Online casino games are just one of the multiple entertainment options that today’s players have in the palm of their hand. Brazil has quickly become the 5th largest gamer market in the world (with over 100 million players) and the 10th largest in terms of estimated value (USD 2.7 billion in 2021).
With the post-pandemic consumption habits becoming the norm, many users opt for easily accessible digital and mobile entertainment. A growing middle class and a passion for gaming point to the immense potential of the industry but also to a demanding user pool.
What We Want to Find Out
According to a Globo survey , by 2021 online casinos were already half as popular as state lotteries in Brazil.
What our study sets out to determine, however – within that broad family of real-money online games – is how much online traction each gaming genre generates within the casino segment. We use our own aggregate big-data sets to rank games according to:
- – Active players;
- – Turnover generated within the casino section and average bet amounts;
- – Game rounds played (sessions, spins, etc.);
- – Live casino versions vs. virtual games;
- – Returns to player (RTP).
Sports betting enthusiasts are somewhat easier to describe, with football clearly the people’s favorite. Online casinos, on the other hand, have seen much less industry research, where roulette usually comes out as a top selection, followed by blackjack and other traditional table games.
Players’ mindsets are comparable around the world – real-money games are entertainment, a fun pastime for most users. Gaming trends, however, evolve dynamically: novel gaming genres emerge and shape a new gaming culture across generations.
More than the evolution of digital platforms in general, we will outline the game categories and specific titles that stand out among online casino players in Brazil.
An Overview of Best-Rated Casino Game Categories
If we look at external data sources, Statista also cites roulette ahead of card genres, table games and slots as being most popular in Brazil. Despite lacking a land-based reference version (unlike card games, for example), slots seem to be on the rise mostly because of their simplicity and quick gameplay.
Another important observation is due when considering live dealer games. Found among a number of the popular casino games, live studio versions are already the favorites of half of the players. This is not surprising for casino classics as they offer more immersive and realistic experiences for players looking for that casino floor feeling.
These are, however, concepts and trends that still reflect pre-pandemic consumption habits. Younger generations’ more limited disposable income inevitably shifts some weight towards more traditional casino genres. Still, our updated rankings reveal the rapid growth of new genres like Crash-style games that take hold of audiences beyond demographics.
The table above presents KTO’s primary data extracted from aggregate datasets from November 2022 through January 2023. Naturally, if we add up the percentage of active players we will have more than 100%, simply showing that players have been active across multiple game genres, providers and titles.
We see that crash games have the most actives in the casino section of KTO (nearly 80%), generate the highest share of casino turnover (45.02%) and are responsible for the second highest total number of game rounds. Only slots, due to the very nature of the game – including free spins and bonus rounds – manage to come out on top in game rounds (61.41%).
The dominance of crash games is not a surprise to industry analysts, as we have amply covered their explosion in popularity towards the end of 2022. The other relatively new casino genre, TV-style game shows, come fourth in aggregate rankings with 18.37% of active users on KTO. Longer game sessions take these players to spend only 2.93% of total game rounds on such shows.
Roulette tables show stable shares of player interest (27.87% of actives). On the other hand, roulette often involves more complex betting strategies, resulting in only 2.79% of game rounds.
Similar considerations are valid for other casino classics like poker, baccarat and blackjack. The first two generate monetary bets that are twice the proportional weight of their active players, although these have been made in infinitely less gaming sessions as a total number.
Brief Historical Overview of Brazil’s Real-Money Gaming Scene
These trends in game popularity reflect industry dynamics and market supply logic. Howerer, their demand is also based on some historic developments in Brazil. Despite the popularity of real-money games in the country, the land-based industry has had a complicated existence for decades.
The Criminal Contravention Act of 1941 left only lotteries and horse race betting formally legal. A 1946 decree by President Dutra shut down dozens of casinos and classified real-money gaming as a minor misdemeanor.
An era of underground gambling houses and illegal betting forms ensued, with jogo do bicho as the most notable example. Profoundly a part of Brazilian society, these games involved anyone from politicians to prominent social figures and organized crime members.
Faced with the popularity of bingo and slot machines, the government passed the Zico Act in 1993. It allowed bingo operations under the condition that part of the proceeds would finance non-profit causes like sports or religious groups. The Senate blocked the Act but bingo halls continued operations until 2004 and yet another bill against them.
Ultimately, authorities realized that the best way to combat illegal activities is to regulate the existing market. Federal Law 13.756 was passed in 2018, allowing sports and fixed-odds betting in principle. Although there have been no specific rules introduced yet to guide and govern the industry, this has re-opened the debate on legalizing other real-money games as well. Lawmakers have tabled at least two bills that aim to regulate casino games, iGaming and lotteries.
With regards to online games in particular, most of the existing legislation does not cover the domain, since the evolution of internet services was not foreseen at the time. As a result, online sportsbooks and casinos are based abroad, operating under foreign licenses and regulations.
