The online gambling industry and the boom of technology have had a symbiotic relationship since the 1990s, when the first ever online gambling legalization was seen in Antigua and Barbuda. There are still areas around the world where online gambling is not legal, for example Japan has strict online gambling laws. Although there are some loopholes that allow Japanese players to gamble online, if you’re interested in learning about this you can read about it here but anyway I digress.
It’s difficult for the mind to grasp just how far both participants have come since those early days; the global market for online gambling stands to surpass 130 billion US dollars by the year 2030, and currently reaches almost 70 billion. This makes it one of the most lucrative industries in the world, and this is due in no small part to technology – that big basket of eggs humanity’s carrying as we skip through time.
Microgaming and a Fight for Monopoly
Online gambling wasn’t a serious competitor in the world’s biggest industries for some time, and what gave it that potential was the intervention of Microgaming. Microgaming offered flash software, and the road to mobile gaming; the first online casino software was introduced way back in 1994, and in the years following, the gameplay was rapidly developed. The steps taken back then set a streamline course for the complexities of today’s technology, and they didn’t go unnoticed.
Soon, casino operators became far less of a rarity. Between 1996 and 1997, the number of online casinos had been pushed from 15 to 200; the market was only three years old at this point, and was already approaching a billion in annual revenue. As more and more casinos sprung up all around the world offering the rush of a gamble, many things were accelerated. One might say that with all those network operators bouncing around, the environment became heated; from the tension sprung advancement, of the same ferocious species as can only otherwise be seen in world wars. Competition breeds creation, and this is essentially how the market saw such a massive initial surge.
As the games grew more complex, casinos began offering bonuses to their players which can still be seen in the industry today. These bonuses are often a free gift of money into a player’s account, or money-back on a certain number of bets. The fight for monopoly was one that bred no clear winner, except for the industry itself, its catalytic effect on the boom of technology and – perhaps – a few lucky poker players.
The Rise of Online Gambling
In the early 00’s, the first mobile casinos opened up. As we now know, this would prove the beating heart of the online gaming industry; mobile gambling officially overtook all other methods in 2014, consisting of 51% of the global revenue. This came quickly off the heels of a 2012 development, which saw the introduction of mobile gambling onto platforms such as Android, iOS and Windows.
It was very prominent that nothing could stop the progress of the online gambling market. The nature of the world wide web, and the desperation with which humanity has clung to technological advancement, render the potential for mobile gambling essentially limitless. The projections stand at 130 million for ten years’ time, but in all likelihood – especially given the current global pandemic – this number could easily be much higher.
Where the Chips May Fall
The future is, as always, entirely unpredictable. However, the latest developments in online gambling technology can give us an insight into what may come. While the biggest news in the early 00’s was a shift from PC to mobiles, our current technological climate allows for broader – and perhaps morevirtual – horizons.
Gamers may soon find themselves in a similar situation to Ready Player One, as software developers are currently working on a way to bring about virtual casinos. With this style of gaming, one could theoretically get the entire casino experience whilst laying down in bed. Red carpets, slot machines, coins raining down into lucky bank accounts. This development would revolutionize online gambling forever, and the novelty of virtual reality could well entice many more who’ve never played to give it a try.
Another interesting development is that of Enlarged Reality casinos, which utilizes a 360 degree betting experience. It works through 3D imagery, meaning that you could soon be playing online poker on your own living room table.
Whatever comes next, it is clear that technology is not slowing down, and that online gambling is in for the ride – wherever the destination. New developments are cropping up every day, and it seems more and more likely that traditional casinos will eventually become obsolete. It will be interesting to see whether or not they survive the coming wave of gamers, whose classrooms were reddit forums, chores were T&C’s and greatest disappointments were the infamous words which the online gambling industry may never see: Game Over.