The casino industry has seen a rapid rise in the number of online players in recent years. Improving technology, the increasing availability of mobile gaming, and the quality and variety of games available have contributed to a shift towards online games over offline.
Many established brick and mortar bookmakers have launched online arms in order to meet the demand for convenient and flexible gaming. The proliferation of the smartphone has increased the opportunities for players to game while on their commute, from the sofa, or anywhere else that they find themselves with a bit of free time.
Slot machines go digital
One of the most popular games, both on- and offline, is slot machines. They are firm favourites of casino-goers both in the real and virtual worlds, and the online offering is varied and engaging.
The flashing lights and melodic beeps of a slot machine conjure up the image of a gaming floor in a Las Vegas Casino. However, the video slot machines that are popular today are several evolutionary steps from the simple three-reel games that were introduced in the 19th century.
The logical progression was to online slots, which first started to appear in the 1990s when home computers were hitting the mainstream. Slots may have been around since the early days of the internet, but the best of modern online slots are created by cutting edge designers and developers.
Online casinos now offer a huge range of slots with a variety of different themes, prizes and strategies. The increasing popularity of mobile apps has made it even easier for players to game at their convenience.
The future of online casinos
Society is becoming more and more accepting of mobile phone use which is evidenced by usage statistics. In 2014, the average person spent 152 minutes a day on their devices, which rose to 215 minutes in 2018 and predictions suggest this will increase to 234 minutes by the end of 2021.
The number of players choosing online casinos over their physical counterparts has risen rapidly over the last few years. Increased access to mobile gaming apps and innovations in the technological arena have been great for gamers.
The European online casino market has increased by 10% a year as a result; growth which has not been matched by numbers visiting physical casinos. The popularity of online casino games has seen dramatic increases in the revenue they generate, which is predicted to rise from $22.2 billion in 2018 to $29.3 billion by 2022.
European enthusiasm for online casino games makes it a major global market, with a 49.2% share of the total global sector. Heavy investment from bookmakers has seen a number of high-quality mobile apps enter the marketplace and contribute to the ongoing European dominance in the field.
Mobile gaming benefits from improved technology
By 2020, it was clear that advances in technology, storage and processing power were making mobile gaming more appealing to users. Companies are incorporating new features, personalised offers and cutting edge tech into their offerings such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to change the face of online and mobile gaming by offering players customisable interfaces and personalised gaming experiences based on players’ preferences. Interactive elements such as chat bots can make gameplay more enjoyable and offer guidance to players as well as identifying suspicious activity and eradicating fraud and scams.
Virtual reality has the potential to offer players a much more immersive gaming experience, allowing them to play in a variety of different settings and with tailored experiences. Those sites that already offer virtual reality casino games are gaining traction with consumers who are looking for new ways to make their gaming fun.
A virtual casino gives players the chance to experience a much more realistic experience of playing a variety of games in a casino environment. From picking up gestures at the card table to providing opportunities for players to ‘socialise’ in the game, virtual reality adds an extra element to any game.
As virtual reality technology improves, gaming companies will be able to offer their players a range of features including:
- Being able to interact with other players and casino ‘staff’
- Visiting lifelike replicas of brick and mortar casinos
- The ability to play in a range of environments such as alternate realities
- Combining games such as casinos with role-playing games
- A wide choice of locations and options
The European Casino Market
As one of the major players in the international gaming market, Europe’s game developers are certainly in a good position to capitalise on their success. As other jurisdictions are set to tighten restrictions on online gaming, European’s are expecting to capitalise on changes in regulations elsewhere and make the most of possible openings.
Technological advancements, changes in the way people interact with one another and an increasingly connected society are all contributing to an environment in which gaming and mobile entertainment are thriving. As more businesses move online, consumer expectations are raised and innovation is not only welcome but necessary in order to maintain market share.
Casinos throughout Europe are benefiting from changes that make it easier than ever to meet the needs of their customers. 2021 could see the European casino industry increase its market share and bolster their profits, with players benefiting from improved accessibility and functionality.