I’m a big believer that we over-estimate long terms trends and under-estimate short term trends for example when I was a kid by 2015 we should be all taking holidays on the moon but instead I have a Nespresso machine. Which while a technological marvel isn’t really what I had in mind.
Why do short-term trends accelerate quicker than we expect? I’m sure there are a lot of technical arguments but realistically humans are awful at making predictions.
So let’s look at a few short-term trends apply a large dollop of growth/change and see where we end up.
The most obvious trend right now in the industry is consolidation; as an industry we are hitting the top of the growth curve and the easiest way to get scale and grow is buy it. This coupled with legislation of iGaming on the agenda in a lot of countries I (very safely) predict the consolidation will accelerate.
Of particular interest I believe will be medium sized operators with large exposure to the Nordics and DACH regions.
Top of the list has to be Unibet who have a great product, lots of innovation, and a big brand in Nordic/DACH regions. Other companies I’d expect to see get bought are all casino focused operators who in their own and different styles are all knocking out solid growth rates and these are 32Red, Mr Green, Leo Vegas and Guts For wild cards I’d predict Gaming Realms for the mix of management talent and product and XL Media to lock down a solid acquisition source for an operators business.
Daily Fantasy Sports, has been a short-term trend that has been escalating very quickly and what a roller coaster 2015 has been. One stat I saw showed that in the US the combined Fan Duel and Draft Kings TV ad spend was greater than the combined TV ad spend of the entire beer industry during the opening months of the NFL.
So for 2016 in the US I predict that the ads are now so ubiquitous we will see a Saturday Night Live sketch, US regulation and accelerated growth.
Outside of the US, I can see DFS tapping into the extremely large Fantasy Football audience, particularly the Fantasy Football player that would not consider gambling. DFS in my view will grow the market and not cannibalise the current iGaming customers.
eSports betting, or as I like to call it betting on video games will have a stellar 2016, with triple digit growth rates.
However I predict in 2016 that the majority of operators will stop offering the markets as the player values are too low and games too easy to rig. The operators who will win eSports betting wont be the ones who just add a market page to their sportsbook but actually provide an authentic game and community led experience.
In 2016 at least one of the major game publishers such as Activision Blizzard, Riot or Valve will clamp down and try to prevent gambling of in-game items, out of system activity and leakage of revenue.
As the gambling industry jumps on Twitch.tv as a marketing channel with our usual gung-ho approach, you could easily foresee an Amazon lawyer finally understanding what is happening and blocking all gambling related content and sponsorship in 2016.
Big screens and small screens, thanks to the design wizards at 1 infinite loop Cupertino 2016 will be the year of the very small screen (iWatch) and the biggest screen in your house (Apple TV 2). You can easily see the iWatch to follow the normal tech development curve and get smaller, better, cheaper and by version 3 we’ll all wonder how we lived without it.
As for the big screen, the App Store launched for the new Apple TV is an absolute game changer, the growth rate will be exponentially quicker than the iPhone as the developer ecosystem is well established and it will be the must-have product for 2016.
So time to pack the crystal balls away and brace myself to be massively wrong for the next 12 months.