As it has been doing annually since 2005, Spectrum Gaming Group, released its annual list of the top trends in gaming – the most significant issues that regulators, operators and suppliers need to consider as they make plans for the coming year. Spectrum has long focused on the future of gaming. Spectrum has completed engagements in 43 US states and territories and in 48 countries on six continents, with clients that include 24 US state and territory governments, eight national governments, 25 Native American entities, numerous gaming companies (national and international) of all sizes, suppliers, lotteries, financial institutions, developers, and other gaming-related entities.
This list (ordered alphabetically), with input from our global experts on the ground around the world, represents both the opportunities and challenges that will be most impactful to revenue, profitability and public policy.
The following lists our top 10 trends for 2023, in alphabetical order. As always, the list is not exhaustive but simply focuses on what we see as the most significant trends. The list was compiled by experts throughout the Spectrum Group of Companies, as well as by Complianza, our Sweden-based strategic partner.
1. Asia: The Japan Casino Administration Commission will launch probity and suitability investigations for the IRs in Osaka and Nagasaki. Thailand likely will legalize casino gaming but its efforts to effectively regulate gaming will be an open issue. Various Australian states will reform their approach to casino regulation in light of the Crown and Star regulatory findings of 2021 and 2022, respectively.
2. China/Macau: While China likely will reopen its borders in early 2023, it remains unclear how many VIP and mass Chinese players will return to Asian markets initially, given the economic downturn and China’s crackdown on overseas gambling and tightening of money outflows from the country.
3. Globalization: The purchase of LeoVegas by MGM Resorts International will spur expanded internationalization of the gaming industry with other US operators considering global expansion for technology-based operations. A growing number of European B2B providers will seek points of market entry, including potential partnerships, in the US.
4. Horse Racing: States and the industry face monumental changes, starting with adopting and adhering to the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority, which became effective this summer. In 2023, efforts will intensify for horse racing to embrace fixed-odds betting, with the goal of increasing the industry’s fan base.
5. Igaming I: An increasing number of Indian and commercial casino operators view pure-play digital operators – those that have no ownership stake in retail casinos – as a threat. This schism among land-based operators will deepen, and digital operators will find it increasingly difficult to maintain business models that both compete against, and work with land-based operators.
6. Igaming II: Efforts to legalize igaming in the United States will increase, as both retail casinos and independent providers see igaming as a profitable vertical that is gaining adherents in statehouses. Outside the US, law enforcement and regulators will push back on digital gaming companies licensed in jurisdictions such as Malta and the Philippines.
7. Latin America: Jurisdictions including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru will become a force in sports betting and digital gaming as they develop comprehensive licensing procedures and regulations in coming months. National lotteries throughout the region are considering the adoption of digital sports betting and, like their counterparts in North America, moving toward the authorization and adoption of ilotteries.
8. Lottery: State lotteries and casinos – which have historically operated as distinct industries – will increasingly be viewed as separate verticals within one industry. Lotteries will pursue expansion in both ilottery and the authorization of courier services. Ilottery will focus on instant games, while courier services will center on draw games. This expansion will cause friction, as ilottery instants and digital slot machines will offer similar products.
9. Sports Betting: While four more states prepare to launch sports betting, the industry waits for California, Florida and Texas to follow suit. Operators will seek to lower tax rates in certain states, and will pull back on advertising as they focus on achieving profitability. States will take a closer look at the tax treatment of promotions.
10. Unregulated Gambling: Continued expansion of gambling devices that are illegal or unregulated is becoming a priority in both statehouses and courthouses, as the operators of what they consider to be amusement or skill games work to protect their growing industry while a growing coalition of casino operators, lotteries and licensed gaming suppliers seek to shut down what they consider to be unregulated slot machines.
About Spectrum Gaming Group: Spectrum Gaming Group is a non-partisan consultancy that specializes in the economics, regulation, and policy of legalized gambling worldwide. We have provided independent research and professional services to public- and private-sector clients since 1993. Spectrum serves as Executive Director of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), a testament to the credibility, quality, and independence of its work.
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