Source: “Wheel of fortune” (CC BY 2.0) by Zdenko Zivkovic
The world of online gambling – which is now often referred to as iGaming – is in pretty rude health. Revenues generated worldwide by the industry stood at a phenomenal $37.91 billion in 2015, with this figure expected to grow to a very impressive $59.79 billion by 2020.
However, despite being a lucrative industry, the sector has never really been one to rest on its laurels and just think that its players would simply be happy to come back to sites year after year for more of the same. It has always looked to develop and innovate to attract customers, with websites often pulling out all the stops to not only attract gamers but also retain their valuable custom.
Drawing people in
There are many approaches which iGaming companies use to entice gamers and, as Casino UK shows, one is to offer a wealth of bonuses and offers to get new players to sign up. New entrants into this competitive market are offering many incentives, from Vegas Spins and its welcome bonus of up to £450 to Casino Shadow Bet’s year of free spins and up to £1,200.
As effective as such deals often do prove, other ways that casinos try and get ahead is through the use of technology. There have been a number of examples of iGaming companies seizing on innovations early in an effort to put some level of distance between themselves and their nearest rivals.
This goes all of the way back to the earliest days and the introduction of in-game live text functions. Provided to players to encourage them to talk while enjoying games, it created a dialogue between website visitors which went on to cultivate a community environment. By doing this, players not only make new friends but are encouraged to come back to the site for more action.
A live experience
One of the next notable innovations that iGaming adopted was video technology. As the quality of online video and streaming improved, sites started to consider how they could work such features into their gaming. Perhaps the best example of this is the ‘live casino’ options that many now offer.
While online gambling previously tended to rely on random number generators and algorithms to create lifelike outcomes, video-based gaming sees presenters host real-life casino action via a streaming feed. The hosts are also able to chat to players and provide hints and tips on how they can improve their game. Not only has the emergence of this type of gaming provided a new option to those playing at home, it has also ensured they can get access to the most realistic experience possible.
But with all of this talk of past innovations, it seems necessary to try and consider which emerging technologies iGaming companies are now looking to adopt. Well, virtual reality certainly seems to be one of them.
The technology has become hugely popular in the past couple of years as real improvements have been seen in the quality of experience that it can offer. With sales of VR headsets expected to grow by 800% by 2021, many industries are keen to figure out how they can leverage the tech to improve their products and services.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg perhaps pointed the way for iGaming late last year, when he hosted a demo of new VR technology for the social media site which allowed him to play cards in a virtual environment with friends. Remarkably however, it seems that online gambling companies are already quite far along with assessing their options in this area. Recent research estimated that the number of bets made through VR gambling is likely to reach more than £47 million this year, with this expected to grow to closer to £423 million in the next four years.
The idea of being able to sit with players from all over the world at a poker table in a virtual setting is an incredibly one to consider, but it is clear that this very idea is edging ever closer to being a genuine prospect.
However, it is fascinating to remember that this is just the latest innovation that companies across iGaming have embraced as they look to both provide quality services to players and steal a march on others in this hugely competitive area.
Online gambling has come a very long way in the past decade or so, but it is clear that the future is looking brighter than ever.