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 make the new every day feel “fresh.” So 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 suspicious 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.

5 Gambling Trends For 2021
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 wagering money or other value using the internet. The iGaming activities include poker, online casinos, sports betting, etc.; the largest market share comprises casino games and sports betting.

The pandemic has increased online gaming popularity, with casinos shut down and forced to have lowered capacity. New Jersey’s iGaming revenues have been its casinos’ salvation, and Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other states are not far behind.

5 Gambling Trends For 2021
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 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. 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. The new normal is Plexiglas dividers, UVC light sanitation, and a reconfiguration of the slot floor in pods rather than rows. Expect this trend to continue well into 2021.

5 Gambling Trends For 2021

The “hold-and-re-spin” game is everywhere. Every manufacturer has its 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 manufacturers get on the “Hold-and-Re-spin” bandwagon.

5 Gambling Trends For 2021

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. In addition, new games will often feature multiple spins of bonus wheels this year, resulting in more than one jackpot.

Non-Smoking Casinos May Continue to Trend in 2021

Now is the logical time to go smoke-free indoors for casinos and hospitality sector businesses. The Holy Trinity of Gambling, Smoking and Drinking could be losing a member for good. 800 casinos in 20 U.S states are entirely 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 it 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, businesses 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. So developers did not want to miss out on future generations of gamblers, so developers rolled out skill-based machines to attract millennials and Generation Z’ers.

5 Gambling Trends For 2021
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 not casino marketing.


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

Binbin and NETimeGambling.com

Miguel, Binbin, and Bert – The NETG Staff

Robin 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 Springfield, Massachusetts, as well as ZorkCast with Michael Trager. In 2013, he created NETimeGambling com. The mission was to provide a resource for recreational gamblers visiting New England’s expanding casino market events. We offer trip reports, gambling tips, casino promotions, entertainment, and more for those visiting our nine casinos. NETG also provides general gambling tips for those recreational gamblers inside and outside the northeast.

He is now retired from teaching middle school music for 41 years and performing professionally for over 50 years. Robin has performed at Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, Foxwoods’ Atrium Lounge, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Bar & Lounge.

Follow us on Twitter at @NETimeGambling, and on Facebook at NETimegambling. And subscribe to our new podcast – The New England Casino and Gambling Podcast.

Join the New England Casinos Facebook Group and chat about your gambling experiences.