Industry predictions for 2024: The UK white paper a power for good and a US igaming charge

Estimated read time 6 min read

Comparasino MD Martyn Hannah and Winlandia co-founder Christoffer Gronlund take a look at white paper impacts in the UK and hotspots for global growth  

Martyn Hannah, managing director of Comparasino  

Britain will bounce back

The UK market has been stagnant for a while now with very few new casino brand launches over the past two years or so. This is changing, with several brands making their debut and leveraging the opportunities that come with being the newest online casino on the block. Player demand for new sites is always high but especially right now given the recent lack of action.

The going will be tough for these brands, especially with some uncertainty surrounding the white paper and the consultations that will run well into 2024. But player appetite remains strong and any brand that can provide an engaging, entertaining and ultimately safe experience will be well-positioned to succeed. The closing of the consultations and the outcomes from these and the white paper will ultimately provide stability, and this in turn should pave the way for more brands to make a move in the market, bringing it back to life. As an online casino comparison site, this is something we very much welcome.  

Some bad blood between operators and affiliates

We will continue to see some operators treat their affiliate partners poorly. The vast majority of brands we work with are aligned on our shared goal to drive traffic to their casinos and for us to be fairly rewarded for doing so. But some are not. It’s common for tracking platforms to not accurately track, making it incredibly difficult for us to have faith in the operator.

Others change terms and conditions without notice, and there are a growing number – mostly in markets outside of the UK at present – terminating programs without warning, bringing an end to revenue share agreements despite the casino still earning from the player sent by the affiliate. I don’t see an end to this poor treatment anytime soon, but ultimately affiliates will only work with operators they trust and where there is respect between both parties. Of course, this still means having fingers burned from time to time. 

Crypto casinos put under the microscope

They are hugely popular with players, not just because they can deposit and withdraw using crypto but because they offer such a compelling experience from start to finish. Some allow players to purchase crypto, others to play slots where they can hunt down NFTs. This is the experience certain player groups now expect but is simply not available at standard online casinos – even those offering arcade and crash games.

Of course, many crypto casinos are operating on international licences and do not have to meet the same regulatory, financial and responsible gambling requirements as those running on local licences. That some of these brands take players from local markets will not have gone unnoticed by regulators, especially given the revenues these operators are likely generating. Twitch has come down hard on some operators already, and I can’t see it being long before regulators take similar action. That said, these casinos are setting the benchmark for what a modern, online casino experience should look like, and the rest of the industry needs to take note. 

Christoffer Gronlund, Winlandia co-founder

Responsible gambling in the UK will tighten

The white paper and resulting consultations will most likely lead to tighter regulatory requirements in the UK, especially around the area of responsible gambling. It will be interesting to see what is ultimately decided when it comes to affordability checks and bonusing, both of which are important areas to consider.

There is a need to make sure that players are gambling at a level they can afford, and it goes without saying that bonuses must be fair and not encourage players to play beyond their means. That being said, the outcome needs to be proportionate in terms of protecting players but also ensuring a viable market for operators. Of course, any improvement to the protection of players is something we support and aligns with our commitment to providing a safe environment for our players. We prioritise responsible gambling and will adapt our strategies to comply with any regulatory changes that might come into force. This will allow us to maintain our competitive edge while meeting the highest standards of safe play.   

Bonuses will have to change

Over the coming 12 months we will see a change in the bonuses offered to players, with a focus on promoting player engagement and safe gaming. This might be mandated by changes to regulations in the UK, but it’s something we expect to see in other global markets, too. This will mean more casinos offering low wagering and no wagering bonuses, and bringing in gamification elements and challenge-based rewards. I also believe that bonuses will become less important to players when choosing which casinos to play at.

Bonuses are spent quickly, so it’s the wider casino experience that provides the most value and keeps them coming back for more. That’s why at Winlandia we focus on having a diverse game offering – our lobby has more than 5,500 titles – including plenty of jackpot slots. For this reason, exclusive games will continue to be important to operators – as a SkillOnNet casino, Winlandia has access to exclusive games from some of the biggest providers in the market and this is something that we always use to our advantage.

More local regulation across the globe

This is an industry that continues to grow and in 2024 we believe several new markets will push ahead with regulation and licensing. These markets will undoubtedly catch the eye of operators and suppliers looking to drive growth through international expansion – Winlandia included.

The standout markets for us are North and South America. While igaming is only live in a few states, it’s only a matter of time before others extend their regulations to cover online casino. You just have to look at states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the revenues being generated by the vertical to understand it won’t be long before others follow.

Latin America is also on the up, especially with Brazil making progress. Online casino is also growing in certain markets such as Mexico and Colombia with plenty of potential on the table. While operators are always excited by new markets, stable jurisdictions in Europe will provide a solid foundation with opportunities to explore. At Winlandia, we have an international expansion plan in place and will be entering new markets in 2024. Of course, in each, we take a localised approach to ensure we provide an authentic player experience while being fully compliant with the rules and regulations in place.  

 

​EGR Intel

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