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What is the Future of iGaming within the UK?

The current economic outlook for people in the UK does not feel especially bright. Most are still struggling with a combination of price inflation and rising living costs, making for a stressful situation.

The big picture is not all bleak, with growth of 0.4% expected this year followed by 0.9% the next. That is not being felt by most though, making various forms of entertainment – from television to poker – are an important relief from the pressures of life.

That second option is a significant choice, because the iGaming sector is one that is helping the overall economy. Although it experienced a slight slowdown last year, this came after some unprecedented levels of growth in the two before that.

Now this part of the gambling industry will be hoping to see further spikes in the next few years. So what might the future hold for it?

Increasing Regulation

One future that we can confidently predict for this industry is one of increasing regulation. The reason we can do that is because it is already an emergent trend in the iGaming world.

That greater regulation is coming both from outside the sector and inside it. In the case of the former, it is down to the main industry body – the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. An example of new regulations that it has already imposed on the industry is the banning of the auto-play feature that was part of the slot games found at online casinos.

The UKGC is quite likely to tighten up the rules needed for these casinos and other internet gambling companies to gain a license. This is really a consequence of the success that the industry has experienced in recent years, which has led to the appearance of many less than reputable iGaming sites trying to take advantage of it.

Customer data protection is something both the UKGC and the iGaming companies must take seriously. Therefore much of the new regulatory criteria will surely be focused on the security measures taken by the sites to protect data.

A second plank in it could see the commission move to restrict advertising by iGaming companies in the same way that Spain and Italy do. However the companies themselves are making changes in terms of how they promote their services that they will hope will prevent that.

This can be seen in the new emphasis on responsible play on both the iGaming websites and the advertisements produced by the companies. Both this and new UKGC regulations will need to be balanced against the personal freedom of iGamers, but it is a shift that we can expect to see more of in the years to come.

New Technologies

The challenges that the regulator and the iGaming companies face in terms of protecting player safety and security are happening against a backdrop of tech breakthroughs. 

Examples of the sort of technologies we are talking about include virtual reality, artificial intelligence and crypto/blockchain tech. They are all certain to be features of this industry over the coming years and could even solve problems.

Artificial intelligence can be used to track the behaviour of people using iGaming sites. This data can then highlight unusual aspects that might be indicators of fraud or cheating, but also might draw the attention of the site to customers who need help. Therefore it could assist in dealing with the issues of both player security and responsible gambling.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies as a payment method has the potential to improve data security. It would let players deposit and withdraw money in a way that does not require them to provide personal or financial information. 

A downside to this though is that the lack of regulatory oversight within the crypto world would put the iGaming site at risk of failing the criteria applied by the UKGC for earning a license.

In the case of virtual reality, the changes it brings to iGaming will all be to the actual games. This technology can provide people with digital worlds that have the three-dimensional look and feel of the real world.

Thus people could play online casino poker in a digital recreation of Las Vegas that makes it feel as if they are genuinely there. It is a true sea-change development for the industry and one that is almost certain to make the games even more attractive to the public than they are now.

That could be a key factor in ensuring the continued growth of iGaming in the UK for the next few years at least. 

The future of the iGaming industry is one that will involve further technological advances and greater regulation. There is the possibility that some of the tech could help to address the security and safety issues though.