Ten years ago, the online casino industry was an economic small fry with no guarantees of lasting for another 12 months, never mind a decade.
Fortunately for lovers of online slot machines and roulette tables, the industry got itself together and dramatically transformed its fortunes over the 2010s.
The industry embraced change and put itself at the forefront of technological advancement to become a must for all gambling lovers.
Now that everyone is accustomed to using an app to place bets and chatting with their friends at a live casino, what else can the online gambling industry do to remain relevant and stay ahead of the curve? Read on to find out.
How popular are online casinos?
In the United States, Asia and other regions online casino gambling is growing at a phenomenal rate in the wake of recent moves towards legalisation. If we want to get the full picture however, on the popularity of online casino gambling we have to cast our eyes to the UK.
All forms of online gambling in the country have been legal since the passing of ‘The Gambling Act 2005’. This means that the country has a wealth of data to show how the remote sector has gone from strength to strength over the past 16 years.
In 2006, a report by the Gambling Commission in the UK recorded the total gross gambling yield (GGY) as £9.8 billion. The majority of this was made up from contributions from the National Lottery with a reported 10% coming from the online sector.
In the most recent report, the total GGY in the UK was just under £15 billion and a third of that (£5 billion) came from the online sector. Over £3 billion of that figure came from online casinos, with slots accounting for the majority of revenues.
In terms of players, the numbers are equally encouraging in the UK. In a study commissioned last year, it was found that there were 33.6 million active online gambling accounts in the country.
Out of an adult population of 53 million, that is a truly huge number that emphatically highlights the popularity of the online casino industry.
This trend is not just confined to the UK either, it is just that the UK has the most accessible and illustrative online gambling statistics of any country. In the USA, where online gambling is slowly becoming legalised on a state-by-state basis, the trend is the same.
(With each passing year more and more US states are legalising online gambling.)
What next for online casinos?
We could dedicate 5 more articles to the reasons behind the rise of online casinos, but essentially all you need to know is that they have grown in popularity by consistently being ahead of the curve in terms of trends and technology.
Top providers in the UK and further afield went big with investment in mobile technology and then live streaming casino tech. There has also been a huge amount of money spent on user interfaces and adapting the feel and appeal of online casinos to a younger audience.
Now though, the heat is on for the industry’s biggest names to continue innovating and continue growing. The market is becoming increasingly saturated, and to stave off the competition, savvy providers must find new ways to appeal to potential customers, which is where esports come in…
Why would online casinos incorporate esports?
Professional competitive gaming has exploded in popularity in the last 5 years and that has not gone unnoticed by the online gambling industry.
On the face of it, you might wonder what playing with an online casino and professional Call of Duty have in common. If you dig down a little deeper though, you begin to understand that both plenty in common.
Fans of esports are not only the right age profile for online casinos, but they are also well accustomed to using gaming software and enjoy the competitive nature of gaming, which makes them the ideal candidates to enjoy things like online blackjack and poker.
Esports like FIFA are also perfect for online casinos as they could be perfectly incorporated onto their online platforms and be bet upon just like real-life sporting events are in land-based casinos.
Finally, by branching out into the world of esports, online casino giants are ensuring that they remain relevant to younger generations – something which their land-based counterparts have been criticised for not doing.
How would online casinos incorporate esports?
The first and most obvious way that online casinos can incorporate esports is by striking deals to stream and broadcast top gaming encounters.
In doing this they would be able to start lucrative betting markets on the outcomes of things like the Fortnite World Cup and the League of Legends World Championship.
Another more subtle way that the online gambling industry could look to incorporate esports into their offering is by mimicking their gaming counterparts or incorporating the theme to their online slot machine offering.
Online casinos could begin live streaming tournament poker play, blackjack games or roulette tables on their own Twitch channels, closely following the playbook of esports tournaments to attract younger gaming fans.
The online casino industry is growing worldwide and not just in countries like the UK and the USA. That shouldn’t be cause for online gambling companies to rest on their laurels now, in fact, now is the time to innovate and look to the future.
In esports the online casino industry has a lucrative expansion opportunity. Whichever way the industry chooses to expand into esports, it will be interesting to watch from the outside as lovers of both online betting and online gaming.