Last year at this time I talked about how bad humans are at making predictions and then went ahead at making a bunch of predictions for 2016. In keeping with tradition, I’m going to try my luck again and see if I can do better.
First off, I’m not claiming any credit for my prediction of accelerated industry consolidation, it’s now the new norm. While I expected the Nordic operators to be bought they instead have gone on their own acquisition drive, with Unibet buying Stan James, to Gaming Innovation Group buying Betit Group. The successful IPO of Leo Vegas and the announcement of the Mr.Green IPO. I still see this region as ripe for more consolidation in 2017 and also stand by my strong buy rating of 32red and Gaming Realms.
For 2017, I expect to see more consolidation among the affiliate side of the industry, with the big guys continuing to buy the smaller guys. The smartest move right now is a mega-merger between the top affiliates.
When we look at DFS, I was expecting it to have a much bigger impact outside of the US than they have. 2016 has been horrible for DFS with the various legal issues back home ruining a lot of plans. I don’t expect to see much from them in 2017 while they take care of the key US market.
I was right about eSports betting growing at triple digit rates and see nothing but growth for 2017. Player values and stake amounts are small, game integrity is an issue and the sports books that specialize in eSports are the ones winning. For 2017, I expect to see a lot more eSports coverage on TV, which will continue to fuel growth. I’m also a big believer in drone racing and expect to see a lot more bookmakers offering markets on the major races next year.
I was right saying one of the major game publishers would clamp down on “skin” betting in games (betting using in game virtual items). Valve the owners of the steam game network put a stop to it and pretty much killed the market overnight.
The apple iWatch is now onto version 2 and has generated more in sales than the entire Swiss watch industry, I’m still a strong believer that version 3 will be the killer one.
Apple TV hasn’t had a big an impact on 2016 as I expected but I believe the underlying trend still there. Twitter have streamed NFL games live and are showing the way of what future sports content will look like. With reported viewing numbers down at SkySports, you could expect a high chance there will be a big shake up of content delivery for the start of next season.
New for 2017, I expect to see more and more operators accepting Bitcoin. Apple App Store Ads will become a big part of everyone’s marketing budget. Unless the Playstation VR becomes the must have gift this Christmas, there will be little impact of VR on the industry in 2017. Machine learning will become the new hot topic and “data scientist” will be top of every recruiters list. Im expecting to see plenty of innovation in using chat bots for sports betting and at least one operator or affiliate live on Facebook chat.
As always, I’m sitting here braced to be proven massively wrong in 2017 and also very excited to see what else happens.