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Top online casino changes and trends to expect in 2021

Changes occurring through 2020 and the biggest regulatory shifts and trends to hit the online casino industry in 2021.


The online casino industry is a constant that undergoes various changes almost daily.

In recent years the iGaming industry has rapidly changed and evolved, becoming bigger and better. With all of these changes and technological advancements, stricter regulations are also required.

2020 was a challenging year, bringing with it plenty of change including a lot of new regulatory restrictions.

The new year has just begun and many are wondering if the changes will be beneficial or too limiting for both players and casino operators.

Changes brought on by 2020

The year 2020 was primarily focused on safety and health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the pandemic lockdown, more people took part in online gameplay. This resulted in the Gambling Commission introducing stronger protections for at-risk players.

With these Emergency Restrictions, all online casinos must conduct affordability checks, prevent reverse withdrawals and restrict bonuses especially when it comes to players showing signs of possible gambling problems.

More importantly, frequent checks are done to see if players are trying to open multiple accounts.

No more credit card transactions

Another big change that took effect in April 2020 was the ban on credit card gambling in the UK. Online casinos are no longer allowed to accept credit card payments from players. The main reason is that it enables problem gambling and encourages bad spending habits.

Responsible gambling tools and resources

The majority of countries focus on keeping players safe while allowing legal virtual gameplay. One of the biggest focus points for 2020 has been responsible gambling and how to increase it. Many countries have implemented self-exclusion schemes (GAMSTOP, UK), limiting tools and more.

These are no longer optional but a necessary requirement in various countries for any online casino wishing to operate legally.

Change for 2021

One look at the news and recent updates will show that there have been various changes in the online casino industry throughout 2020.

The primary goal is to implement better regulations and increase player safety. In 2021 various changes will come into effect including some that have been pre-determined.

Shift to mobile gambling

Mobile gambling isn't exactly new but it has slowly been rising as a preferred method of gameplay. With mobile devices, players have the opportunity to gamble from anywhere at any time, instantly.

Modern technology has ensured the latest mobile devices come with the best features, faster processing speeds, extended storage and amazing graphics - Making an immersive gaming experience possible on all new-age devices and a big advantage of mobile casinos.

This has resulted in the majority of online casinos dedicating efforts to creating mobile casino apps or making their websites mobile-friendly.

More payment options

Deposits and withdrawals are one of the vital aspects of casino gameplay. Players need to be able to make secure transactions via trusted payment options they are comfortable using. The payment methods to date can be very limited.

Payment methods available at most casinos include e-wallets and regular debit card options. The expectation is that online casinos will add more variety of payment methods in 2021, including cryptocurrency and mobile payments.

Cryptocurrency is one of the biggest trends forecasted for online casinos in 2021. Some casinos already offer cryptocurrency payment options such as Bitcoin.

Stricter regulations

Many gambling authorities including the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority will implement more restrictions. The UK Gambling Commission has already made intentions clear to change the 15-year-old Gambling Act to protect against underage gambling.

The Malta Gaming Authority has its work cut out after agreeing to Sweden's terms on updating its gambling policies and restrictions. Receiving a Maltese Gaming License is already a challenge but with the new stricter licensing system it's becoming even more so. Many operators have started wondering whether or not it is worth maintaining or applying for their MGA license.

New regulatory bodies

In agreement with Sweden's financial aid terms, the Maltese Government will also have a new regulatory body to run the new system. Russia is also considering creating a new regulating organisation for gambling.

No account casinos

Signing up for casinos is one of the more tedious parts of getting to play. This changed when No Account Casinos came into play. Players can enjoy gameplay any time from anywhere without ever needing to create an account.

These casinos have become quite popular in the majority of Nordic countries and are slowly spreading across the globe. They have already been popping up in Sweden and Finland. These casinos are spreading but have not yet caught on in other European countries.

Esports - A serious matter

Sports betting and eSports have become quite popular in recent years. Regulatory bodies in various countries have legalised or are in the process of legalising sports betting. According to predictions, 2021 will be a big year for eSports and that it is the 'next big thing' in the world of sports betting.

Social gaming popularity

Social gaming is one activity that will either make or break it this year. This way of gaming has been around for quite some time allowing players to engage in gambling without ever parting with real money.

Social Gaming is one of the trends that has been expected to make it big for years. For now, we wait to see if 2021 is the year of Social Gaming.

Virtual reality gameplay

One of the developing trends of the industry includes Augmented and Virtual Reality gameplay. These technologies have been around for a few years, developing with the advancement of technology. In the world of online casino gambling, the addition of Augmented and Virtual Reality gameplay has been tested but it is still a rather new concept.

It does allow online casinos to provide players with a more realistic live casino feel. The belief is that during 2021 more effort will be made to implement these technologies at online casinos allowing players to 'walk through' their favourite online casinos.

Regulatory changes

Germany and the United Kingdom are among many who will be making some changes to their gambling regulations in 2021. Germany recently legalised gambling and is working on new regulations which they hope to implement by summer 2021.

Ukraine started working on legalising online gambling back in 2019 and this year will be the launch of the first licensed online casinos and sportsbooks.

In the US, there are a lot of exciting changes happening in various states. New York, for one, could finally allow online sports betting. While sports betting is legal in the state, players aren't allowed to play online.

Massachusetts could finally implement legal gambling after trying to do so since 2018. The state has been working has to legalize online gambling with the majority of bills failing to get approval. There is hope that this will change during 2021.

The Netherlands is also expected to implement regulated online gambling throughout 2021.

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