Online Casino Games Fill the Market Void
If we look beyond the recent boom of crash games, we see that the other categories reflect market demand as shaped in the past few decades. In fact, slots get a lot of online traction despite not having a legal physical analogue since the 1990’s. In Brazil, they are more popular as a genre when compared to other emerging young markets like India.
Specific market demand also explains the relative importance of videobingo games, chosen by 5.90% of active players. This is certainly a cultural specific of the local market, as they rate much lower abroad.
The second most sought-after macro group of games consists of “classic” casino games – roulette and card staples like poker, blackjack and baccarat. They require more know-how and ability, even if it covers only betting strategies. Poker, however, is even formally considered a game of skill and a sport.
If we zoom in on the specific titles that casino players appreciate the most on KTO, we see the top 20 look like this:
These above games are ranked by the share of active players in the casino section, that is to say with at least 1 round played by the user. The top 20 also has games with at least 5% of active players involved.
The list already paints a slightly different picture, with crash games firmly in the lead. It turns out that the stand-out type of online casino games is the one that came last to the real-money gaming scene.
Game shows (18.37% of actives) rely on the growing accessibility of technology, as they require somewhat better devices. Live streaming video, visual effects and augmented reality (AR) are all fundamental for the genre.
Crash games, usually, go in the opposite direction. Crazy Time was a standard-setter a couple of years ago. It was the first game that achieved commercial success (although not the first one on the market) by employing the crash-style algorithm. It is still using a live host and a studio stream as a way of providing a bridge to game show audiences.
However, the simpler, lighter and less demanding (in tech terms) crash games have since then shot way past it in player sessions and online visibility. And that is not unexpected, given the nature of the games and the traits of new-generation gamer communities.
Crash games – just like slots – have lower requirements about minimum wager amounts. Players from certain generations are familiar with slots from the times they were found in local bars (Zico Act), others know them from trips abroad or movies about Las Vegas.
Both genres offer bonus rounds (slots more than crash games), quick-spins, autoplay and other features that increase player engagement. This results in an elevated number of player sessions (see game rounds in first table). We can safely conclude that crash games are the new face of slots and, in general, the top product in Brazil and many online casinos around the globe.
Insights on Player Behavior
KTO offers more than 2400 game titles on its casino platform. The first 20 alone, however, generate active player shares that add up to 263%. As noted above, this only means that users try out different games and have multiple favorites. Often, they stick to similar genres – and we saw that even slots and crash games have some traits in common.
Then, it comes to the highly competitive game provider market to come up with ways to differentiate titles and bring in innovations. Many game studios deliver advanced visual elements, thematic features and reward systems. This way, the game mechanism takes a back seat in the eyes of many casual gamers, yielding to the importance of visual interface.
However, we need to look at the leading games as part of major categories (seen in the first table) and, more importantly, possessing common features. Such segmentations provide valuable insights about player preference and behavior.
The top 50 games add up to 85% of the turnover generated by the casino platform. The list reveals games that manage to attract loyal fans – both occasionally returning players and regulars – and the presence of gamer communities shaped around certain real-money games.
Out of that group, each game in the top 15 generates at least 1% of the casino turnover.
Again, we see the leading two games are crash-style titles. Aviator towers above the rest, with a third of the casino turnover, followed by Goal with 5.28%. It is also evident, however, that both games do not replicate the enormous advantage they had in terms of active players (see previous table).
We already see roulette titles emerging – with 7 tables in the top 15. Worth noting is the third position of a classic poker game, Casino Holdem.
Online Casino Games with Highest Bet Averages
Both roulette and poker move up the rankings by generating more turnover per player and per round when compared to slots and crash games, for example.
The table below shows the average bet amounts within a game family. If we consider that the weighted average for the platform is reported at EUR 1.15 (BRL 6.43 at the time of writing), we can easily spot slots and video-bingo as the only kinds of games that attract lower average bet amounts.
Crash Games are slightly above the mean figure, while roulette tables draw as much as 5 times that amount per gaming round.
Poker clearly attracts high rollers. Tables like Holdem and Triple Card are popular enough to keep averages solid when VIP customers are away. However, with wagered amounts over 35 times the casino platform average, poker players reaffirm their conviction that they are playing a largely skill-based game. And those who feel more confident in their gaming abilities, usually place higher bets.
Blackjack also shows bet averages that are quite high. The first 35 blackjack tables have recorded some of the highest bet averages across the platform. These are followed by Baccarat and its high-rollers or more experienced players.
Live Games Preferred
Another important aspect also stands out: 9 of the most successful 15 games are Live Dealer tables. If we extend that consideration to the top 50 (not shown), we have exactly half of the leading games being played live.
These 25 live casino titles alone generate 29% of the total casino turnover. This share is slightly diluted when we extend calculations to all the games available on KTO. But the trend is unmistakable: the most successful “classic” table games – roulette, card games and more recently game shows – are almost always preferred in their live studio version.
We see live dealer versions for all native language versions, including Brazilian. The same approach has proven successful for the likes of XXXTreme Lightning roulette, First Person Blackjack, Casino Hold’em (poker), Super Sic Bo (dice) and other renditions of traditional casino floor games.
