We at New Casinos UK have contacted 10 experts from the online casino industry and questioned them in depth what they think about the future. 2017 has just arrived and it is time to face another exciting year. But what will happen with new casinos in 2017? What are the major changes expected? What great news is predicted for this year? At this stage, it is obviously really hard to predict what trends will break through and how many real good new online casino sites will be launched. But it’s always fun to get a hint or guess from some experts in the online casino. You will quickly notice that the guesses about the future differ widely between the specialists while a few tips tell us that barely a handful of really good new online casinos will be launched throughout 2017, with nearly 200 brands as predicted.
First of all we would like to thank the persons that made this article possible. All of them are having a very long experience in the online casino industry and some of them are the funders of the most exciting casinos that have been introduced in the 2016. Let us present them, and the brand they are representing.
Alain Petit – Manager – Introduced in 2016 and aims to enter the UK market in 2017.
Lars Kollind – Manager – One of the fastest growing white label platforms for online casinos.
So lets see, who will be right? Below are the questions asked to the experts from some of the UK’s leading new online casinos:
#1. How many new online casinos with UK license do you guess that will be launched in 2017?
Casino Pop: This question is the most difficult of all to answer. There are two competing factions as it concerns this particular industry. The first group argues that competition now, has made it difficult enough to make a sufficient profit in the short term for the amount of newly created small casinos that will be able to continue at the same pace. The other group believes that the very fact that so many white-label platforms have emerged will create additional decreases in prices, which affects the bottom-line positive for those who are looking to create new internet casinos. Personally, I think the dip will not come until another 3-4 countries open up (and thereby reduce bottom-line because of the expected higher tax loss).
Miami Dice: With smaller margins in the UK the launch of new casino brands is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Excuse me; launching a successful and fully independent brand in the UK is fast becoming a distant memory. Small white label web casinos will be swallowed up by the bigger brands as continuous large investments are spent on professional companies, who are trying to win over newcomers. Very few rising stars have gone live, with the exception of the Ivy Partners who have launched The Grand Ivy Casino, Spin Station Cacino, Taxi Ball and most recently – Miami Dice Casino in the past 10 months. Each brand seems to do better than its predecessor, but it has required large investments to achieve this.
Casumo: Oh what a difficult question, I guess that they will be 13.
Ramses Gold: It is difficult to guess because there are so many new online casinos coming each year. My guess is that 2017 will see 5 pieces of really nice new casinos. To conduct online casino is a “tricky business” since you must know how to create the perfect online casino experience for the players.
Spinit: A few. We would unfortunately not guess an exact number of new casinos to be launched in 2017.
Kaboo: Judging by the elaboration this year, I think the figure will be between 150-200 new online casinos while 85% of these will be forgotten shortly after they go live.
Ikibu: I think the online casino market has had enough competition and that the newcomers will be fewer in 2017. I think we are in a transition period where the established online casino experience is a real challenge right now. Where is the market heading? ‘We at Ikibu are confident that the industry is moving towards gamification, but it’s still a bit early to guess what will the major trend will be for new casinos in 2017.’ Said Julian Kunimine, co – founder of Ikibu and Chance Hill Casino.
Aspire Global: Because there is so much potential to grow in the regulated markets, and playing at online casinos has become an accepted hobby for the masses, it will be a substantial increase in new brands in 2017. White-Label solutions Aspire Global have lowered the threshold and simplified the mechanism to set up high-quality online casinos.
Dunder: Oh, tricky question. As casino platforms out there are getting better, I think clearly that there will be at least a handful of really good games and casinos during the 2017.
Codeta: I think the number will actually go down for the first time in a long time. I think the market first, begins to become saturated, and has partly also gained some insight to running a profitable casino, is much more difficult than many people think. In previous years, most online casinos started with very aggressive growth, which has driven up the price of both traffic and bonuses to customers. This has happened because of the strategy to build customer base and then sell the business. The latter is not as attractive anymore due to pressure on margins for the same reasons and that only few casinos stand out and try to be different (Codeta.com not least), so there is no other value than just the database.
#2. In the 2016, Live Casino has gained popularity and on top of that, the majority of all new online casinos have become mobile-friendly. What do you think will be ‘game changer’ in 2017?
