The online casino has been evolving rapidly to keep up with customer expectations, government regulations and competition with each other.
And as with other industries, you can see trends that are affecting the entire gaming industry beyond the innovations that may pop up but are never widely adopted. Here are seven trends that are changing the world of online casinos as we know it.
The Dominance of Online Gambling
Today in the UK, online casinos account for more than a third of the total gambling revenue. Part of that figure includes the fast-growing mobile gaming sector. This shift isn’t surprising when you learn that mobile gaming is now generating more revenue than PC gaming. And it is logical for gambling sites to develop mobile-only games, since the average person spends thirty to forty hours a week on their smartphones. In fact, some games are mobile only and not linked to an online casino at all.
The Rise of Branded Games
In 2017, online gambling saw a slew of branded games tied to a number of movie releases and TV shows. These games were credited with bringing new people to online gambling. Branded games are simply an extension of the trend towards gamification, where casino games start to look and feel more like traditional video games.
The Growth of Skill-Based Games
Skill-based games are increasing in popularity in online and offline casinos, but the allure here is the fact that you have to devise a strategy to win and you feel like you’ve earned that victory when it is achieved. It involves something other than chance. Many find it a challenge to beat as they test various techniques and discuss strategies with their friends. For others, the thrill of hitting the leader board is reason enough to play, whether or not they receive a casino pay-out.
The Merger of Gambling and Virtual Reality
Virtual reality allows players to feel like they’re really there, whether it is an immersive action movie or the casino experience. Virtual reality is expanding because the price of the technology is coming down; the market is expected to be worth over 50 billion by 2021.
You can find virtual reality kits for personal computers, game consoles and smartphones in addition to the expensive brand-name VR headsets. Online casinos are also reaching out to these VR users with offerings that let them feel like they’re in the casino or by taking their gaming to a new level with an extra incentive when they win. VR casinos have lower quality graphics than online and mobile casinos, but they’re working on it.
Virtual reality offers a number of benefits for consumers. You can visit the simulation of an expensive casino on the other side of the world without leaving your living room, and you don’t have to dress up to enjoy the premium experience. As VR advances, this poses a real threat to offline casinos.
Another variation of this is live gaming via internet streaming. Many people are watching other people play games, whether it is video games or gambling. This has resulted in live dealers at tables for online casinos. On top of this is the growth of betting on e-sports by those watching electronic sports.
The Need for Greater Security
Social media sites have made the news every time they’ve experienced a data breach or violated their users’ privacy. These reports made consumers realise how vulnerable their personal data is online. This is driving online casinos to take security seriously. You can even find third-party services that rate online casinos based on their IT security; sites like this can help you avoid fraudulent sites that pose as online casinos but really want to steal your identity and drain your bank account. Online casinos certainly have to meet evolving regulations regarding protecting customers’ financial data and security.
The Rise of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies haven’t replaced traditional currencies, but they are being used alongside mainstream currencies. In fact, there are many cryptocurrencies in use online. And those who receive these cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services would like to be able to spend them online. A number of online casinos have started to accept one or more cryptocurrencies as payment. Depending on the casino you play at, you could be paid in cryptocurrency as well.
The Appearance of Rating Sites
We’ve already mentioned the ability to read online casino reviews at third-party websites that rate an online casino UK based or located in other countries. You can also visit casinos online UK rating sites to find sites you know are based in the UK and follow its strict laws for protecting people’s private information.
Sites like Casino Ratings take it one step further, allowing you to search casinos based on whether they support mobile gaming, offer free spins, have free games, give free spins to new players, let you play for free a few times without putting down a deposit, or offer casino bonuses. You can also use these sites to get an independent assessment of the site instead of viewing the testimonials they paste on their home page. Casino-ratings.co.uk also share news on the latest and greatest online games and informs its readers about new sites and events. This site is unique, because they rewards users who enter ratings for online casinos and answer user’s questions on the forum; these rewards can be redeemed for free spins at participating online casinos.
Blockchain has been more widely adopted by online casinos than cryptocurrency, because it is so secure. A benefit for consumers has been the ability of online casinos to create third-party audit organisations to make sure the pay-outs are fair. Any player can then check the random generator algorithm and transactions, determining if they’re actually paying out as much and as often as they say. This means online casinos no longer need to be audited, as long as they’ve adopted this standard. Conversely, the same technology allows small casinos to enter the market, meeting the same standards of transparency and security as the big players.
Online gambling has come into its own, merging with a number of other social and technological trends to offer unique, entertaining gaming experiences. Whether or not this renders offline gaming obsolete is to be determined, but it certainly gives them a run for their money.