iGaming Industry Setting New Trends
iGaming is one of the industries that benefit the most from hi tech advancements, and, in recent years, has undergone incredible transformations thanks to new technologies, devices, and software. An important market in the industry, online casinos are constantly adapting to these new trends, to provide enhanced gaming experiences and an authentic casino feeling.
According to statistics by GlobeNewsWire, around 41 percent of the world’s population indulges in some form of gambling every year, from lotteries to card and casino games. And last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and people staying home to comply with health protocols and social distancing measures, the industry experienced a surge, attracting customers seeking different forms of entertainment.
With every new piece of technology created, online gambling platforms are able to come up with new gaming experiences, providing immersive environments and enhanced gameplays, and allowing customers to enjoy different aspects of online entertainment. So, let’s take a look at how these new technologies impacted the iGaming world, from operators to bettors.
A brief history
Online casinos were first created in the early 1990s when two companies developed platforms that made online casinos viable: Microgaming, which created the first online gambling software, and CryptoLogic, the company that provided the platform for money transactions in these websites.
Together, Microgaming and CryptoLogic launched what is regarded as one of the world’s first online casinos: InterCasino. From there, many other online casinos came up, and by the end of 1996, there were around 15 online casinos. However, due to the technology limitations at that time, the selection of games was still very narrow, and most operators only offered online slot machines.
As personal computers became more powerful, and internet connections became faster, developers and operators in the industry started investing in better graphics, gameplay enhancements, and the addition of new titles to game catalogs. Quickly, new casino games were made available, like roulette, blackjack, and poker, and by 1997, the number of casino websites had increased to around 200.
In the late 2000s, the emergence of the HTML5 language allowed developers to create new codes to be used across multiple platforms and devices, making it possible for iGaming operators to provide their products on both desktop and mobile devices. Today, most online casinos are mobile-friendly, and some of them even offer apps for iOS and Android devices.
Currently, one of the most attractive features of online casinos is the possibility of playing live dealer games. Unlike conventional online casino games, which rely entirely on random number generators, live dealer games are managed and operated by professional croupiers and are streamed to players from land-based casinos or luxurious studios.
This was made possible thanks to the popularization of streaming technologies and services in the early 2010s, and live dealer games were responsible for a revolution in how we play classic casino games online. Instead of just watching automated gameplay, we can now join a real-life game and interact with the dealer and other players.
Virtual reality casinos first came up in the mid-2010s, but only a handful of online casinos featured these games. As VR devices became more affordable, the offer of virtual reality casinos increased, and today there are many operators providing virtual environments for playing casino games.
VR casinos are essentially digital versions of traditional land-based casinos, where players can enjoy classic games like slot machines, roulette, and card games, and even interact with other players using their VR avatars in bars and restaurants featured in these environments, in a fully authentic, immersive and interactive gaming experience. Bettors just need a VR headset, and there are many available today to suit all budgets. Some of the most popular devices recently are Samsung Gear, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift.
One of the hottest trends in the online world today, and growing in popularity exponentially with each new month, cryptocurrencies have already made their way to the iGaming industry, and it’s now possible to bet using cryptos in many different gambling platforms, including sportsbooks and online casinos.
Players just need some money in the form of a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Ether, or Litecoin, stored in one of the many digital wallet services, like Coinbase or Kraken. It’s possible to deposit and withdraw funds using cryptos, and these transactions are much faster than credit cards or wire transfers, with funds being available almost immediately.