Gambling innovations in 2021: fantasy sport, cybersport, VR, 3D games, Bitcoin

Jan 17, 2021 Artyom Ustinov
Just three decades ago the land-based casinos seemed to be invincible and irreplaceable. But in the 90s the first online casinos turned the gambling market upside down. 10 years later —another breakthrough — soft providers shift to mobile games. One would think: “There’s nothing else to invent here”. But the gambling market players never run out of ideas. Do you want to know what to expect? Just keep reading!

VR games

The international gambling market started using virtual reality several years ago and doesn’t seem to give up on it. This tech trend helps to increase the popularity of online gambling among the audience, boost the user’s engagement and loyalty and, as a result, grow the profitability. However, just like any other innovation the VR games have their pros and cons


  • The social side of gambling. Using the VR you can play with the friends while enjoying the authentic casino atmosphere basically anywhere.
  • VR and the online poker rooms is a match from heaven. Online poker tends to fall from grace and the VR helps to bring back the flavor to the game (the gambler can trace the reaction of other players and get the most out of their behavior).
  • VR compels people to play longer, which is more profitable.
  • 26% of the Russian people aged from 18 to 57 have already experienced VR. 29% would like to have such an experience. In the other CIS countries the rate is pretty much the same and as the time goes by the VR target audience around the world will grow on a constant basis.
  • VR casinos are available both from desktop and mobile devices


  • The current VR sets and kits cost lots of money. People just don’t want to buy such an expensive toy. So the penetration rate is extremely low at this moment.
  • Many countries have already prohibited or limited the use of VR. During the next few decades we can expect only the increase of the legislative pressure on the gambling market.
  • Mobile VR kits are cheaper than the desktop devices, but the quality of graphics is way lower.
  • Many gamblers fear the possible health issues that may be caused by the long VR experience.


In the XXI century computer games have finished their transformation from the child’s play to the multi-million cybersport industry, a gold mine both for the players and the soft providers. And since the online tournaments have become the common practice the gamblers around the world got the opportunity to bet on their favorite players and teams.

The copyright earnings, gate revenue, and advertising revenue from the cybersport events in 2015 amounted to $235 million. According to expert estimates, the gamblers spent more than $20 billion on cybersport bets in 2020 and the operators earned about $20 billion.

The wide range of online games (League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO), the young generation of gamers, and the advertising work towards growing the popularity of the cybersport gambling. Even now, in 2021, the amount of cash spent on cybersport bets exceeds some traditional sports like tennis or golf. In just a few years the cybersport gambling will operate the same cash amount as the football bets and then will probably get even more profitable.

Cybersport gambling is a very promising and very profitable industry for the casino operators. And even though it has some obstacles to it (like the necessity for the special ad campaigns or gambling restriction in Asia and USA) the cybersport will continue its expansion in the gambling industry.

Fantasy sports

Fantasy sports gives gambler an ability to create a virtual team consisting of the active sportsmen *usually competing within one league) and earn both the points and the cash depending on their success during the season.

In USA and Canada the fantasy sports became popular in the middle of the XX century, but for the most European countries (including CIS countries) it’s still something new and fresh.

The fantasy sports market is currently dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel. In 2015 these companies paid the gamblers about $1 billion. However, this market niche in Europe is ready to be filled with the new players.

The modern fantasy sports in Europe is mostly football. For now, most of the users prefer to play just for fun without placing any best. But it’s still possible to convert those players into gamblers if the operator uses the most effective marketing tools (like the advertisement) professionally.


In 2021, the first cryptocurrency ever invented will celebrate its 13th birthday. During these 13 years, Bitcoin has become something common not only in the B2B or B2C markets but in online gambling as well. Today only 15% of online casinos accept cryptocurrencies, but this number will definitely grow as the time goes by. The cryptocurrencies are too popular and too profitable for the operators to stay away from this trend.

The main advantages include:

  • The operator doesn’t need a traditional license
  • Low-cost instant payments and minimum conversions
  • “No return” principle protects the casino from the frauds

… and much more!

3D games

The 3D game is a well-known and commonly used type of the gambling innovation. In the early 2000s, the gambling soft providers like NetEnt, Playtech or Microgaming started adding the first 3D slots and table games to their portfolio. Betsoft even managed to become the first “all 3D” gambling soft provided ever. Currently, it’s one of the market leaders.

Why are 3D games more profitable?

  • They are beautiful and will get even better over time
  • Some of the soft providers create the “mini cartoons” as the into clips. It helps to draw the gambler’s attention to the new game and compels to make that first deposit.
  • The amazing animation effects during the game keep the player engaged and amused increasing the time spent on gambling.
  • The 3D graphic makes the whole gambling experience more full and satisfying. The users just want to play them!

In one word the 3D game is the way to compel the user to play longer and place higher bets. And considering the fact that most of the international gambling soft providers have already included 3D games into their portfolio it’s super easy to find something interesting for your target audience.

5G Technology

The rise of 5G technology is set to revolutionise not only the world of mobile internet, but the entire gambling industry. With faster internet connection for mobile users, online casino game developers will be able to produce even more complex games. In fact, thanks to the higher bandwidth that comes with 5G, there won’t be any limits as to how detailed the graphics or audio effects can be since the devices will be able to support all the innovations.

Artificial Intelligence

Another momentous technological advancement that is bound to change the outlook of online gambling, not just in 2021 but in years to come, is artificial intelligence. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is likely to bring more human-like chatbots in online casinos, which will be capable of solving complex requests from players. Also, the game customisation options are expected to sky-rocket since game developers will be able to keep track of what players want to see in their games. By knowing what their users like, the developers will be able to give them just that and more. In addition, AI can provide a detailed analysis of casinos’ customer bases while also equipping operators with more tools to stop scammers and any fraudulent activities.

The modern gambling market is full of ideas. That’s why it’s essential for the operator to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff and choose the latest innovation trend that will work for his business. You can also try to combine all of the mentioned above in one business model, but the chances it will work out in your favor are small. Use this post as a pause for thought and maybe one of these trends will translate into your new business strategy.

Artyom Ustinov

Artyom is Head of White Label & Turnkey Solutions and has been working in complex B2B/B2C sales, as well as business development and management consulting in iGaming for more than 10 years.

Together with the Key Account Management Team, he has helped over 100 start-ups and experienced gaming companies to launch their projects with SoftGamings.

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