5 Gambling Trends for 2021

What can we expect to trend on the casino floor? Maybe, Bernie Sanders will continue to pop up in casinos all over the country? No… but, casino floors will most likely see variations of the popular trends that will try to make the new normal feel “fresh.” Let’s see what to expect with the 5 Gambling Trends For 2021.

Pandemic Continues To Change the Casino Floor

#1 Cashless Transactions Are a Future Gambling Trend For 2021

Almost two-thirds of Americans did their holiday shopping online this year due to COVID-19. “Touchless take-out delivery” has become a way for local restaurants to survive. Touchless is the keyword. Using cards and mobile phones instead of cash has become a favorite way to pay for gambling through online options. The pandemic continues to accelerate that since people are leery of handling cash. 2021 will introduce more “touchless” ways to lay down your wager. Mobile wallets, cashless wagering accounts, and other technology will allow players to use smartphones to pay for slot play and, eventually, table play.

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The EVERI CashClub Wallet Kiosk

Related Post – Cashless Gaming Is Gaining Ground

#2 iGaming Becomes Plan B

New England is experiencing a push for online gaming, including iGaming. The iGaming or online gaming gambling option is the wagering of money or other value using the internet. The iGaming activities include poker, online casinos, sports betting, etc.; the largest share of the market is made up of casino games and sports betting.

With casinos shut down and forced to have lowered capacity, the pandemic has brought a surge in online gaming popularity. New Jersey’s iGaming revenues have been its casinos’ salvation, and Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other states are not far behind.

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CT. Gov Lamont during Covid daily news-conference.

In New England, Connecticut’s Governor Lamont has furthered talks concerning online gaming in Connecticut. Legalized sports betting has been contentious in recent years with the two tribes, the Mashantucket Pequots (Foxwoods) and the Mohegans (Mohegan Sun) and the CT. Governor. The tribes’ pact with the state for the monopoly of all gaming has brought questions concerning who would run sports betting. Now, Lamont has opened up discussions to include iGaming, all run by the tribes.

Massachusetts recently reintroduced a bill this week to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, reviving a debate that died without action at the end of the last legislative session. It would allow sports betting by adults ages 21 and up at the state’s casinos, slots parlor, horse racing tracks, and simulcast facilities, and through mobile and digital apps. The Gaming Commission would oversee the industry.

#3. Pods, Plexiglas, and Prevention

Wouldn’t you like to buy stocks in plexiglass back in 2019? The pandemic produced a new industry among suppliers to the casino floor. Plexiglas dividers, UVC light sanitation, and a reconfiguration of the slot floor in pods rather than rows are the new normal. Expect this trend to continue well into 2021.

Slot Machine Trends for 2021

#4 Hold-and-Re-Spin Domination

The “hold-and-re-spin” game is everywhere. Every manufacturer has its own version of this bonus. Aristocrat’s Lightning Link series first established the recipe. Coins or other icons with credit values land on the reels and hold in place for a set number of free re-spins, usually three. When another coin lands, the free-spin meter goes back to the beginning. This continues until no spins remain or the entire reel array is filled up for a jackpot. Expect to see more variations and more manufacturers get on the “Hold-and-Re-spin” bandwagon.

Related Post – Favorite Linked Progressive Slots in New England

#5 Progressives Rule

Progressive Jackpots are here to stay. The typical format you’ll see this year includes two or three static jackpots (“Mini,” “Minor,” etc.) offered beneath two incrementing progressive prizes (typically “Major” and “Grand”). Also, progressives will look a little differently. More and more, all the jackpots are worked into a bonus feature – either a pick bonus, a wheel spin. This year, new games will often feature multiple spins of bonus wheels resulting in more than one jackpot.

Bonus Trends

Non-Smoking Casinos May Continue to Trend in 2021

For casinos and hospitality sector businesses, now is the logical time to go smokefree indoors. The Holy Trinity of Gambling, Smoking and Drinking could be loosing a member for good. 800 casinos in 20 U.S states are completely smoke-free. If groups like Smokefree Casinos (an initiative of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation) or California’s Clean Air Project get their way, eventually that will be true of them all.

GGB News says, “One argument says the demographic operators hope will replace aging boomers as the customer mainstay—millennials—are strongly anti-smoking. Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Smokefree Casinos, urged gaming companies to adopt no-smoking policies to attract younger players. “Nine out of 10 young adults are non-smokers,” she said. “Millennials favor doing business with values-driven companies. These trends can also impact a casino’s ability to attract future customers and be an employer of choice for a large and diverse workforce.”

More and more, business are restricting smoking in outdoor patios. Many casinos may keep the “smoke-free” title well into 2021, and further. As of July, 2020, all New England casinos were smoke-free.

Enticing millenials with skill-based slots (below) may be missing the point. Maybe non-smoking venues are more of a draw.

Related PostsSmokefree Casino & Gaming Property Directory, Smokefree Casinos Checklist, Are Smoke-Free Casinos Here To Stay

Skill-Based Slots – The Pandemic is the Nail In the Coffin

Finally, can we admit that the idea of skill-based slots is a flop? Sure, Stadium gaming, with live dealers, appeals to a younger gambler due to the low limits and socialization.

But the gaming industry noticed a trend where younger people don’t play slots much. Not wanting to miss out on future generations of gamblers, developers rolled out skill-based machines to attract millennials and Generation Z’ers.

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An example of new slots – Space Invaders with a skill-based bonus.

Which machines on the slot floor do you see played the least? Skill-based slots. It’s time to move on from this. Leave the psychology of who gambles to the professionals, not the manufacturers, and definitely not casino marketing.


2020 will influence the casino industry for a long tome to come. So, let’s watch what happens. One thing is for sure – the casino industry will never be the same again.


About Binbin and NETimeGambling.com

Robin T. Aubin (AKA Binbin at NETimeGambling) has been a guest on Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast, The Bettor Life Podcast, The Art in the Game Podcast featuring all that is Springfield, Massachusetts. as well as ZorkCast with Michael Trager. As the founder of NETimeGambling.com, he has tried to provide a resource for recreational gamblers featuring New England’s expanding casino market events, gambling promotions, and entertainment. As a professional musician for over 50 years, he has performed in some of New England’s best venues, namely Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, Foxwoods’ Atrium Lounge, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Bar & Lounge.

The goal of NETimeGambling is to provide a service and resource for any recreational gambler visiting New England’s expanding casino market and interested in gambling tips, news, advice, and the latest in events, gambling promotions, and entertainment.

Follow us on Twitter at @NETimeGambling, and on Facebook at NETimegambling. Join the New England Casinos Facebook Group and chat about experiences at our New England Casinos.

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