iGaming, the industry that brings us online poker, casino games, sports betting, bingo, and more is not even 30 years old but has had a huge effect on our lives in that short time. It’s invented new ways to play games, developed new technologies, and invested a lot of money into sports.
Perhaps most significantly, it’s made popular card games like poker much more accessible, especially for people that don’t live near to a casino or card room or don’t have any friends that share an interest in playing.
But as we’ve learned from iGaming’s two and a half decades of existence, it is an industry that will continue to develop new ways for its customers to play their favorite games. Here are some of the things we can expect from iGaming in the coming years.
iGaming companies have always embraced new technologies like smartphones, random number generators, and video streaming. It’s a pretty safe bet then that they will continue to innovate with new inventions and products in the future.
In recent years, we’ve seen some iGaming companies experiment with virtual reality, which allows them to create a more immersive experience. Whether this will be the next big thing is yet to be seen, but it shows how the industry is always looking to try new things.
Augmented reality is another idea that some iGaming companies are experimenting with. There are no products currently on the market, but they could begin to appear in the coming years. While VR transports the player to a fantasy world, AR could be used to turn your kitchen into a casino and your dining table into a blackjack table. The big benefit of AR would be that it would be something you could enjoy together with others in the same room.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Consolidation
More than two and a half decades after the first iGaming brands began to emerge, the industry has grown and matured a great deal. The size and quality of online casino, sports betting, and poker sites have increased significantly, particularly within the last decade or so. Today, the number of places that you can play poker online for real money is larger than at any other time in history.
This market diversity is great for players as it means there are attractive bonuses on offer from most brands, allowing them to get a lot more value out of their wagering.
However, for the iGaming companies, so many competitors can make it more difficult for them to acquire new customers and expand their businesses. That is why, like in many other industries, we’re beginning to see larger iGaming companies acquire or merge with their rivals. The combined resources can give them cost savings and more power in the market and is why we’re likely to see more consolidation in the years to come.
For consumers, little will change in terms of how or where they can play their favorite games. However, it may mean there are fewer companies to chose from, but given the market is so crowded already, it is unlikely much of an effect.
Even as these companies merge and buy each other, players are likely still going to have access to the generous bonuses and promotions that are already on offer.
Streaming technology has already been used in the iGaming industry for some time. It’s used to let players see the human dealers in live casino games and has helped this format to become one of the most popular online casino options.
Some companies are also beginning to broadcast live sports games through their sports betting platforms. This is most common with horse racing and tennis, but can be found with other sports too.
It’s a setup that works well for fans as it usually means they can watch the games that they’re betting on without having to flick between different windows or screens. Fans that aren’t regular bettors can also get access to games for less as many iGaming companies will only require a small bet to be placed to get access, and this is often less than a standard online streaming pass or cable TV subscription would cost. It’s also easier than having to get a VPN to get around geoblocking.
Streaming is still only used for a small selection of sports and by a handful of iGaming companies, but given how popular the concept has been, we’re likely to see more of it in the future.
More Social Features
As touched on just now, streaming technology has helped to create the incredibly popular live dealer games. These work by streaming a high-quality video feed of a table, cards or wheel, and the dealer to every player. The dealer then controls the game as they would if they were in a land-based casino, giving verbal instructions to tell the players when they can place their bets.
Another element of these games is a live chat function that lets players talk to each other and the dealer as they play. This helps to create a more social gaming experience that is more engaging and fun, just like you get with online console and PC games.
This chat function isn’t exclusive to live dealer casino games, it can also be found in some online poker rooms and bingo games. It has proven to be very popular and is likely to continue to be rolled out further.
Whether voice chat gets added, as we see in console and PC titles is yet to be seen, though it is certainly technically possible.
Online poker brands are also beginning to allow their customers to create their own private poker clubs, giving them control over who can be let in, the variants on offer, and even the look of the table. This allows users to create virtual poker nights with their friends, even if they’re not in the same room together.
Social features like these help to make games more engaging and enjoyable, so is likely that iGaming companies are going to provide even more of them in the future.