The roots of online gambling stretch back to the mid-1990s, but it wasn’t until the ubiquity of smartphones that the industry exploded, and iGaming and online sports betting are now multi-billion dollar global industries. While both betting and casino games have attracted vast new demographics, including those who may never have set foot in brick-and-mortar bookies or casinos, consumers now have higher expectations of their online gaming experiences than ever.
Luckily, iGaming and sports betting operators have a somewhat symbiotic relationship with mobile game developers, and their use of emerging technologies is boosting the engagement of the industry with an increasingly demanding public.
Mobile tech has developed so rapidly that we now carry in our pockets devices more powerful than many PCs. Touchscreen technology has meant that mobile overall has become a legitimate platform in the world of video gaming, and we’ve seen many console classics make a successful transition to the smaller screen, as well as mobile-first games that have brought in a vast demographic of new gamers. These intuitive trends have been adopted successfully in the worlds of online casinos and sports betting.
Slot machines are a great example of the development of online casino games — the simple premise gives a base for innovative graphics and more immersive gameplay. One look at titles such as the Ancient Egyptian-themed Eye of Horus slot, or the fantasy-based Age of the Gods series give an indication of the kind of cutting-edge titles available to players.
Likewise, sports betting apps are increasingly using 3D graphics to enhance their user experience — in-game betting options and live odds are two examples where a more intuitive interface is broadening the player demographic.
AI in Sports Betting and iGaming
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made a huge impact across all industry sectors in the last few years, and online gambling is making use of the technology in a variety of ways. Bookmakers can use advanced algorithms to process vast amounts of data to set more accurate odds, as well as assess player and team performance, injury probabilities, and other factors that may affect the outcome of matches, races, and other events. AI can also monitor events in real-time, providing a more accurate level of in-game betting options which are widespread on sports betting apps.
Both online casinos and online bookmakers benefit from AI as a customer service tool. When a company is handling financial details and other sensitive data, it’s important to have round-the-clock access to assistance, and the advanced capabilities of chatbots can help customers with most queries, or direct them to human assistants. This adds a level of efficiency for both players and operators (as well as cutting costs).
Other Emerging Tech
Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are gradually being implemented into the world of iGaming. The watchword across the entire video gaming industry is ‘immersion’, and VR offers total immersion, and is already being used in some online casinos, providing a fully interactive environment. AR can add more interactive elements to casino games, and has potential in the sports betting industry as well — punters could use their apps at live sporting events to see in-game odds, for example.
But both AR and VR face challenges in the form of cost and accessibility, as for the full experience headsets or smart glasses are optimal. While this hardware is becoming ever more affordable, part of the popularity of online gambling is the ability to use solely a mobile device to enjoy the games and events.
Both sports betting and online casinos are at the forefront of game development. As more tools become available to developers, and phones and tablets become increasingly powerful, expect the online gambling experience to become more intuitive, advanced, and immersive.