During the past 10 years, the online casino gaming industry expanded on a massive scale. At the end of 2016, the industry was worth over $40 billion, and by the end of 2020, it’s expected to double in value to an incredible $80 billion. A whopping 11 percent of global internet traffic is generated solely by online casino players, which is a substantial percentage given that only a few years ago, iGaming was still considered a niche and somewhat dubious arena.
But what is it about this sector of online gaming that has enabled such exponential growth?
Advancements in Technology
One of the main reasons for this industry’s significant growth are the advancements made in gaming technology over the past decades. Innovation is paramount for many of the leading iGaming software developers, such as NetENT, Microgaming and Playtech, and the more advanced the technology becomes, the more enjoyable the gaming experience. This year alone has seen brands and platforms begin to integrate virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) elements into their offerings, and further innovation involving blockchain technology and asynchronous multiplayer games seem just around the corner.
Another factor increasing in the popularity of online gaming is that it is one of the few gaming sectors that has successfully migrated from the desktop to mobile. Indeed, mobile is the ideal arena for iGaming, especially since the average smartphone user spends up to 40 hours a week on their device. As a result, a lot of mobile-only applications are being developed, which are, in turn, fueling the growth and popularity of the industry. In iGaming, the more people play, the more casinos payout since as player pools increase, payout rates naturally improve.
Becoming a Mind Sport
Online casinos and poker rooms attract a diverse clientele, and they’re not necessarily the players that you would associate with casino games. The versatility of iGaming as a leisure activity means that everyone, from a complete beginner to a seasoned pro, can connect with games that not only engage on an entertainment level but also, boost a player’s acumen in this competitive discipline.
More and more online poker is becoming considered a “mindsport,” and you only have to look at the popularity of tournaments like the online version of the prestigious WSOP (World Series of Poker) event to see the elite levels that, with practice and dedication, players can ascend. In a series of firsts for the online poker world, this year saw a professional female player — Muskan Sethi —recognized by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, for her achievements in this typically male-dominated discipline as well as the launch of a region-specific tournament in India.
A Fair and Responsible Gaming Environment
The iGaming industry is heavily regulated, with leading platforms subject to assessment by local authorities, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and independent bodies such as eCOGRA. Such a high degree of scrutiny has ledto the development and maintenance of a fair and responsible gaming environment. Poker platforms and online casino rooms know they need to value their customers, and as such, the consumer market has come to expect security, accessibility and ease of use from these digital environments.
Security measures that keep a customer’s financial and personal details safe appear across the board, from full-scale instant-play casinos to mobile applications to limited-edition games. Customers are also presented with a range of options to fund and withdraw from their online casino accounts, with eWallets and cryptocurrency leading the charge for non-fiat methods.
Such ease of use creates a gaming environment where it is authentically pleasurable to play. Combined with the “always-on” accessibility of advancements like mobile gaming and instant play means that gamers can integrate iGaming into their busy, modern lifestyles, creating their narrative as they do so.