Casino Pop: The rollout of HTML5 casino games will continued and take up most of the first half of the year. After that, the first prototypes of online slots for Virtual Reality will roll out. They will obviously not have time to be a total game changer in 2017 due to the expensive hardware while mobile VR requires a specific mobile phone brand. But judging by the prototypes, I can tell you that playing online slots in VR is extremely entertaining. The prospect is that Apple releases a VR solution also, which would mean that the amount of possible players in the Western world would increase enough to justify mass production of modified games for just the VR. Unfortunately, it is less likely for that to take place in 2017, but I think that those who sit on a Samsung phone and a headset gear will get to try their first VR online slot in 2017.
Miami Dice: It is hard to say. As Samsung commercializes Virtual Reality (VR), it may take a certain audience. But being a kind of game where VR glasses must be worn around to play, it may prevent VR casinos from getting started in earnest. Gamification should be old to new online casinos by now, but it has still not been rolled out properly at anyone. Dealers in live casinos have a long way to go and this trend has not yet reached its potential. For me, it is 2017 when old dogs will check out the newcomers to learn what the next steps are.
Casumo: We have seen that more and more web casinos are adding their own unique tournaments or other features that no one else has. I believe that the upcoming of the best custom function and integration with the casino games in the best way and will have a clear advantage against the casinos that only have casino games and nothing else.
Ramses Gold: We look demonstrably more and more mobile compatible casinos. We definitely need to see more mobile apps. The real game changer would be if casino players could play against friends and win money.
Kaboo: Mobile casino focus and gamification will continue to be a high priority among several players, but none of it is a game changer, but more of competitive factors. I think more online casinos will review their product offering and strengthen it with new products to differentiate themselves from the competition to a greater extent. I think that Lotto’s success this year will help more casinos to will offer cards in its range.
Spinit: Settlements will be the game changer in the internet casino market in 2017. Australia will shut down and a number of legislative initiatives in the EU, like the Dutch market will take place. Said Yoav Dotan, co-founder of the Casino Cruise, and the newest Spinit Casino.
Ikibu: Mobile casino is something that proved to be very important. On Ikibu, more than half of the traffic comes from mobile devices as we managed to be nominated for EGR “Best Mobile Casino” a few months ago. The user experience will become a focal point for investment in the online casino business and of course this will be the “game changer”.
Aspire Global: Yes, it is the mobile casino platform there now but even if everyone chooses “mobile-first” there are still significant improvements needed, to make the mobile user experience as good as it is on the computer. I think more brands and operators will continue to honor its mobile customer experience and synchronize it with the PC platforms. Virtual sports and E-sports will certainly make waves in the online casino market in 2017 as “game changers”.
Dunder: I think both documents and account payment methods will be smoother during 2017. Mobile banking IDs, fingerprint solutions and better mobile casino products in general, will drive the casino player experience forward. Then comes a new version of Dunder and a bunch of exciting product releases during the first half of 2017.
Codeta: I think that the big game changer for 2017 is that we will be together with other operators to offer the live casino product in a completely different way, both on site and in our communication. In the Nordic countries the awareness of live casino product’s existence is surprisingly small as only few play it, or even tried it. We want to change this when we are confident that when customers discover it, they will get caught. I hope a bit of a poker boom “light” will take place and we all know how enormously popular poker can become at a very short time. Then, of course comes the broader mobile casino adaptation with greater branding opportunities.
#3. Trustly, Skrill, Neteller and PaysafeCard have been some of the leading payment options in the UK for 2016. Will Apple Pay, PayPal or any other new brand manage to break into the UK online casino market in 2017?
Casino Pop: As usual, it’s not us in the industry that can stop this. Traditionally, it usually appears 1 new payment solution per year that simplifies the customer, but it is always a struggle between the big companies’ shareholders and regulatory frameworks for the countries they are based in. However, I think we will have a new solution in 2017, but probably not PayPal or ApplePay, but rather a small player to crack the nut. In the end, it’s about us, as bookmakers think the player will think it’s worth based on the price level that a payment option sets.
