2022 is turning into an incredible year for mobile casino games, with global downloads passing the 300 million threshold for the first time in Q1 2022, according to a new report from data.ai. With total revenue expected to reach $8.7 billion by 2026, the genre is holding onto its pandemic performance boost even as download rates fluctuate.
While traditional top-performing markets have continued to deliver, emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil have drawn a lot of attention this year. India saw a whopping 140 percent boost in downloads, compared to 2021. The U.S. continues to earn about half of global revenue for gaming apps overall, with 60 percent for the casino genre.
Key casino games to watch include: BINGO Blitz, Slotomania, Jackpot Party Casino, Cashman Casino, DoubleDown Casino, and Cash Frenzy. While slots games continue to be the most popular subgenre by installs, the top performer in the U.S. and U.K. was BINGO Blitz.
Slots Apps Dominate Casino Genre
According to data.ai, slots apps currently make up 25 percent of total downloads and two-thirds of consumer spend for the casino genre. Compared to Q1 last year, they have seen a 14 percent increase in downloads globally. This very popular subgenre has a long history in the market and continues to innovate. Emerging slots games—often originating in foreign markets—are also introducing new monetization features including incorporating blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
The Social Casino Boom
Social casino games saw an incredible boost in popularity throughout the pandemic, providing a simulation of a live casino experience unaffected by health restrictions. Users can gamble with virtual currency earned by playing the game itself or buy extra currency through in-app purchases (IAPs). While IAPs are the main avenue of monetization, many developers implement hybrid monetization models that incorporate in-app advertising to attract the casual free-to-play gamer crowd.
Some of these apps put an emphasis on social features, designing progression systems that necessitate constant interaction with fellow users. Along with social connection, these features stoke a competitive fire, a major user motivator and performance driver across game genres. Proven ad creative trends that are driving performance include:
- Gameplay: “real-time” reactions of players hitting jackpots or earning “big money” in a few taps, may have stylized app UI
- Free rewards: A time-sensitive promotion with an additional install incentive such as free spins or currency
- User interaction: user experience featuring players outsmarting their opponents
- Partnerships and IP: Using known brands or IP to attract users
Total gross gaming revenue for social casino games amounts to $6.2 billion, and is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2026 according to Statista. This is hardly surprising given that the average in-app purchase rose to $11.92 in 2021, almost double the average of other popular genres. As it stands, the social casino genre has a lot of room to grow, leveraging current trends in popular social apps and multiplayer experiences. Augmented reality will be another logical path to growth as gamers want more realistic and immersive casino experiences.