Predicting the breakthrough of 2021, NetGaming’s CEO, Pallavi Deshmukh, insists the slots industry will be ‘looking for its next hit game mechanic’ over the next 12 months, citing a few ‘unique’ mechanics and themes which his own company has been working on. 

Ahead of the developers showing at the CasinoBeats Slots Festival, the second of 2021, Deshmukh also highlighted creative ways for sportsbook operators to engage its players with its products. 

“Some of these unique slots are part of our 2021 roadmap on which we have received overwhelmingly positive responses. Our slots tell a story: they are crafted for a specific target market, using bespoke game maths and art,” noted the NetGaming CEO.  

“In the unpredictable post-pandemic era, sportsbook operators will introduce creative ways for players to engage with their products. The esports industry is expected to generate over $1bn in revenues in 2021. 

“There has been a lot of interest from the igaming sector to add esports to their product mix. It will also be interesting to see how sports live streaming providers will integrate with sport betting. I also feel that the convergence of land-based and online gambling, especially in the US, will increasingly encourage operators to provide a holistic offering to their customers.  

“With most of the key European regulators tightening requirements and imposing greater responsibility on operators, there will continue to be increased pressure on margins. On the other hand, with several US states regulating online gambling, the revenue opportunity in North America will continue to grow.

“For the past couple of years some of the igaming community have been dismissive of crypto casinos whereas others have been keenly monitoring the evolution and started investing in the idea. I think it is likely that crypto casinos are here to stay. NFT is the next big thing to watch out for. The potential amalgamation of NFT, sports betting and sports live streaming may result in some innovative business models.”

Over the last 15 months, the industry has witnessed the evolution of digital events and the positives they provide to the sector with the continued lack of its physical counterpart. Speaking on this, Deshmukh stated digital events provide a platform to showcase ‘the most exciting games’ in the company’s portfolio. 

She added: “They support us in promoting new game releases by facilitating meetings with our core audience and buyers of the games. Typically, there are live streaming opportunities which give us feedback from players. These events also give us a great way to find out what the igaming community thinks about our games. 

“The Slots Festival event is highly targeted to a relevant audience and helps us to promote our brand to operators and platform providers. It gives us a good PR opportunity which is sadly missing at the moment due the lack of in person events.” 

Alongside the rise in digital events, the pandemic has witnessed growing influence of slot streamers and the enhancing impact they have on development of titles. 

On the impact of steamers, Deshmukh commented: “Live streaming as a concept has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. The excitement it builds around a game elevates its visibility. 

“NetGaming is a new supplier in the market so we have started exploring streaming opportunities recently. We have kick started conversations with a couple of streamers and there is more to follow on this front.”

Gazing into her crystal ball, Deskmukh predicted that the industry will continue to explore new mechanics and look to ‘redefine’ certain matrix’s. 

She concluded:Slots have evolved over the last century since the first slot machine was created. They have progressed from simple fruit machines to complex maths models supporting a digital slot. I think the industry will continue to explore new mechanics, putting a twist on classic mechanics and in some cases redefining the traditional 5×3 matrix altogether. 

“NetGaming is investing heavily in innovating in this area, and this can be seen in our 2021 roadmap.” 

The second CasinoBeats Slots Festival of 2021 is currently underway, and members of operators’ casino teams, slots and casino affiliates, content aggregators, and igaming industry media can register by clicking here.