Miami Dice: I thought you would ask about mobile payment options and how to keep costs down. Boku is the only mobile payment service that comes to mind, as I think that they will very well succeed in 2017.
Casumo: No I do not think so. With all these great players only interested in fully regulated markets, we’ll probably wait a while before we see e.g. Zimpler at an online casino targeting the UK market unfortunately.
Ramses Gold: Sure, they will be able to offer competitive prices and good impact, so why not?
Kaboo: If someone offers a good service and combines it with nice prices against the operators, there is a gap, says Bruno Berlafa.
Spinit: I do not think so, because companies like Apple and Paypal as well as other major international brands only want to work on fully regulated markets, says Mr. Dotan.
Ikibu: Is not so sure about this. I think that web casino players are very loyal to their current payment method. Current methods have proven to be secure, fast and suitable for the industry. But who knows. We will certainly discover new opportunities and ways to make it easier for our players to deposit and withdraw money!
Aspire Global: PayPal is already active in the UK market, so it is right to assume that as soon as the market is regulated, so will these giants will have their share of the pie. There are interesting new concept to keep an eye, such as SEQR mobile payments. It is fast, safe and easy to access. There are constantly new payment channels in e-commerce and the development never stops to deliver in this area.
Dunder: I think there is something in the future, but I really hope that Trustly, Skrill and Neteller will drive the development of their products forward and will not stop. I think there is much left to be desired, especially with regard to mobile casino payments, says Olof Örn who is the co-founded of Dunder.
Codeta: “We have a very well-functioning payment solutions so I do not think the above companies to feel something greater threat. It is surprising how much countries differ from each other when it comes to preferences on this. Just look at the Netherlands where iDeal completely dominate, or Germany where PayPal is the market leader. I think PayPal has a good chance to take a bigger cake in the UK region in 2017 but does not expect any major changes or else, “said Edward Ihre, who has over 10 years of experience from leading positions in the industry.
#4. 2016 has been characterized with many new game developers entering the market. Will that trend continue in 2017 and are there any exciting game developers that you think will be popular next year?
Casino Pop: Yes! More game developers to the people! This is what makes me get up in the morning. 2016 was the year in which Elk Studios breakthrough; a Swedish behemoth that will continue to produce great casino games. In 2017 I strongly believe in the very competent Swedish guys and girls that have now started JFTW. They have all the ingredients to take Europe and UK by storm in 2017 and I am very much looking forward to their first online slot that seems to come at the first half of 2017.
Miami Dice: Gone are the days when the old-time game developers with dinosaur infrastructure led development. All new software providers have the ability to develop casino games with a completely new technology and will of course be light years ahead of everyone who has to dig into a minefield of code just to get their 15-year old casino games to work decently on an iPhone 7.
Casumo: I think that we will see fewer players who are trying to establish themselves ahead precisely because we have had a steady stream of new players already, which can itself scare off new companies from trying to establish themselves. Moreover, as the existing game manufacturers will need all the help they can get to grow, this in turn can help to inhibit the formation of new game makers. A game developer that I will follow with great curiosity in 2017 is Elk Studios; they have started well with a few titles that I think will be popular in future.
Ramses Gold: I think the trend with many new game developers will continue in the next year too. Part of the explanation is that it is very comfortable to play on mobile, which I think many new game developers will focus on.
Kaboo: Netent must endeavor more and more to maintain their dominance in the UK region forward. Yggdrasil has during the year had a strong impact and is a force to be reckoned with. In this context, I can highlight Red Tiger Slots that has some interesting titles.
Spinit: Yes, I believe that the market for suppliers of casino games will be even more competitive in 2017 and we intend to add about 5 new casino games suppliers. I believe that there will be a specific developer who will rise and shine, but all of them will make extra efforts to compete with the big three; NetEnt, Microgaming and Playtech.
Ikibu: What we offer at Ikibu’s game variety. We are proud to be able to collect many different casino games. I do not think a single player will play all during their lifetime. For 2017, we have already found some interesting developers, such as Yggdrasil and Spigo. We are also developing new ways to play online slots that are related to gamification functionality that no one else has done before. So I think that 2017 will be a brilliant year for Ikibu.
