Going into 2022, the gaming industry is bullish. Sure, there may be supply chain concerns, but convergence is fascinating.
The gaming business has weathered the terrible storm that was (and continues to be) the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is ready to grow when the calendar turns to 2022.
That was the message from six executives who shared their predictions for the coming year with Gaming America. They acknowledged that the virus hasn’t totally gone away, and that supply chain concerns are still preventing a faster recovery, but they were all hopeful about the advances that have been in the works behind the scenes.
Cath Burns, EVP Customer Experience at Aristocrat Gaming, and Dave Kubajak, SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Operations for JCM Global, made some of the boldest forecasts. Both mentioned the prospect of networked gaming making its long-awaited appearance in the coming year.
“The evolution of the global gaming industry has been both tough and wonderful in the last two years,” Burns said. “Gaming has a long history of delivering waves of innovation. It should come as no surprise that the gaming industry has once again risen to the occasion, delivering many major trends and breakthroughs as a result.”
According to Burns, additional guest and employee-facing modules will be introduced in 2022 to enable operators respond to guest expectations and provide a more frictionless integrated experience when engaging with a brand. Covid-19 has expedited, and continues to accelerate, player demand for contactless, cashless, and assurance solutions, she said, adding that regulators and operators have been fast to approve and deploy these solutions.
“As operators continue to protect guests from emerging Covid variant threats while delivering world-class brand engagement,” Burns predicted, adding that the industry will see an acceleration in deployment, adoption, and engagement with guests, with the lines between digital and land-based operations blurring.
“In 2022, we can expect the guest experience to become even more integrated, with online, digital, and game convergence, as well as integration and collaboration with digital, land-based, and contactless partners,” Burns said, noting that these trends are mirrored in other industry verticals.
“All signals point to 2022 as the year when theory becomes reality,” Kubajak said, adding that the game industry has been talking about convergence as a theory for a few years now.
“We will see technology giving players the chance to choose their gaming experience and have that experience interconnected,” he said, adding that players will be able to choose their gaming location, which may be land-based, online gaming, lottery, or a combination of the three. “They’ll also have more options for funding their gaming, such as cash, debit, TITO, or mobile.” Players can choose between travelling to a land-based sportsbook or placing wagers online as sports betting continues to proliferate around the world.”
Operators will have more alternatives for promotion and player recognition, according to Kubajak, providing players the option of obtaining physical incentives (such as printed tickets from a system like JCM’s PromoNet) or virtual rewards (player card/mobile app).
JCM is actively working with casinos of all sizes to help them construct a technological roadmap as technology creates the required interconnections to give players this “wonderful ability to pick when they play, how they play, and how they are acknowledged and rewarded,” according to Kubajak. “Our forward-thinking roadmap assists casinos in planning ahead so that, whatever the future holds, operators have the technology underpinning in place to provide players with the choices they expect,” says JCM.
Improving the relationship between the supplier and the operator
The gaming industry’s resurgence in 2021, according to Dan Schrementi, President of Gaming at Incredible Technologies (IT), would be based on operators’ ability to recruit customers, “and the results speak for themselves.”
“2022 will tell a new storey, one that, in my opinion, will centre on the connection between suppliers and operators,” Schrementi added. “As a slot manufacturer, our teams have focused exclusively on R&D expenditure for the greater part of two years throughout the pandemic to bring our best and brightest concepts to market and offer a fresh, hopeful post-pandemic player experience.”
Manufacturers are expected to begin what Schrementi termed as a new chapter in the sector in 2022, shaped by bigger and bolder concepts.
“While supply chain delays will obstruct this focus, the overall momentum and impact will continue to grow as 2022 progresses,” Schrementi said. “As manufacturers recover, the end result will be increased commercialization of items that provide our customers with novel playing experiences.”
Andrew Burke, the CEO of Bluberi, took a moment to highlight the challenges facing the gaming business in the coming year, beginning with labour shortages. According to a recent statistic, there are 11 million job openings in the United States alone. ideas.
“Factors that make it tough to hire in other industries also affect gaming,” Burke added, citing the fact that many potential employees value quality of life more than ever before. He believes that employers should consider not only pay, but also advantages such as time off and the option to work remotely, as well as allowing people to manage their professional and personal lives equally.
“This can be a particular difficulty in the 24/7 gaming world, and we’ll see how that plays out through 2022,” Burke said. “Companies that truly understand culture, those who have taken the time to create smart policies and work with their people to understand and address their requirements, will emerge victorious.”
