The online casino industry is full of business mammoths in a constant war to dominate the market. When the niche first hit the market in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was the stuff of legends. Many people marvelled at the idea of playing pokies and slots, table games, and other casino indulgences online. Over time, the venture has become so popular that it has overtaken the brick-and-mortar industry.
With the widespread demand for online gaming being higher than ever, key players use innovation to stay ahead of competitors and capture the increasing client base. Over time, it has been proven that gamblers will spend top dollar for exclusive features that improve their gameplay experience.
The technological advancements of the 21st century play a significant role in advancing nearly all industries, including that of gambling. Several notable trends can be spotted in 2021 casinos that set the pace on where the industry is headed. Some of them started a while back and continue to evolve to date, while others are fresh from the oven and have only started taking root. This post delves into technological innovation trends currently in the online casino niche and its impacts that are transforming the market.
Blockchain technology is slowly but surely revolutionizing many industries, and the online gambling sector is among those adapting to its seamless integration. Cryptocurrencies, often referred to as fashion money and run on a blockchain, are a significant cause for a change in consumer habits, and gaming sites are tagging along for the change. Blockchain is predicted to present unique opportunities for consumers and casino operators to intensify their gambling experiences. Bitcoin is currently the most popular crypto and has been adopted as a deposit and withdrawal channel by hundreds of casinos.
Many observers consider online casinos and blockchain technology a match made in gambling heaven. Cryptocurrencies have a unique selling point that has yet to be matched by conventional types of money like dollars and euros. This tech is ideally suited for gambling transactions thanks to the following features:
- Anonymity – several encryption techniques guarantee the confidentiality of personal information. Only the player has access to sensitive data, and it is kept from the gambling dens they send and receive money. Although it is possible to use network analysis approaches to retrace an exchange address, it is impossible to tell the owner how much it has or transact with it.
- Decentralization – blockchain is autonomous and does not depend on a government or authority to regulate it like regular currency systems.
- Data transparency – blockchain participants can easily track any BTC transfer on the system thanks to the provided public address, making it easy to confirm the legitimacy of transactions.
- Hacker resistance – blockchain accounts operate with a key that is accessible to the respectful owners only. There’s no other way of accessing the account, making them nearly impossible to hack.
- Low transaction fees – Since blockchain does not depend on third parties to oversee transactions, it demands low costs to keep running. In this network, a higher priority is given for transactions run with more significance. However, it leaves the option of paying these fees or not.
- No inflation – cryptocurrencies can only be mined up to a specific number, saving them from inflation. Blockchain is still finding its feet and has some downsides to overcome, like volatility, swaying perceived value, and significant currency holders. Even with these challenges, it seamlessly integrates with the online gambling sector and offers it independence from external factors.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Behaviors (IoB)
Online casinos and software developers have adopted the Internet of Things network, which works as an interconnected system that collects and exchanges information via the internet. IoT is constantly evolving and expanding its complexity scope, allowing gambling companies to interlink different systems to keep track of players’ data. The collected computations are then processed by this network autonomously and stored in a cloud to evolve in a more complex way. All this happens without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. This is where the Internet of Behaviors comes in.
IoB uses the collected data to generate valuable information about gamblers’ behaviours, preferences, and interests from a behavioural psychology perspective. It answers how to understand the data and its application to create and market games and other casino services. Despite being a network, it performs these tasks from a human perspective. Consequently, the gambling sector adopts a simple but psychologically complex way to deliver products to players.
Big Time Gaming is among the online gaming software developers that have leaped in this direction. The game studio recently partnered with Future Anthem, a Data Science specialist. Using the company’s Anthemetrics system, the game provider identifies improvement opportunities that can enhance players’ experience. Anthemetrics can ingest data in limitless formats through a scalable, secure platform that in turn provides;
- Gambler level insights that visualize players’ behaviours in an intuitive way that breaks down the game, player, and market performance and challenges
- Professional service for performance optimization that is data-driven and would otherwise be challenging to handle alongside the management and growth of game catalogues
- Personalized bonus and game recommendations that target individuals intelligently, engaging the studio’s audience responsibly
- Track in-session betting behaviours that are tell-tales of gambling addiction, conducting an in-depth assessment, and intervening before the activity becomes harmful
Virtual and Augmented Reality
VR and AR continue to garner popularity in different gaming sectors, such as shoot ’em up and video game sectors. The gambling niche seems to be ripping a page of these industries to drive up the swank and glitz of players’ online casino experience.
Virtual Reality has been predicted to disrupt industries since its invention in the nineties, but it was a long time before it was nudged in the right direction to start the domino effect. VR began to rake up some popularity in the mid-2010s with the emergence of such gadgets available to the public. Although they have not become as widespread as smartphones, they are a viable option when looking to explore gambling on a new interactive platform.
