Gambling has been taking place throughout the course of human history. Anthropologists have found evidence of gambling activities by early man in the form of prehistoric dice games. Archaeologists cite numerous relics that demonstrate that gambling existed in ancient civilizations including Greece, Rome, China, Africa, the Americas and Northern Europe.
There's probably never been a time in history when gambling has changed as dramatically as is seen in the last 20 years. The rise of the Internet has brought gambling to a new era. Bettors can now place their wagers online for games, sporting events and other gambling activities.
Technology is influencing the casino industry in many ways. Traditional land-based casinos are offering online sites where people can engage in Vegas games even though they're located elsewhere. Entire casinos have gone online while offering options for people to play on a desktop or mobile gaming device. Online casino sites offer live-streaming "Live Casinos" where players have the chance to play games online with a live dealer.
As technology offers more and more opportunities for gamblers to enjoy their hobby at any time and from any location, traditional brick-and-mortar casinos are struggling to maintain their share of the casino market.
By the late '90s bookmaking firms and land-based casinos were starting to take note of the potential that online betting offered. Betting exchanges, including Betdaq and Betfair, opened.
Online bingo and poker sites were also launching their activities online.
In 2017 2.2 billion gamers generated $108.9 billion in game revenues worldwide. This showed an increase of $7.8 billion, or 7.8%, from 2016. 87% of the global market is attributed to digital games with mobile being the most lucrative segment – in 2017 smartphone and tablet gaming grew 19% from the year before. That number represents 42% of the digital gaming market.
Forecasts for 2020 are that mobile gaming will represent more than half of the total games market.
It's clear that mobile casinos and mobile apps have changed the face of betting. Mobile gaming composes almost half of today's online betting and all online casino sites have either established a mobile presence or are in the process of doing so.
The numbers explain why. One hundred and sixty four million mobile users will visit a mobile casino site, purchase a lottery ticket via their mobile or place a bet on their mobile smartphone or tablet. It's estimated that this year the mobile gambling industry will take 40% of the total online gambling market, proving the vitality of mobile apps for the betting industry.
Some casinos have simply enabled their games for mobile or developed new mobile-enabled games. The trend, however, is for casinos to develop mobile apps to make it easier for players to open the casino site on their mobile device and play, even when Internet access is limited.
A mobile website is a site that has been scaled to display properly on different screen sizes. Some casinos simply created mobile versions of their sites so users could easily view them on their smartphone or tablet screen and navigate them with touchscreen controls. Many casinos have decided to forgo an app because the mobile-enabled website is responsive and user-friendly. .
Other casinos have created a mobile app. They want to encourage their players to download the casino's app onto the player's device so they submit the app to an app store (Google Play or the Apple app store) from where players can download it. The main advantages to the casino of having a casino app are that the casino can send out push and/or in-app notifications to reach their customer base. The app also means that the casino is available to the player offline. This gives the player the chance to play free games while located in a non-WiFi or cell data location,
Sports betting has also changed dramatically. Whereas, in the past, much of the betting was done through betting shops, today customers are less likely to enter a corner bookie. To meet that challenge the bookies are being incorporated into betting shops. The shops have created their own betting apps in addition to new touchscreen betting kiosks that combine the convenience of technology with the social aspect of a betting shop.
On-site bookmakers provide services that aren't available online. For instance, betting online is limited to card use only. That system can lead to identity theft issues or fears of overspending. In a betting shop cash is accepted so the clients know that their activities aren’t being recorded and that they can limit their spending more easily.
In addition, there's the social aspect to betting, which betting sites cannot replace. However, online casinos are adding live-streaming "live casinos" to their sites to give players a platform that combines online action with a chance to chat and interact with a real person. That may soon be a feature of online bookmakers.
The tablet kiosks at the bookmakers is another example of how betting shops are adapting technology to gamblers' expectations and the bookie's needs. Bettors find that the instore experience combines the sociability of the bookmaker with the usability of the mobile apps. With integrated devices from cash acceptors, printing tickets and scanning loyalty cards, tablet kiosks blend mobile apps with integrated devices.
Technology is also changing gaming design . Gaming design has been evolving at a steady clip for the last 40 years. The latest innovation in gaming systems involves Virtual Reality. Many of these games feature high-end 3D graphics, massive on-screen touch interactivity, realistic sound, and audio effects, super high resolution 4K pixel clarity, professional music and an all-encompassing super panoramic wide screen cinematic gaming experience. There are only a small percentage of online games on the market that have been created in virtual reality but the demand is already growing so it's clear that that trend will expand.