At the start of a new decade, one of the hot topics of conversation is technology and how it will be utilised to make our lives better. Tech is utilised in industries like manufacturing, food production and healthcare, among others, to reduce environmental impact and even save lives, but it’s just as prominent in entertainment.
The music industry is increasingly utilising augmented reality and holograms to enhance the experience for fans, the mobile phone industry is defined by the tech race between big-hitters like Apple and Samsung, while Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have been joined by search giant Google in the video game wars.
The online gambling sector is no different in this sense as providers scramble to develop and implement the latest technology to enhance the experience for players, whether that be creating a more immersive experience or helping provide additional safeguarding that protects them against sensitive information being stolen.
There have been many innovations that have transformed the industry since the advent of online casino websites in the mid-90s, including the emergence of ‘live dealer’ experiences in recent years and the transfer of the user experience from computer screens to phones.
Many industry insiders predict that augmented reality and virtual reality will play a key role in the future, although it’s impossible to accurately predict how seasoned consumers will respond to changes to their gaming experience, so providers must be cautious about the tweaks they make.
Cryptocurrencies are also expected to feature more prominently in the industry in the coming years as the general public becomes more familiar with the system. Cryptocurrencies can offer added security to gamers and several leading websites already allow their users to make deposits and withdrawals in this way.
It is also expected that providers will continue to experiment with free-to-play games that don’t involve transactions of any nature, in order to appeal to people who simply enjoy the games. Though there is no direct income for online casinos, revenue can be generated through advertising revenue.
Users who play bingo online are already used to being able to participate for a very low stake, and it’s likely that we will see this model rolled out more widely, and promoted more heavily, as providers seek to offer opportunities to players who aren’t prepared to risk a lot of money.
Mobile apps and games are often free to download and play, but allow users to make micro-payments while they play or use the software, and this format could become more prevalent in gambling, where players can play for free, but pay to upgrade their experience in a variety of ways.
Meanwhile, though staples like blackjack, roulette and poker are likely to remain at the forefront of online gambling, we may see operators experiment with the introduction of new or modified games, although a significant challenge will be to predict the changing habits of gamers.
Games that are popular in physical casinos don’t always enjoy the same success online, and vice-versa, so we could see a degree of speculation here as providers experiment with less common games and then analyse the results.
But throughout everything, the key challenge for online gambling companies in 2020, and during the next ten years, will be to engage new players and create an accessible experience for less experienced gamblers – without alienating their existing users.