Technology is moving forward, making revolutions with great leaps in its development. The complexity of technology is increasing exponentially. Some scientists say we will reach a plato some day. But this day is not coming soon by any means.
This article explores what role does technology play in online casinos, and how it can affect your gambling tomorrow.
The technology of the past
Every new technology is a set of open opportunities for all industries. The gambling industry is no exception. With every technology there came a new way to gamble.
One of the first gambling technologies in the 20th century were slot machines. Unlike the random number generators of the past, roulette wheel, for instance, these new machines functioned on a set of gears. This allowed for better randomness.
One-armed bandits became an instant hit all across the US, where they were invented. This new technology laid the beginning of what is to become one of the most popular forms of gambling.
Later on in the 1960s, electronics was booming. This made the invention of video slots possible. One-armed bandits were history by this point. Video slot machines allowed more games to be accessed through one terminal. Soon they were all around the world.
With the rise in popularity of PC and the Internet, the paradigm shifted once again. Now casino games were available from the comfort of your home. This didn’t eliminate land-based casinos but landed a significant blow.
Mobile gaming and HTML 5
The most pronounced trend in technology today is mobile gaming. Smartphones of today outsmart computers of the old. As they grow in numbers and fall in price, more and more people are using them.
Mobile-first is the motto of the generation. Everybody is talking about it, from digital marketers to top gaming companies like Blizzard. The gambling industry follows along.
A shift in paradigm was possible because of new markup language, HTML5. Previously, Adobe Flash was used to launch online slots. This technology was so popular that even Youtube used it to play videos.
Now most developers stopped using Flash. The main reason is, it is incredibly hard to use from your smartphone. With HTML5, however, you get much less power consumption and much more compatibility.
Because of this technology online casinos really went mobile-first. Most of the new games are being made with HTML5 in mind, and old titles are being re-released.
VR/AR in gambling
Augmented reality and virtual reality is what’s on the forefront of gaming technology today. Financial forecasts say the adoption of AR/VR is growing. With VR headsets being on par with PS4 and Xbox One in terms of price, you can only imagine where it gets from here.
VR, or virtual reality, is a technology that submerges gamers in the game. You play wearing a headset with a screen in front of your eyes. This means you see everything just as in real life. A special device tracks your motion, and you can manipulate objects with controllers in both hands.
The world of gambling hadn’t caught on this technology just yet. It is only making its first baby steps. NetEnt reshaped one of its classics, Gonzo’s Quest, to be fit for the VR era.
In the game you are standing in front of the Aztec temple, surrounded by a forest. The game’s mascot interacts with you, and as you win, you see a shower of gold coins.
But that is just the first thing gambling has to offer VR gamers. You can only imagine what is to come. Most likely, casinos will come up with their VR versions, to allow players from all over the world gamble at the most popular land-based casinos.
It might be that someone will invent a new way to gamble, just like someone invented one-armed bandits back in the day. The possibilities are endless.
The impact on land-based casinos
It is hard to say how do online casinos impact land-based ones. It is obvious that they entertain a share of people who would otherwise go to a real casino. But there is no research that would indicate how big a share that is.
Despite this competition, the growth of the casino industry is a fact. In South Africa alone, land-based casinos account for the lion’s share of gross gambling revenue. This industry grows faster than most others in the economy.
Mobile gambling is a direct threat to land-based casinos, as more and more people will be drawn to gambling online. VR, however, is not as simple. It is twofold.
On one hand, more people will have the possibility to gamble in virtual reality settings. On the other hand, land-based casinos can enter the game by creating VR versions of themselves. It can be a new way of earning revenue, not the thing that kills them off. Now it’s all in their hands.