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iGaming In 2017: Global Trends to Watch Out for

Placed in the context of the gaming world, iGaming is one hell of a big beast. Millions of people across the globe consistently play bingo, casino, poker, and place bets online, and current estimates tip the European iGaming market alone to be worth a reported $15 billion. Despite the scale of the industry, there is no indication that growth is slowing, with 2017 set to be another bumper year for the industry. 

Predicting trends is, of course, never an exact science, but here are some potential highlights to look out for as 2017 progresses in this most exciting and fast-moving of industries. 

Canada to Lead the Way with Expansion and Growth

The Canadian iGaming market is worth billions and billions of dollars per year already (in 2016 there was a total of around $14 billion worth of purchased services), and it is in Calgary, a huge hub for technology in the country, where growth is expected to continue.

"Calgary Alberta." (Public Domain) by Bernard Spragg

However, with Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario all looking to relax gambling legislation in order to further encourage investment and growth in the area, the chances are that the continued support of the Canadian government, as well as the increasing trend for players to move away from the physical buildings of casinos and towards iGaming operators, is likely to see growth flourish across the country. Interestingly, this trend is already being reflected in the number of affiliate and comparison sites in the iGaming sector that are being set up with .ca domain endings. 

This trend of sustained online growth has contributed to the plans for a long-proposed casino in Ottawa not yet being confirmed, with fears arising over its profitability compared to the rampant online arena. 

Pick Up And Play Boom In Asia 

The "pick up and play" mobile gaming market in Europe, the main market for this form of gaming, is huge, with the sheer range of games on offer for consumers almost unbelievable.

It is in Asia, though, where operators are starting to view more and more potential for pick up and play growth in 2017. A renewed focus on mobile goes hand in hand with the implementation of new technologies relating to virtual reality gaming, live dealer casino, and, of course, augmented reality games. 

Speaking of augmented reality, after seeing the huge success of 2016's Pokemon Go boom (which in Asia even found fame in as far-flung destinations as Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia), 2017 is likely to see iGaming operators seek to use the same technology to get more and more people involved in games as possible, perhaps again using region-specific bonuses and features to appeal directly to the Asian market.

 "Go!" (CC BY 2.0) by RecreationalPokemon

There may also be a successful coming together of AR and online bingo, which would allow the mechanics of the standard online game we're used to manipulating to be brought to life thanks to the use of augmented reality technology. Imagine, if you will, the glamour-themed online bingo card available with Sun Bingo, for instance, vividly brought to life by the addition of characters and locations that differ depending upon where exactly in the world you're playing. The possibilities are endless, and it's up to game developers to come up with them as the tech world further embraces AR.

Whether it's online bingo, slots, or any other mobile game, augmented reality games are likely to help infiltrate all parts of the user's gaming experience, encouraging interaction with environment and surroundings until the gaming experience really does become all-encompassing. 

More Choice, More Popularity? 

2017 is likely to see further growth in the live dealer arena should operators continue in investing on adding a greater range of games to their live dealer repertoire, and also investing to overcome some of the barriers to growth here such as covering all time zones at all times so the casino is always "open" and adding more and more bilingual or trilingual dealers to their set-up. 

This increased range should lend itself naturally to increased popularity as gamers find versions of games they are familiar with now available as live versions. This increased choice equaling increased popularity equation should replicate away from live dealer as well, with brands always looking to borrow themes from movie franchises (such as Batman), TV shows, and familiar faces from the world of gaming in the past (whether it be Sonic, Pacman, or Mario) to create new, engaging games. 

All in all, 2017 is set up to be another enthralling year for the iGaming industry. From augmented reality to growth in countries across North America and Asia, not to mention the continued fast-paced growth of iGaming tech in Europe, the headlines this year really are set to be dominated by the intelligent brands and operators that make this sector what it is.