For well over a century Las Vegas has been inexorably linked to gambling, it has been the beating heart of one of the world’s oldest pastimes, but times are changing. Vegas is now passing the mantle onto another competitor, one who is better placed to take the gambling industry to new highs.
Many commentators and experts believe that the small Chinese peninsular of Macau will become the next spiritual home of gambling, but they are wrong. The spiritual home of gambling is now the internet, and it will remain so for the foreseeable future.
The great internet boom of the 1990s brought gambling to a new, bigger market and since then the industry has gone from strength to strength. Online gambling companies are now at the very forefront of technology, embracing every innovation possible to further their reach.
Let’s take a look at how the online gambling industry has pushed Vegas and Macau into the dirt through technology.
(The 1950s was the Golden Age of gambling in Las Vegas, we are now in a similar era for online gambling.)
When gambling first made its move to the internet in the 1990s it was nothing to write home about. The user interface, software, and range of games were primal by today’s standards. For gambling purists, there was nothing unique or alluring about online gambling, and it was certainly not good enough to tempt them away from land-based casinos.
It wasn’t until 2007 when Steve Jobs announced the release of the first iPhone that the online gambling industry really came into its own. From that moment on the biggest (and smallest) names in gambling set to work on developing gambling apps for their customers.
Utilizing growing 3G and 4G networks the gambling companies knew that they could extend their tentacles far and wide. Drawing in even the most remote customers, offering them the chance to gamble from wherever they wanted. Giving them the opportunity to gamble whenever they so wished.
In the United Kingdom alone online gambling accounts for just over £5 billion in revenues, with 77% of customers regularly gambling on their smartphones. The foresight of early gambling companies to invest in mobile app development has paid off in a massive way.
One of the biggest criticisms of online gambling is that it is ultimately a poor imitation of the real thing. Supporters of land-based casinos and traditionalists are often keen to describe gambling in a Monte Carlo, James Bond type of way.
Unfortunately for them, online gambling companies have invested in bridging the gap between the online and offline gambling experience. Most recognized gambling companies now offer their online customers the opportunity to gamble in a ‘live casino’.
Online giants are using warehouses with cheap rents and overheads to house their live casinos. In these establishments, real-life dealers are surrounded by ultra HD cameras that stream their every action to a host of online players.
The online customers can interact freely with their croupiers or dealers, see real spins, real shuffles, and real flops. The glamorous experience of chatting with a dealer and fellow players is now something that is not just confined to land-based casinos, it can be enjoyed from the other side of a smartphone.
(The classic James Bond-style casino experience is now available for online gamblers.)
Virtual Reality Casinos
The next step for online gambling companies is to provide their customers with virtual reality and augmented reality casinos. Tentative steps have been made by a handful of providers but as of yet, there has been nothing of real quality to come forward.
Despite that there is cause for hope in virtual reality casinos as more and more money is invested by gambling companies. The major payers in the game have piled money and resource into virtual reality, not just in the hope of mirroring its success in other fields but pioneering it before other markets.
How do online gambling companies reach customers?
As online gambling has grown in popularity so have the number of companies offering their services to customers. The market in the UK right now is incredibly saturated as it is in other areas of the world.
In order to stand out from the crowd and get themselves noticed, gambling companies are looking for new ways to gain exposure like…
Affiliate Marketing: Traditional marketing campaigns are costly and often don’t offer immediate results. They are also hard to quantify, for example, how do you know that your latest customer has been driven to your website as a result of listening to your expensively produced radio advert?
You don’t, and that’s one of the reasons that online gambling companies are looking towards affiliate marketing. A site like Bingoport is an affiliate marketers dream, it is a site that has been set-up specifically to reach online bingo players.
For the online bingo enthusiast this site has everything you could ever have wished for; latest promotions, games comparisons, customer reviews, sign up offers and so on. Eager to be heard online bingo companies pay for referrals to Bingoport who feature games from their sites or news on their latest offers.
They do this because they know that this will directly reach their target demographic – online bingo lovers. This is affiliate marketing at play and it is one of the most cost-efficient and effective methods of marketing in modern business.
The Tech Race: At the turn of the 20th century France, Germany and Great Britain were all locked in a frantic arms race. Similarly, online gambling companies are locked in a product race, but instead of rapidly investing in ships and armies they are piling their cash into new tech and products.
Gambling companies are poaching games developers from some of the biggest names in computer gaming. Specifically, so that they can come on board and help their company in providing cutting edge gambling games.
By producing the most immersive, well-designed and user-friendly games on the internet gambling companies can gain on an edge on their competitors. The saturation of online gambling has led us to this Golden Age of development where the only guaranteed benefactor at the end is the customer.
Expect more from the online gambling sector in the next decade or so as it strives to strike the final nail in the coffin of traditional, land-based gambling.