The global casino industry has had to quickly discover new ways of adopting technologies to ensure the sector remains relevant and accessible to a 21st-century gaming audience. Namely, the gaming industry has been revolutionised by the introduction of online action, with players able to play their favourite classic casino games from the comfort of their own home on desktops, laptops, smartphones or tablet devices. Although revenue from online casinos hit $4 billion in 2008, just a decade later, revenue from mobile casino gaming alone is expected to exceed $100 billion by the end of 2018.
This confirmation that the way people are betting is changing has led to the physical and online boundaries blurring between land-based and online casinos. Today, casino players just want an engaging and immersive gaming experience, whether they’re at home on the sofa, on the train to work or at the beach on holiday.
Perhaps the biggest development for the casino industry has been the adoption of live-streaming technology. The integration of high-definition (HD) streaming has allowed online casino players to play online with human dealers that manage the action within a purpose-built table setting. Players can take advantage of optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which updates the recent hands and statistics to help them make their next play as informed as possible. Furthermore, live-streamed casino games are also designed for use on mobile devices as well as desktop PCs, which points to the fact that the mobile casino industry will contribute to about two-fifths (40 percent) of all bets placed in the online casino industry this year.
However, as always with new innovations and revolutions, industries must act to protect the integrity of their operations. In the case of the casino industry, it has been especially important for online casino brands to improve the levels of player security and the transparency of their slots and classic table games. Blockchain technology appears to be a game-changing solution for the iGaming sector.
Originally developed as a fundamental infrastructure for the use of Bitcoin, the blockchain can not only improve the security of player transactions and minimise the cost of withdrawals and deposits but provide provably fair gaming. Casino games powered by random number generators (RNGs) can be placed in the blockchain for complete transparency, proving no manipulation by a casino and giving players genuine peace of mind. Land-based casinos are also doing their bit to protect the integrity of their operations by utilising casino chips tagged and tracked with radio-frequency identification to make it almost impossible for their players to steal chips to be cashed in with their cashier at a later date.
What else does the future hold for the casino industry? The evolution of virtual and augmented reality will almost certainly see its widespread adoption for iGaming, allowing players to play online and sit in virtual environments, engaging with other players from around the world. This level of immersion and innovation could put the appeal of land-based casinos in jeopardy in the long term, with online players able to don their virtual reality headsets and feel like they are in a brick-and-mortar casino without having to leave the confines of their own home. It’s certainly a case of watching with interest.