Aspire Global: There is a reason that online slots are booming. It is the most “democratic” form of the game as everyone has an equal chance to hit the big profits. So what will cause the next big wave, it must be something that appeals to the masses. Having said that, I must also mention that VR can if marketed properly hit large and bloom the next few years. So, to conclude, I think we will see a two-way communication, facilitation slot games and online casinos for the masses and VR for such “live dealer casino games” to raise the voltage and user experience for the more ardent player.
Dunder: Yep, as a personal online casino enthusiast, I think 2016 has been a fantastic year in terms of online slots. It’s nice to see that there appeared a whole bunch of very skilled casino game studios that now seriously compete with NetEnt terms of quality. Book of the Dead, Fire Joker, Turning Totems, Poltava are all personal favorites from smaller game studios. I know there will be several new studios during the year and hope that the smaller upstarts continue to challenge and thus drive the entire industry forward.
Codeta: Yes and no. It’s been such a tremendous growth in different game providers in recent years. I think this will stop, not because the gaming companies’ sites and communication limits the supply to the end and even if they try to promote all the different online slots and casino games, so the consumer can end up not choosing in a good way between the various titles but will probably rather limit itself to a few then they do not want to get lost in the jungle to end. The most exciting providers that I will keep an eye on are Thunderkick and NoLimit City.
#5. What was your biggest winner in 2016 and on what casino game did that happen?
Casino Pop: We’re completely startups, so we have not had some absolutely insane profits yet. The biggest win was actually on a non jackpot slot. Biggest win came on an old classic (which we now released the HTML5 version also, so that it works equally well on PC / Mac on your mobile device) called Dead or Alive. The player won £48 000 in a single spin. Since it is so big considering that it is a non-jackpot game, you become a little shocked; however, it will probably not compare with how the player was shocked when it appeared on the screen! Biggest gain during a game session £110 000, however, I think that this record will not last for very much longer too as we have some players who have been up and sniffed the sum but not quite reached that point yet. They will smash the record in the coming months, I’m absolutely convinced, concludes Daniel from Casino Pop.
Miami Dice: We had a number of players who reached over £200 000 with some individual spins paid out over £100000. Aloha Cluster Pays and Guns ‘N’ Roses had two massive payouts on online slots in 2016!
Casumo: The year’s biggest win to date is € 2,971,469.79 (approximately £2 592 000) and came from a spin in Mega Fortune. We hope the winner has had a lot of fun with the money that will last for long!
Ramses Gold: The biggest gain so far this year was won by a guy that played Birds and took home € 81500 (around £71 000).
Kaboo: How about a 37 year-old lady who got together 4 REEL WILDS on Immortal Romance and cashed out just over 740 000 SEK (approximately £67 500) for her session. It was a happy woman that day, I can promise.
Spinit: The greatest gain for the fledgling Spinit was 700 000 SEK (approximately £64 000) in a day. The guy played on the Reel Rush online slot when the big win came.
Ikibu: We had a number of big winners already the first two months. A player won £52 000 3 weeks ago while already in the first month, a Finnish player won €20 000 (approximately £17400). We are always happy to share the joy of the adventurous island.
Dunder: We had a bunch of big winners. A British player won £90 000 at a session of the Guns ‘N’ Roses, a Swedish player won 723 600 SEK (around £66 000) in a spin in the Space Wars and another Swedish won over 700 000 SEK (approximately £64 000) during a session where the most part came from a couple of good hits in Gonzo’s Quest online slot.
Codeta: Our biggest winner and the holder of three of our top 5 sites is the same player, or how about this “run”: Tuesday, win 1 million SEK (approximately £91 000) at 200kr (£18) spin on Jack & The Beanstalk, Wednesday, win both 800 000 SEK (approx. £73 000) at Golden Legend, closely followed by the same day also win 400 000 SEK (approx. £36 000) on Easter Eggs! How did Thursday’s game for him? Well, he won 900 000 SEK (approx. £82 000) on the Book of Dead! Otherwise, we have had two winners also both gained together £64 000 on our Live Casino Blackjack and another who won together £41 000 in Immersive Live Casino Roulette.