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The way players engage with the iGaming industry is changing. The rise of streamers in recent years has seen the birth of new types of content, innovative ways of engaging with customers, and different ways of betting.

A generation of players is coming through, and the way they consume content is different from those that come before them. They have grown up with social media and seek a more social, dynamic, and entertaining betting experience.

Players are seeing betting, whether it’s a casino or sports betting, as a form of entertainment, and the industry needs to puts its creative heads together and work out how best to cater to this.

The next generation of sports bettors is looking for something new, and it is giving birth to a new vertical within the industry.

Gamification and social elements are becoming increasingly popular, and operators must find new ways to embrace them if they want to get ahead.

Live-streaming, betting behind, and interacting with your audience is just the first step, and the sector should now look towards the wider entertainment industry for inspiration.

The streaming wars, in combination with Covid-19, forced entertainment companies to reassess the experience they provide consumers.

Watching movies and listening to music online are no longer solitary experiences, with companies now putting their resources into working out how to create a more social online experience.

Take Disney+, for example. The company has had great success with its social mechanics. The launch of GroupWatch has helped differentiate them from their competitors, with members being able to watch content alongside their families.

Looking at the music world, Spotify has also managed to excel thanks to its social elements. The service allows users to share playlists and recommendations with one another.

It has also jumped ahead of its competitors thanks to its yearly round-ups, which highlights how important personalising an experience can be.

As a company, Spotify has really mastered this personalisation. Every day when you log in, you receive personalised playlists and recommendations, ensuring that listeners keep coming back and feel valued.

All of this has been done through the power of AI, which is an area that, once again, the entertainment industry is leading the way in.

Sharing is caring, and it is also another popular trend that has succeeded in the entertainment world.

Having shared access to an account or giving access to something to a family member or friend has been a huge success.

The idea of being able to share, for example, free spins or bonus funds with other players in your community could be an excellent move for everybody involved.

Personalised recommendations, sharable social media content, yearly round-ups, and group playing sessions are just a few small but simple examples that the iGaming industry could take on board if it wants to make online gambling feel like more than just a pastime.

At the centre of all of this is the idea of community. If there is one thing we have learned so far in the 2020s, it’s that doing things in isolation is never great.

The need for online communities and social spaces has been accelerated. We have needed to find ways to watch with people or share music and experiences with them.

The iGaming industry was not as fast to embrace this, but with new markets and players emerging, now is the time for it to do so.

iGaming has dipped its foot in the water. Streaming slots and being able to bet behind is just the beginning.

The industry needs to establish itself as a destination for those looking for entertainment and not just gambling.

More engaging content and social features can encourage lower-stakes, responsible gambling that can be fun for everyone involved.


Michael Pedersen is a strategic commercial leader on a mission to drive growth for tier-1 brands. He has more than 14 years’ experience within the online gambling industry and 20+ years’ commercial leadership experience across brands like Pokerstars and NetEnt. In addition, he co-founded social casino Letsbet.com as well as iGaming NEXT. He holds an MBA from University of Leicester and has completed executive programs at Stanford.

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