Game shows, the hit of the late 2010’s, continue receiving consistently good ratings for their live dealer setups. It is not surprising to see games like Crazy Time, Monopoly Live, Football Studio, and Deal or No Deal get so much online traction.
Once again, game providers can make a strategic distinction in what they supply to the market. Some studios have implemented modern and sophisticated features (e.g. AR) that deliver an immersive experience resembling a real-world casino floor.
Others prefer capitalizing on light, quick and provably fair games like all crash-style titles and online slots.
Ranking of Top Games by Rounds Played
The table below illustrates the share of top-performing games in terms of rounds or sessions played. First, they are grouped by game providers.
Game studios’ market shares and current performance deserve a dedicated in-depth study. In this case, a user-friendly quick overview reveals why they rank as above when it comes to game rounds.
Pragmatic Play, for instance, produces mostly slots. Until recently, that is, as they’ve jumped on the crash-games wagon with Spaceman, reaping instant success. They have also added a Live Casino section to their portfolio, with roulette, blackjack and baccarat, in addition to game-show studios. This points to the fact that despite strong roots in the slots genre, they simply cannot overlook the dominant market trends we’ve discussed above.
Spribe, as we will see further on, is the current rising star on the market with their crash games and other mini-games (that they call Turbo Games, admittedly “targeted on Generation Y”). They stick to what they are best at.
Gamomat and Wazdan both make slots predominantly.
The 8 game providers we have shown in the graph above cover 95% of the game rounds played (and 96% of the casino turnover, although in a different order). When we rank the top games by rounds played, we see the following list:
The majority in the top 15 are slots. With 61.41% of the total game rounds played, slot games have a dominant share. They also represent the majority of the titles available on KTO, with fresh new slot games coming out every week.
Noticeably, all come after the market leader Aviator and in between a few other influential crash games, with Goal and Mines ranking consistently well in the past few months.
Sevens Fire stands out in the slots section, followed by the likes of Big Bass Splash, Sweet Bonanza, Mustang Gold and Royal Seven XXL. The difference among the others, particularly outside the top 10, is minimal.
What these successful games show us is that more players than ever before appreciate light and quick-play games. Overall, a healthy mix between traditional casino games and new-age genres manages to attract younger generations and keep the loyalty of their elders.
High RTP Is Key
All top-rated games have something else in common – they report higher than average returns to player (RTP). The only ones that possibly diverge from such a definition are the Game Shows but they make up in live environment and immersive excitement.
The rest of the top performing games have RTP above 90%, with many even certified for RTPs above 94-95%. Most crash games have a “provably fair” 97%. Many of the popular roulette tables have a theoretical RTP above 97%. Blackjack is famous for having some of the lowest house edges, with optimal returns surpassing 98%, even 99% if a single or a double deck of cards is used – which is the case of live dealer tables typically. Baccarat also has RTP above 98% on most tables.
All of these games require some skill or strategy that improves players’ chances of winning. Slots, on the other hand, offer more casual and less complicated gaming experience, albeit at the expense of decision making.
Still, most slots are certified for RTPs above 90%. And while these parameters vary from game to game, they can be easily verified for every single title on KTO.com.
Conclusive Summary of Findings
Overall, Brazilian players have shown consistent levels of interest in online casino games that enjoy similar global popularity. Such online demand is understandable, given the fact that there are no regulated on-land casinos in the country.
We have seen from our data breakdown that some game categories are more sought after than others. Their rankings are largely the same whether we consider active players, turnover or game rounds.
Despite their relatively recent introduction on the online casino market Crash Games have rapidly become a hit among players of all generations. Slots come second in almost any list, except when ranked by game rounds played, where they have the dominant share.
Online Roulette is a casino classic that comes next, with card games (blackjack, poker and baccarat above all) also traditionally drawing a substantial player pool.
Game Shows are a case apart, a crossover genre that has gained a steady market share in the past few years.
In terms of betting behavior, most gamers have shown a preference to play with small amounts but regularly. The majority appreciates higher return odds at the cost of winning opportunities with greater volatility. Even when taking a risk with a certain betting strategy, players tend to prefer high RTP genres like crash games, blackjack, roulette and slots.
Rather than putting games into narrowly defined categories, we have seen two macro groups – the quick-play type and the immersive type.
The first group focuses on the concept of easy and light gameplay. These are mini and quick-play genres that target younger generations, offering a new kind of casual real-money playing experience.
Yet, they have clearly managed to expand across demographics and attract the most playing times, sessions and most users overall. Both slots and crash games would fall within this macro category. In fact, crash games can be seen as the new “manifestation” of slots, to all effects.
The second group of games, for the most part traditional casino-floor genres, has also evolved considerably in the past decade. More affordable technology has ushered in a wave of modernization, with more catchy visual elements and first-person engagement.
We see a substantial demand for these features in player preferences for Live Dealer tables and immersive environments. These are games where players dedicate less rounds, spins or sessions but often involve more thought, strategy and ultimately resources.