Bitcoin, eSports and Millennials: Challenges for Casinos in the 2020s

Casinos, regardless if we are talking about the plush resorts of Las Vegas and Macau, the Palazzo Montecasino in Johannesburg, or something a little more downmarket, have always been seen as recession-proof.

It’s an incredibly resilient industry that has remained unchanged – to a large extent – through the decades and centuries. Yet, modernity has challenges for every industry, and the casino industry is facing some unique ones as we move into a new decade.

On the one hand, the casino industry is thriving. Not many traditional industries were able to foresee and capitalise on the rise of the internet like casinos. Instead of being digitally disrupted in the early 21st century, casino resorts and online sites have complemented each other, and even fuelled each other’s success. However, certain issues are rearing their heads now, and they could be problematic if they are ignored.

Crypto is a big challenge for operators

For a start, we have a new wave of cryptocurrencies, which is a topic on the minds of businesses and governments across the globe.  For casinos, the issue is an acute one. The industry has always been at the forefront of payment technology, but gaming regulators do not like cryptocurrency as it offers certain levels of anonymity that goes against what they are trying to achieve – transparency. Then, of course, there is the volatility of crypto. How does a casino work out the house edge of a game when the currency used to gamble can rise and fall dramatically within minutes?

Observers should look for two main areas when considering this: The mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency by governments, and the stabilisation of digital coins. The former will take time, but it feels that it will be inevitable at some stage, especially with Big Tech companies throwing their weight behind projects like Libra. The tethering of cryptocurrencies to major global currencies is also expected to help with volatility.

Another challenge is perhaps a more sociological one; namely, the nature of gaming itself is changing. It might surprise you, but casinos are under pressure from the competitive video gaming industry, including eSports. The fear is that millennials want to eschew the dice and cards, and instead place bets on the professional tournaments of games like League of Legends or Dota 2.

Online sites have already evolved to meet challenge

The casino industry is, however, quick to act on this. You can see at this popular site: mansioncasino.com/zar/online-slots, just how quickly software developers have moved to make casino games, especially slots, resemble video games in terms of graphics and gameplay. The changes made in a relatively short space of time have been incredibly transformative to casino sites.

Moreover, there is a perception that casinos have stolen a march on eSports, thanks to the former’s investment in live streaming technology. Right now, at an online casino you can log in and play games with live dealers, with the action streamed from casino studios. But operators have decided to go beyond the usual routes of live blackjack, roulette, poker and so on, creating new gaming concepts that go beyond the classics. Technologies like VR and AR will be harnessed in the near future, allowing players to play skill-based and adventure games.

We mentioned that the casino industry has been quite prescient in its understanding of how new technologies will impact the industry, and you would bet on them getting all of the above correct in the coming years. However, these challenges should not be taken lightly by casino operators; they should be met head-on. Otherwise, an industry that has always seemed unflappable might soon face its biggest gamble.

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