Over the last year and a half, casinos have raked in record profits. However, Burke believes that by 2022, as live shows and athletic events become more popular and people feel more at ease attending them, the industry will see players spending less time in front of their beloved slot machines and more time on these other forms of entertainment.
“To compete for people’s leisure time, casinos will need to crank up their marketing efforts,” he predicted. “The good news is that our research and development efforts have continued. There’s a lot of amazing new merchandise coming out soon, and there’s a lot of unmet demand for new games.”
Over the last two years, casinos have spent less money updating their floors, but Burke believes that as players spend less time at the casino, the replacement cycle will pick up in order to keep them coming in and staying longer.
“The slot floor may have a revival in 2022,” Burke remarked.
There is a need for competitors to work together
Burke predicts that supply chain concerns will continue to be a problem for the gaming sector in 2022 and possibly 2023. He claims that producers need more parts and inventories on hand to compensate for the existing shortages and extended lead times.
Manufacturers may find themselves paying higher costs for important commodities as they fight for available inventory, according to Burke, and they will need to plan for this and be flexible as the year progresses.
“Many organisations, on the other hand, have taken this opportunity to assess their processes and procedures in order to better align with customers, and are prepared to address any problems that may arise,” Burke added. “Bluberi, for one, is in a far better place than we were going into Covid.” In general, I am enthusiastic about 2022 and anticipate a good future.”
According to Burns, Aristocrat supports an open standards interface with Oasis 360 that allows partners to connect to its casino management solution, providing a road forward for the industry.
“We have provided a distinct and established perspective for our Oasis partners, which has helped to develop the Oasis solution,” Burns added. “Having many solution partners allows operators and guests to choose from a variety of options, which encourages industry innovation and acceptance.”
The single player account: the mobile transformation of classic progressives, bonusing, and offer management is one of the innovative techniques that will boost visitor engagement. Guests will benefit from the unification of these traditionally land-based promotional aspects, according to Burns, whether they are on or off the site.”The combination of these new features, as well as the continuous acceptance of contactless, cashless, and assurance, will accelerate adoption by providing casino visitors with a simple, convenient, and seamless mobile experience,” Burns added.
The route will be paved by new markets
Johnny Ayers, the founder and CEO of identity verification firm Socure, anticipated that by 2022, the market will have grown by 25% to 30% compared to 2021, with New York and Ontario “substantially contributing” to this momentum and boosting the possibility that other large markets will follow suit.
“In a once-undecided competition between cannabis and gaming as a preferred new source of money for states,” Ayers predicted, “2022 will be the year when online gaming gets clear acceptance over the more contentious cannabis industry.”
As online gambling companies race to be the first to market in areas that have legalised it, Ayers believes that speed will take precedence over everything else. He cautioned, however, that this mindset “opens the door” to additional fraud by showing how manual due diligence and payment management systems stymie operator success.
According to Ayers, an increase in fraud attempts will drive operators to rethink their fraud mitigation strategies and place a greater emphasis on effectively reducing risks without compromising player experience.
“Accurate identification verification and total automation throughout the onboarding, account profile modifications, and withdrawal processes will accomplish this,” Ayers added.Operators, according to Ayers, will continue to improve their omnichannel efforts by creating more seamless player experiences across digital and land-based channels, resulting in higher engagement and overall handle. “This will lead to more investment in player lifetime management programmes and cross-channel experience optimization to increase player loyalty,” he said.
As more states legalise sports betting, security concerns have arisen
In 2022, according to Michael Tobin, CEO of Continent 8 Technologies, the gaming business will continue to flourish, particularly in the burgeoning US market. He pointed out that sports betting is now allowed in more than two dozen states, and that in 2022, a number of new states, including Ohio, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, will open their doors to online gambling for the first time.
According to Tobin, the rise in the number of live states in the United States is being mirrored by a rise in cyberattacks, making businesses throughout the world “more exposed than ever before.” According to him, Continent 8 thwarted 546 DDoS attacks in Q3 2021.
“This was an absolute record for us,” Tobin said, adding that it was up more than 50% over the previous quarter. “Attacks are growing more complex and nasty, with DDoS and ransomware being the most common. We expect this trend — an increase in the volume and complexity of attacks – to accelerate dramatically in 2022, which is why organisations must prioritise cybersecurity. This involves putting in place effective and scalable security today, including multi-layered services to address compliance, perimeter, and ransomware threats.” “Challenging times don’t change who you are – they expose who you are,” said Burns of Aristocrat Gaming, “and we are delighted to be a part of an industry that is strong, robust, and innovative.”