Online casinos have been one of the many beneficiaries of the Coronavirus pandemic. That isn’t to say opportunism is at play, but rather a natural growth from the locking down of usual hobbies and entertainment.
Generally, eCommerce and online markets saw growth. It makes sense seeing as physical establishments were being temporarily closed, as well as people actually preferring the safety of remote entertainment.
Retail investing has exploded, as has online retailers. Towards the end of 2020, it looked like people were desperate to spend money because their usual vices had been taken away from them. Today, we are in a place where online casinos have never been more popular, and have become an increasing threat to the traditional model.
Gamification of Traditional Games
When people signed in to play online slots a few years ago, they may expect a similar experience to a bar or casino – three spinning reels that you’re eager to match up with each other. Today, people who sign in to play online slots are looking to play an entirely different game.
In general, slot machines and other online casino games have evolved dramatically. As seen on Tuskcasino.com, they have gamified, meaning that there’s an element of competitiveness, a theme, possibly a story, and often an online leaderboard.
There are side quests and microgames all packed in one virtual slot machine, with fully fleshed out themes and characters. This gamification, which is down to the competence of game development as much as it is our appetite for video games, has meant traditional casinos are struggling to keep up with the innovation.
This trend is expected to continue, of course. More games are being made with new identities, and it may eventually have an impact on the video game industry itself. It’s also feasible that we see more collaboration between the two worlds, who both share a large pool of talented developers. Perhaps we could see such casino games being implemented on consoles, with fully controllable avatars and perhaps an RPG-esque campaign mode. It’s already possible to bet on e-sports, which is a starting point for future partnerships.
Virtual reality hasn’t exactly taken off as we expected it to. Consoles are half-heartedly creating VR games, with the focus very much still on handheld controllers or keyboard and mouse.
Online casinos are a hugely important driver in VR development. They’re not necessarily creating the most comprehensive games, but they’re creating a lot of ways to experience casinos in a virtual reality. Replicating the atmosphere and experience of a traditional casino is difficult, but there are attempts to reconcile the social aspects, making remote casinos games feel not so remote.
This has certainly turned heads in Vegas. VR headsets are being increasingly tempted into physical establishments; be it sports bars or casinos. This is a much more immersive way to play online casino games, so it’s less in need of being in land-based ones, but they still have some pulling power. In fact, we’re beginning to see casinos have online casino games in-store because people can continue their favorite games, competing on leaderboards, whether they’re present or not.
Cryptocurrency is a divisive space right now, with it gaining lots of attention and on the cusp of becoming seriously credible. With more use cases being put forward, people are starting to wonder if it will actually become a usable currency instead of a vehicle for speculation.
Well, online casinos are revolutionizing this space, too. Many casinos have figured out that punters enjoy anonymity, fast transactions, and privacy – as well as crypto itself. Having crypto as a payment system has given people more of a reason to hold onto them, as they can play games and send them back to their wallets.
Of course, rising values of crypto are going to still be something users can benefit from in this case, as they don’t have to sell their crypto for cash in order to play casino games. Whilst we aren’t likely to see major, mainstream casinos accept this payment system just yet, the symbiotic relationship between crypto and casinos will continue to flourish.
Mobile has arguably been the biggest factor in the success of online casinos – an industry that blew up well before the pandemic. Being able to play anywhere, anytime, is a powerful thing. We’re likely to see this continue, in which more advanced and demanding games can be run on mobile, seeing as their graphical power continues to increase too. In fact, we’re likely to see VR become more integrated on mobile, as there are many affordable headset attachments for mobile now.
Whilst some industries only succeeded due to the pandemic, online casinos appear to be well and truly in control of their market now. Vegas is reopening, along with casinos across South Africa, yet online numbers remain sky-high. Though, we don’t have to see the two as direct competition; it isn’t a zero-sum game, unlike some casino games.