The gambling industry has come a long way, from land-based operations to the birth of the first online casino in 1994. Since then, gambling has upgraded into an online leisure activity that can be played from any device at any time from any part of the world. This could not have been possible without the strong appetite for disruption and innovation in the iGaming industry to make gambling and betting experience more authentic, thrilling, and interesting. Such technological advancements bring a great positive impact not only on the players’ experiences but also on the entire industry’s reputation and status.
At present, we are witnessing the growth of cryptocurrencies, an undifferentiated tech trend between the gaming and gambling sectors, as well as the dynamics of social networks. And, these technological trends hold great potential to shape the future of online gambling in their own ways. Now, let’s take a closer look at each topic.
It is impossible to talk about the future of online gambling without mentioning the penetration of cryptocurrencies into the iGaming market.
Since the invention of Bitcoin in 2008, several other cryptocurrencies have also emerged and slowly established themselves as great alternatives to traditional cashless payment methods for both iGaming operators and players.
At the moment, gambling-focused currencies are reportedly valued at more than $245m according to data from CryptoSlate, and those who are currently ruling the chart are: WINk (WIN), Dragon Coins (DRG), PlayChip (PLA), Bitbook Gambling (BXK), CasinoCoin (CSC), Wagerr (WGR), and DAO.Casino (BET).
However, using cryptocurrencies in the online gambling and betting industry is such a controversial topic due to their vigorous market fluctuations and volatile prices. Despite such market risks, crypto gambling keeps rising in popularity because of the advantages that government-regulated currencies failed to offer, such as:
- Total anonymity for users and transactions – personal information is kept safe and secure via the blockchain
- Access to provably fair gambling – for honest and transparent gambling systems
- Instantaneous acceptance and withdrawal of funds
- No extra transaction cost/tax – since cryptocurrencies are not regulated by any government
- Irreversible transactions – which prevents iGaming operators from chargeback fraud and money laundering
Virtual Reality Technology
Virtual Reality (VR) technology, a forerunner of the video-gaming industry, has already made its way into the iGaming market to make gambling more fascinating and entertaining. Thanks to various VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and Samsung Gear VR, it is now possible for players to actually step into a virtual casino or a sports event, and participate in an immersive gambling experience. Some major types of online gambling activities that have started adopting VR technology are Slots, Blackjack, Roulette, and Sports Betting.
In 2005, SlotsMillion made a breakthrough in the online gambling industry as the first online casino in the world to use VR technology. This virtual casino app has a retro-futuristic casino vibe with a bar, a lounge, and a dedicated game area with several slot machines where you can dive into slot games of your choice.
If you want to know what it’s like to be inside the world’s first virtual casino, have a look at it yourself here:
Another big provider driving the momentum of iGaming VR technology is Microgaming’s VR Roulette, which earned a well-deserved spotlight as the winner of “Digital Gaming Innovation of the Year” award at the Global Gaming Awards 2015, and “Innovator of the Year” at the International Gaming Awards 2016.
By using 3D leap motion sensors and a VR headset, players can use their virtual hands to interact with chips, the roulette table, and action buttons in the game.
From what we observed, the current VR gambling technology is not above-par yet compared to its video/PC gaming counterpart; however, it is slowly gaining momentum to capture the heart of millennials. As much as we are eager to see a faster pace in development, do bear in mind that you can’t build an empire in a day. So, it’s only a matter of time that players can enjoy an inclusive casino experience without ever leaving the house.
Recently, we have noticed that social gambling has become a hot topic in the media as a lot of operators are shifting from traditional iGaming products to social gambling apps.
So, why the change of heart? One of the advantages is that social gambling allows players to play with their peers, which creates a viral effect that can quickly build a bigger user base for the game. From a business point of view, the more users there are, the more beneficial it is for a company. It is also another opportunity for online casinos to cross-promote
The GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) value of the global social casino market is expected to reach $5.5bn this year and $6.9bn in 2024. Currently, North America is leading the market with 71% of the total Global GGR, followed by the Oceania region with 17%. Although the rate of growth is expected to be slow within these years, there is no sign of falling back in its market value.
Generally speaking, social gambling is when people play casino games for free with their friends using virtual coins. While many people may argue that social gambling is not a true form of gambling, there are counterarguments that point out in-app purchases that can be bought with real money to increase the chances of winning.
According to Gambling Commission UK, “if the prize is not money or money’s worth, they are not gambling under UK legislation.” So if we were to ask if social gambling is legal, it very much depends on the local authorities and regulations set by them. This also highlights the need for structured legal actions for social gambling in the near future.
At the same time, the sports betting sector is also catching up with this social trend, and peer-to-peer betting platforms are becoming a new norm of betting. These social apps aim to attract millennials and casual bettors who are tired of betting at the usual online bookies by eliminating the middleman and encourages users to bet within the app among their friends, be it offline or online.
This is 2019. Taking pride in having a mobile-friendly product is not very impressive anymore. Instead, it should be a staple by now. Mobile devices have been ruling the world, and we all know it. And it will continue to do so as long as these gadgets continue to hold great value in our everyday lives.
What would be a good upgrade in the iGaming sector for this era is being compatible across all devices or making a wearable gadget-friendly app. The latter concept was first revealed by Microgaming in 2014 when they demonstrated a casino app that allows users to play jackpot via a smartwatch. Later, other well-known companies like Unilad, Ladbrokes, and Playtech have also joined the race in creating gambling and betting apps for different types of smartwatches.
Gambling can’t get any more convenient than that – all you need is a swipe on your watch to hit the jackpot! This is also one creative way for iGaming businesses to get millennials on your side!
Innovation meets convenience
From what we observed, these technological trends in the iGaming industry are carved out from the spending behaviors, gaming preferences, and choice of devices of today’s generation in order to deliver the best online gambling experiences.
When innovation is combined with the convenience for players, the future of online gambling technology is as creative as one’s imagination can be.
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “The Future of Online Gambling and Its Current Technological Trends”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