This technology works by having users wear a headset that immerses them into an artificial realm made up of scenes covering the entire field of view. Smart gloves and other gadgets can be used to interact with this world. Several games are adapting to this new technology wave, including the popular pokies;
- Dracula’s Family
- Art of the Heist
- Gonzo’s Quest
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Space Lights
Augmented Reality is already mainstream in the video game industry, and it is slowly but surely sipping into online gambling. AR blends real and virtual reality to create a mixed reality. For instance, in casinos, it will allow players to change a regular surface into a fully-equipped poker table or any other game.
Most people think of AI as technology in the far future that is likely to turn against humanity. However, this technology is already a part of almost every industry, including gambling. The use of AI in online casinos goes beyond accomplishing complex tasks like analyzing players’ behaviours and offering feedback. Anyone who has visited a gambling club has most likely interacted with artificial intelligence using inquiry management services like customer support.
The Chatbots used apply Machine Learning to achieve natural, human-like interactions while offering quick and practical solutions to queries. The AI bots are also used in games like poker, blackjack, and roulette to simulate dealers. The casinos also benefit from this technology since it costs less than having humans undertaking these tasks.
Wearables have become a popular connectivity platform in the past few years, and their market value is expected to hit $88.7 billion by 2027. Smartwatches are the most obvious example of wearables that are likely to break into the gambling scene in 2021 and onwards. Since these gadgets can connect to the internet independently, they can access players’ favourite casino games without whipping out their smartphones. These gadgets can also give rise to new kinds of gambling experiences and best-suited games for their small nature.
Socially Responsible Trends
While these technological advancements are not tangible like gameplay gadgets and artificial intelligence, they have a significant impact on how online gambling is being consumed today as opposed to the past. The fast rise in casinos has come with a vice that has governments scrambling to keep players safe: gambling addiction. Research studies indicate that problem gambling is just as destructive as drug addiction, the only difference being that it is impossible to overdose. This addiction is accompanied by signs like;
- Overspending on bets and chasing winnings even if the consequences are clear
- Thinking about gambling constantly, making it hard to perform other necessary tasks
- The inability to reach for PC and mobile gadgets without thinking of gambling, even after intending to quit
- Being in financial peril and resorting to borrowing or stealing to sustain the habit
The gambling industry is actively treading the socially responsible path to protect players from falling victim to gambling addiction. The UK is among the countries that have taken drastic measures to ensure punters’ safety from the problem while allowing gambling fun. The UKGC, the country’s gambling regulator, restricts the use of credit cards, autoplay, and other features to discourage the habit.
Sophisticated Game Testers
In the past, software developers depended on independent testing agencies to predict payout metrics and ensure that RNGs are fair and secure. These testers had to keep track of thousands on thousands of rounds to get results. The gambling industry is quickly adopting advanced game testing programs that ensure a fairer and safer user experience. This shift also results in a significant upgrade in games’ computation abilities to offer more accurate results.
Improved Mobile Gaming
No technological gadget boasts a widespread integration into the global society like smartphones. The devices have more than four billion users globally, making them a prime target for online gambling. Mobile devices have quickly morphed into the go-to platform to access online casinos, and they play a significant role in the industry’s globalization. The gadgets are continuously being improved to serve users better, and software developers and casino operators are in tow to keep up with these advancements. By the end of 2021, mobile gambling is expected to hit an all-time high market cap of $250 billion.
Slot Machine Upgrades
Technology is redefining how gamblers interact with slot machines, the most popular sets in online casinos. These sets have come a long way from three-reeled gadgets played in bars and saloons to immersive sets that invite players to explore fun-filled worlds with payouts going up to millions. The advancements that are currently taking precedence in the game category include;
- Enhanced aesthetics
Most players consider visual quality when choosing an ideal pokie, and software developers constantly push the storytelling boundaries to captivate them. With 8K smartphones and PCs now rolling into the market, game studios adjust their HD quality to match this high resolution. These graphics and animations’ clarity can be spotted in the latest releases.
- Megaways takeover
When win ways were introduced in the early 2010s, many marvelled at the idea of pokies having 243 ways to win. Today, Megaways by Big Time Gaming improve this engine to support up to 117,649 ways to win. The mechanic had a great run in 2020, and it continues to garner popularity in 2021. Power of Thor Megaways, Invaders Megaways, Black Gold 2 Megaways, and Dazzle Me Megaways are 2021 releases spotting this win way mechanic.
Speed and Security
In the past, online gambling companies often had to sacrifice speed for security or vice versa. However, the technological advancements of the 2020s allowed them to offer both. Cybersecurity is among the most focused on elements by gamblers choosing where to take their business. Most game studios and gaming clubs meet this demand using the latest Secure Socket Layer protocols. SSL encryption acts as a security blanket over a casino that can only be penetrated using authorized access requests. Another popular alternative is TLS encryption, and it uses cryptographic techniques to secure players’ data.
Online gambling dens have come a long way in supplying the gambling experience to billions worldwide, and new technology continues to improve its value. Transformative tech may crop up in different industries, but the gambling niche has proven capable of maturing it into practical applications that give players the service they demand.