Are you super into iGaming? You’ll find it interesting that 2021 has come in hot with some incredible new trends for the industry. This year currently shapes up to be one of the most fascinating in history thanks to a mixture of innovative, new technology and consumer-driven changes in marketing and game development. Think you have what it takes to dominate the playing field of this year and beyond? Let’s take a closer look at what 2021 brings to the table.

Artificial Intelligence Taking Over iGaming in a Good Way

We’ve already seen the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry, and it isn’t hard to discern where if you pay attention. Need a quick fix for a deposit issue? Customer service chatbots can quickly and easily solve user problems and take care of simple errors or system glitches any time of the day or night. They have the advantages of being able to answer questions in multiple languages and search through massive amounts of data in mere seconds. All these features, combined with the fact that they never need to sleep, make them the perfect customer service operatives.

Social media consultant Blake Morgan explains why AI chatbots are so important for consumer experience, how they help and what the future may hold for this technology.

Not only that, but users seem to prefer them to phone calls and emails with live agents. According to the 2018 report by Aspect, the desire for AI chatbots in customer service increased by 50 percent during the calendar year, with the millennial-generation preference for text-based chatbots themselves increasing by over 250 percent, a huge leap that shows how this new generation of consumers thinks and feels. They want a company like 22bet website for betting in Kenya that gives them agency in solving their problems and have more trust in a business that gives them this opportunity.

In addition to working as unobtrusive service agents, they also aid in data collection. Chatbots help casinos know which games you like to play, at what time you like to play, and which common issues the customer base has. That, in turn, aids in the implementation of a more streamlined marketing plan and tailor-made customer experience. As this technology becomes more far-reaching, it’s likely that we’ll also see an increase in chatbot personality and functionality — they’ll be able to achieve more with time, enhancing the user experience and adding a fun and exciting element into the mix.

But chatbots aren’t the only AI on scene. There are also automated betting bots to help you place sports bets and timed bets appropriately and regularly without the inconveniences that come from consistently having to place and balance bets manually. SmartAssist is another up-and-coming player on the field, already having some clout with consumers because of Alexa, Google and Siri’s established presence. Could applications like these become commonplace in the iGaming industry? It’s still in the early stages, but our gut says, yes. It’s too full of cutting-edge potential for developers to pass up.

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Figure 1AI has taken over iGaming in a whole new way. Exciting things loom on the horizon, including chatbots, automated betting and SmartAssist applications.

High-Profile Themed and Branded Slot Games on the Rise This Year

Not only is the technology behind the casinos evolving but also the customers themselves. The year 2021 has ushered in a new generation of online gamers and with them comes a new wave of priorities. The new generation is hyper-focused on pop culture, and the games have started to reflect that in some alluring ways. To see how the industry has changed, we only need to examine authority gaming websites and how they’re beginning to compete in the online casino world.

For instance, you’ll find that top of the line operators like have a nice selection of state of the art exciting online slots and jackpots, offering their own in-house developed games as well as classic slots from leading suppliers so their players can enjoy the variety of both worlds.

The days of one-armed bandits and fruit machines have slowly disappeared, and what’s coming in their place are games with the themes and brands that new consumers love. That means a shift for developers, with those hoping to cash in on this trend having to compete fiercely to secure the brands and develop accordingly. It also means there is more of a backlash when they fail, making the stakes that much higher.

Besides the theme of the games, the way we play them has changed as well. If you grew up playing Call of Duty, Overwatch and The Witcher, then spinning a simple slot may not captivate you. There’s not enough challenge because the random number generator (RNG) does all the work, relegating you to the role of observer. The new generation of players doesn’t rely so much on the thrill of taking a chance anymore. They want control over the game and to feel like they have some agency.

Enter gamification. We’ve seen a massive rise in gamification popularity over the last few years, and now, casinos use it, too. So, how do online casinos use this process to drive user engagement? They take the concept of a standard slot and turn it into a skill-based game. For right now, the changes are small — strategy-based bonus games, a bit of heart-stopping action with you at the controls — but they could get bigger with time.

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Figure 2Curious about gamification? The basic elements unlock specific achievements to drive user engagement and promote a competitive spirit among slots players.

No Bonus, Cash Back Casino Concept Beginning to Work

Nowadays, consumer-based marketing is the name of the game. It helps businesses promote satisfaction in current users as well as draw in new clients with titillating offers. And what do consumers want more than anything? Free stuff. Traditionally, online casinos have always done this in the form of no-deposit or match-deposit bonuses and free spins for slots or free play for casino games. Player rewards systems based on the accumulation of points have always been popular, as have promotions that give players the chance to win extra bonus money.

All this is great, offering the chance to win more as you spin more, but there’s a new iGaming sheriff in town: the cash back casino. It’s a fresh concept that eschews the regular-joe casino bonuses, promising something better: cash.

While other casino bonuses come with strings attached in the form of a deposit, wagering and withdrawal requirements, cash back bonuses are simple. It’s only cash, deposited straight into your account that you can use at your leisure without having to worry about meeting any requirements. While the concept is still relatively new, it does hold incredible potential for the world of consumer-driven casino marketing.

People trust transparency. They want a venue that doesn’t attach any strings to their bonuses. That’s why they’re ready to hop on the cash back train. In 2021, we could see more and more online venues shift over to this type of “no bonus” bonus offer or at least begin to list it as an option. Straight up cash is always sweeter, and people are ready to taste the sugar.

As you can see, 2021 has been and will continue to be an incredibly busy year for online casino providers, games developers and the marketers who work alongside them. With all three of these departments working together, the sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to user experience. If you’ve never tried your hand at spinning the slots or betting on some blackjack, then you may want to give it a shot now — the iGaming industry has never been riper for the picking.

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James Johnson, a journalist with a Master's degree in Communication Technology from MIT, has been a leading voice in tech and gadget journalism for over a decade. Since joining our team in 2019, he has specialized in providing insightful reviews and cutting-edge coverage of the latest tech and gadget trends. Before his current role, James contributed to various tech magazines and websites, enhancing his expertise in consumer electronics. When not exploring the newest gadgets, he indulges in photography, a hobby that complements his professional interests.

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