for 32% of the total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY), or £4.5 billion out of a total of £13.8 billion. This figure includes sports betting, online casinos and online bingo rooms, although the separate totals for each are not provided.
Within the overall category of online gambling, it’s useful to look at the two verticals where the most growth has been demonstrated — online casinos and online bingo rooms. The two operate along quite similar models and are in fact becoming more closely integrated, and so there are useful comparisons that can be made in terms of future directions.
The direction of online gambling
Online casinos and bingo rooms operate largely along similar lines, in that the developers and producers of games, and the companies that operate the platforms on which games are played, are separate entities (although there are some exceptions to this). This means that the very top UK casinos are licensed by casino game producers to be able to offer games on their sites, and this is also the case with online bingo rooms.
This separation works well, as it means that operators can focus on improving the playing experience, leaving the technical innovation in online slots and bingo games up to developers.
However, this is also perhaps the area where you will find the biggest difference between online casinos and bingo rooms — it’s common for casino sites to feature the games of multiple producers alongside each other, while bingo sites tend to feature the games of just one software provider. Aside from this, these two strands of the industry are progressing in similar ways, and so we can expect to see them both adopt similar growth strategies, such as offering their players more mobile gaming opportunities, more integration, and more emphasis on personalising the gaming experience.
More mobile gaming in 2018
We can expect to see operators placing more and more emphasis on their mobile gaming offerings, which has been the biggest area of growth in recent years for both sectors.
The increased uptake and growing popularity of mobile gaming has been rapid and shows no signs of abating, with Ofcom figures showing that 94% of UK adults now own a mobile phone, with 76% having a smartphone. This is clearly the motivation behind UK online casinos increasingly adopting an omni-channel approach that enables players to move between playing devices and platforms seamlessly, while the fact that 58% of all online bingo players have played on a mobile phone, and 24% use only their phones to play bingo, demonstrates why this sector of the industry is likely to focus more of its attention on mobile forms of the game.
More integrated offerings in 2018
As well as an increased emphasis on the range and variety of what they offer in their mobile sites, we can also to see more integration occurring in 2018 i.e., more online casinos offering bingo, and more bingo rooms offering online slots and other casino games.
Research into the playing habits of online bingo players revealed that 67% also play slots games regularly, and for this reason we can expect that more bingo sites will also offer slots and other casino games, which has been made possible by the shift towards web-based gaming and away from the software download operating model. Bingo and casino providers now have more flexibility in the games they can offer, and so its reasonable to see them taking advantage of this by giving their players even more choice as we head into 2018.
More personalised gaming experiences
Another potentially significant development that we can expect to see in the online casino and bingo worlds is an increased emphasis on a personalised gaming experience. In response to the increase in social gaming and its greater emphasis on interactivity, industry insiders are expecting online casinos and bingo rooms to respond by changing the way in which they appeal to new players and retain their existing ones by offering less generic rewards and bonuses in favor of ones that are tailored much more to an individual’s playing taste and habits.
Overall, 2018 promises to be an eventful year for the online casino and bingo sectors, and players are awaiting the next developments with much anticipation.