Since its beginnings in 1990’s, the online casino industry has been developing progressively. In less than 3 decades, along with the development of the internet, so many things have changed that it feels like the whole new industry has emerged. This year, online casinos are expected to generate around 50,5 billions of dollars. Even more, profit from casinos in 2018 is expected to jump to unbelievable 56,5 billions of dollars! That’s a lot of money! We can only imagine how the future of online gambling industry will look alike.
So, how did everything started? When did first online casino start operating?
Let’s travel back in time to the year 1994! At that time, the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act (FTPZA) was passed in Antigua and Barbuda (Caribbean island). This particular Act allowed providing licenses to online operators who wanted to start operating online casinos. Of course, along with this Act, Antigua and Barbuda became No.1 casino industry licensing jurisdiction. With the development of the internet in following years, online games made their way into the homes of hundreds, and soon, millions of online players. The second most important thing that led to developing of online casinos has also happened in 1994 – Microgaming; one of the biggest and (even Today) most trustworthy online game provider has been established and provided very first and fully functional online casino – The Gaming Club.
Cryptologic soon followed this route in 1995 and started adding online monetary transaction processing to their portfolio. The same year, Internet Casinos, Inc., or ICI(owned by Cryptologic), established their first online casino. They operated out of Turks and Caicos and offered access to the National Indian Lottery along with the 18 different casino games. Regardless of who exactly came first, Microgaming and Cryptologic both played key roles in the development of the technology required to power the games and the financial processors needed to process money transactions.
The next year, in 1996, several new online casinos were launched (The Gaming Club and Intertops Casino, or Intercasino). Intercasino brought reliability and fast cashouts, but they also started new brand – first online Sportsbook. In the same year, Microgaming sold their existing casinos and turn their focus on developing online games, while Cryptologic developed the eCash payment system. The Interactive Gaming & Communications Corp. (SBET) has opened second online Sportsbook and started offering toll-free telephone calls to Antigua via satellite.
In 1998, Microgaming left online casino industry stunned when they launched Cash Splash, the first online progressive jackpot. In the same year, Senator Jon Kyl introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which made it illegal for any company to offer an online gambling product to U.S. citizens, but it failed to pass, along with the 1999 revised version of the Act.
The first review and report on casino payout percentage was available in 1999 and company responsible for it was Microgaming. By the end of the millennium, there were over 700 active online casinos accepting play for real cash.
With the beginning of new millennium, the online casino industry faced serious challenges when laws restricting wagering online made it difficult for people to use their money for gambling. On October 13th 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006 (UIGEA) has been passed by the US Senate, forbidding financial institutions to transfer funds to online casinos in the US. That particular Act marked the beginning of the fall of US online casino industry in 2007. Neteller abandoned US market while Microgaming did the exact thing in 2008. Two known companies continued doing business in the USA – RTG (Real Time Gaming) & Vegas Technology.
Those familiar with the online casinos today would probably be disappointed with the offer back in the 90s. The range of available games was fairly limited and the software was nowhere near as functional as in modern online casinos. As more and more companies started to get involved, the market became competitive very quickly, with many operators trying to dominate the market. Many of operators came up with various schemes in order to attract more customers than their competitors. One of those methods is still used to this day – welcome bonuses. Due to the heavy competition amongst online casinos, the quality of the games and software quickly started increasing. More and more features were being added to the slots, and soon online casinos went berserk. Things like multiplayer games, themed slot machines, and progressive jackpots were introduced, which made online casinos even more fun and interesting to play.
So, what can we expect in the future of online gambling, and especially in the future of online casinos 2018 and beyond? If we learn from the past, we can see the trend of developing more advanced casino games, that could possibly combine with virtual reality, and who knows, maybe even with holograms. On the other side, payment options are getting more and more oriented to the internet (cryptocurrencies like BitCoin, Breakout Chain, …) and best casinos 2018 are implementing faster and faster withdrawals. The online casino market still has unlimited room to grow, but must stay relevant and modern to be successful. Advertising campaigns will become more “smarter” and more frequent and there is also no doubt that the use of social media will be exploited in promoting top online casinos in 2018 and in the future.
There are so many things that we can expect in the future of online casino industry, but three most important aspects, that will definitely be different than these days, are:
- Mobility and accessibility
- Casino games selection & features
- Payments & Banking options in 2018
With the development of technology and the internet itself, there is no doubt that future of online casinos in 2018 will be focused on mobile devices. Since 2007 and first “smartphone”, online casino software providers saw the enormous potential this market could bring. That’s why few of them changed their focus to developing online games available for mobile devices.
Even though that first gambling game (Pub Fruity) for mobile devices has been created and published by a gaming company called IOMO in 2001 and has been running on Java, it couldn’t be played for real money. The real turning point in creating mobile-friendly online casino games was in 2007/2008 when both iPhone and Android smartphones were developed and allowed their users to download casino games on their devices. The smartphone market and both app stores exploded. Smartphones became handheld computers; hundreds of new games were added every day (Bingo and Multi-hand Blackjack were most popular ones). Real money mobile casinos were following the trend and started releasing casino games more frequently. These games incorporated secure payment methods and enabled players to bet with real money.
As software became better, so did the mobile Internet technology. With launching 3G network in 2003, players could enjoy their favorite slots wherever they had access to the internet. Today, we enjoy full-color, HD quality, feature-heavy games on our fancy-schmancy smartphones.
Online casino 2018 software developers will for sure get more focused on creating casino games for mobile devices. With the enormous growth of mobile users and development of mobile devices, there is no doubt that mobile casinos will prevail in the future. Recent forecasts have highlighted that mobile gambling is set to account for 40% of all online gambling in the upcoming 3 years. If you think about it, it seems logical. Players could access their favorite online casino from everywhere, at any time and on every device.
Casino Games Selection & Features
The second most noticeable development which we can expect in 2018 and beyond will for sure be the development of casino games and especially - features. We can already see that casino games are getting more and more complex both in design and gameplay. 2018 Casinos could give us, at least, a glimpse of the future of casino games. With the advancement in technology, we should also see games that need a lot more player interaction. Graphics have already become advanced and they will continue to get ever more so. The animations of the future slot machines should get closer to video games animation that we already enjoy. It is also possible that the cartoonish avatars present today will be replaced by lifelike 3-D personas. Also, the players will get a lot more options in terms of control over the screen and we can also expect voice control for all of our actions. It is just amazing even to think what possibilities there are and how much will online games look like in near future!
It has already been debated that soon we could be able to play online casino games in virtual reality. VR portals come with major benefits to the online casino industry especially in relation to customer experience and marketing opportunities. The possibilities VR could bring to online gaming have no end. Just try to imagine – you could play your favorite casino 2018 games from a more exciting location such as a luxurious casino without having to leave home. Combine that with voice or movement controls and future looks just amazing!
Payments & Banking Options in 2018
The third most likely part of online casinos industry that will experience rapid grow and change are payment and banking options. Most casinos operate and are allowed in numerous countries, so the regions from which players come are diverse regarding currency used. Today’s standard payment options include credit cards, debit cards, or e-wallets. But more and more online casinos have started to provide a different type of currencies to their players. Most known of them is BitCoin.
There are many advantages for players using Bitcoin currency in 2018, such as:
- No currency conversion is required
- Useful source of payments on a global scale
- Anonymity – No footprint left behind
- Resistant against theft
The future implementation of BitCoin and similar cryptocurrencies could bring many of advantages to the online casino industry. One more thing all players should be happy for is that with the implementation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, their withdrawals will become instant with no unnecessary delays!
The future of online casino industry looks bright and we all are anxious to see what it will bring to us!