I love this time of year, not only because the holiday season is upon us, but also because various prognosticators offer their predictions on what will happen in 2018. From an entertainment standpoint, I like the ones that involve sports, especially if the tidings look good for a favorite team. I’m also found of the celebrity ones, just because the predictions are always so far out there and consistently so wrong (I’m still waiting for Elvis’s alien baby to return to Earth…)

All kidding aside, I do find a lot of value in the prognostications made by the research community regarding how the gaming industry will shake out in the upcoming year. Over the years, Spectrum Gaming Group has proven to be one of the more insightful sources when it comes to predicting future gaming trends, and the company has just released its list of 10 Gaming Industry Trends for 2018. I would like to share some of them with you:

• Through legislative and/or judicial action, more states and tribes across the U.S. will look for ways to legalize sports betting, as well as iGaming, while political struggles will ensue between those who seek federal oversight of sports betting vs. those who seek to keep all forms of gaming within the purview of state and tribal governments.

• After a decade of debate and missed opportunity, casino gaming in Japan is expected to be legalized in 2018. A battle is then anticipated over the following one to two years between international operators and domestic corporations for one of the three expected licenses.

• As the crackdown on corruption in China continues into its sixth year and new property openings are scheduled for 2018, there are challenges ahead for the Macau casino market.

• Gaming operators will focus on legalization opportunities in the critical jurisdiction of Brazil, as up to 35 casinos could be authorized under new legislation.

• Skill-based gaming will ramp up, with new product offerings from both the traditional equipment suppliers and skill-based leaders Gamblit Gaming and GameCo.

• U.S. states that already legalized casinos will attempt various means to plug budget deficits, including the addition of retail gaming, i.e., electronic gaming devices in liquor-licensed establishments and truck stops.

• Online gaming in Europe will come under greater compliance pressure, leading to further consolidation of operation and supply, while affiliate marketing will endure greater scrutiny.

• A second major wave of new property openings (from small-scale to full integrated resorts) is expected in Asia (most notably Macau, South Korea, Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam) in 2018.

• Emerging markets in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe will look to the integrated-resort model as a means of growing their tourism industries and generating tax revenue.

Honestly, I can’t see any reason why all or most of these predictions won’t come to fruition in 2018. However, I would like to add one of my own—that casino security and surveillance will be a major area of focus within the casino industry throughout the upcoming year because of the tragic events of October 1 in Las Vegas and the ongoing economic and social menace of cybercrime. But I don’t think you have to be Nostradamus to predict that.