Online casinos are on the up and up, partly because they were so swift to recognize consumer interest in using their smartphones to access betting options. Here are some ways that technology could be used for the future of online casinos. What is iGaming? The world of iGaming is one that's increasingly popular and incorporates all aspects of online casino betting games. This is distinct from eGaming, or PC and console video games, although the two can and do overlap. Just as graphical and gameplay enhancements have transformed the world of console gaming in recent decades, too has iGaming progressed with increased access to mobile compatible platforms, bonus features improving gameplay, and entirely new categories of games virtual sports. But what does the future hold for iGaming and for players? The Rise of Smartphones and Tablets for Online Casino Use The rise of smartphones and their adoption by huge swathes of people in countries across the globe created both a demand and an opportunity for the top online casinos. Now you can play from any country on your mobile and access pretty much every slot and table game. Many international online casinos have dedicated apps for a variety of operating systems, including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows. The special promotional offers provided as welcome bonuses are also fully functional with mobile platforms, making it more convenient than ever before to take advantage of online casinos and benefit from promos. In short, the industry responded rapidly to smartphone uptake to ensure that players could reach online betting sites using mobile devices, and it seems likely that whatever technological progress happens in the next few years, online casinos will be ready to adapt swiftly to ensure they don't get left behind by rivals. Smartphones and VR Headsets Virtual Reality (VR) has been seemingly poised to be the next big thing in iGaming for a long time but, as with eGaming, it never really got going. However, this has started to change recently with a slew of competing VR headset manufacturers competing for the market and increasing numbers of VR compatible or VR only video games. Some VR headsets work by providing a niche into which a smartphone fits, reducing the headset cost by outsourcing much of the technology to a device most people own already. There are a number of bespoke headsets that function independently, such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Naturally, these can be a little pricey. In addition, the large number of competing firms may mean we see them get whittled down a little in the coming years. It seems probable that we will still have multiple competing hardware firms in the VR field, as has already happened for mobile phones and video game consoles. Both taking and broadcasting VR streams, including at 360 degrees, has been possible with mobile phones for some years, emphasizing how intertwined the two technologies can be.<\/p> There are some VR casinos right now but these are few in number and are perhaps likely to remain so until VR headsets, whether using a smartphone or not, become more widespread. However, VR has many leisure applications, including immersive sports, virtual tours of historical sites, and astronaut\/pilot training on a more professional level. Once VR ownership rates increase, we can expect online casinos to react accordingly and adapt their platforms just as they have to make online betting sites mobile compatible. At the moment, there simply isn't the interest in VR to justify a general embracing of the technology by online betting sites. This would also tie neatly into the popularity of live dealers, an innovation which streams live tables to players and combines the best aspects of playing in person and the convenience of playing from home. As with the top VR video games, the absence of ambulatory motion (walking, running etc.) would make live dealer options a great match for the technology. It would also enhance immersion as players could handle chips, tap the table for another card (in blackjack, for example), or directly push buttons on slot machines as if they were there in person. It does seem likely that the widespread adoption of this technology will require either a trailblazing casino to enjoy significant success with it, or, perhaps the more probable route, other leisure activities increasing VR headset ownership so it's more accessible for more players. Social Aspects Some new bonuses have recently come into being in the form of free tournament entries. These can function as either leaderboard competitions or players directly trying to beat one another at poker, bingo, blackjack, and so on. VR offers a way to improve this even more, by having tournaments occur in a virtual space, with players able to interact with one another in a more direct manner. The rise of so-called 'social casinos' (sites involving games of chance that do not offer any cash rewards) shows that there's plenty of desire to mix games with socializing and using new technological possibilities to get a good social scene going could be a way for online casinos to provide something a little extra for their player bases. Direct Brain Interface The idea of people directly interfacing with computers just by using their brains might sound like science fiction, but a limited version of this has been in use for some time, for patients with paralysis. Now Facebook wants to develop and exploit the technology in a more readily accessible way as part of its AR and VR division (Facebook Reality Labs). The concept is for a wristband that monitors neural activity and then relays that to effect a computer's changes. The signals sent between nerve cells are electro-chemical in nature, and the electrical aspect could theoretically be used in this way to allow people to change things on-screen just by thinking. This is some way down the line as far as consumer wearable technology goes, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on.<\/p> Smell on the Horizon? Critically useful for triggering memories, smell is also the most important sense for determining how attracted people are to one another. But this sense is a massive challenge for iGaming and VR. Sound is akin to touch but can be replicated electronically because speakers require only a vibrating paper cone to disturb air molecules and transmit sound. Vision can, of course, be likewise replicated electronically. But smell is akin to taste, and, at first glance, seems impossible to replicate as it would require particles of a given substance to be transmitted over distance (as an aside, matter transmission on the quantum level is possible but it's in early stages and a fundamentally different technology). The Feelreal multi-sensory VR face mask is aspiring to achieve this elusive technological milestone and is supported for VR titles including fantastical RPG Skyrim and Wild Western shooter Guns' n'Stories. Scents are generated via a cartridge holding nine individual aroma capsules, enabling up to 255 scents available in-store to be produced. And the Feelreal is compatible with a variety of headsets. VR hasn't caught the imagination of the public as much as many thought it might, but the technology continues to progress. Other areas, including social advances and even direct brain interface, could also feature in the future of iGaming.