As we approach the 25th anniversary of the online casino, the industry is in better shape than ever. Already worth almost 60 billion US dollars, this value is predicted to rise to close to $100 billion within the next three years.
With such a massive and lucrative international market, it is no wonder that real money casinos tend to be some of the first to adopt various new technologies. Competition in the sector is fierce, and casino operators are quick to take advantage of any innovations that may give them an edge.
With a vast majority of casino users accessing sites via their smartphones, some of the new tech is geared towards mobile. Here are some of the new and emerging tech trends already making an impact of the online casino experience.
New Casino Personalisation via Predictive Analytics
New casino operators are in possession of ever more sophisticated data collection tools and can use the data they gather in a variety of highly specific ways. In terms of player experience it can be used to tailor the site to each individual user, creating lists of recommendations and personalised offers. Some of the best among the latest casinos in the UK already use such data modelling to predict player behaviour and to feed back to game developers.
Another way that data modelling can be utilised is in tracking and flagging potential problem gambling. Most modern online casino sites have a strong mandate to promote responsible gaming practices. Analysing patterns of play can assist in preventing unhealthy gambling habits before they take hold. Most new casino sites in the UK take full advantages of such features to provide an improved gaming experience.
AI for Customer Support
Artificial intelligence is already in use for some casino sites, primarily for live chat customer service inquiries. While many players may not like the idea of a chat bot answering their queries, in practice they can be a useful time-saving tool. Many simpler questions can be satisfied using an AI, freeing up agents to deal with more complex issues and serve more customers more quickly.
Some casinos are also trialling so-called concierge apps, which act as a personal casino assistant in the mould of Alexa or Siri. These are currently more applicable to land casinos, allowing visitors to virtually explore the resort and make reservations without the need to ask an employee.
Augmented and Virtual Reality Gaming
Much has been written about the demise of VR, and it’s true that it hasn’t taken off as swiftly as many had predicted. Nonetheless, the potential for both AR and VR in online casinos should not be written off just yet. Virtual reality casino games have already been developed, and we are just waiting for mass adoption of VR headsets before they are rolled out to a larger number of casino sites.
When it comes to AR, the limiting factor is not the hardware – any smartphone has the potential to display augmented reality on the screen. The sticking point here is how to actually apply it in a casino context. No doubt someone will have the creative breakthrough soon enough.
Cloud Gaming and 5G
The move away from apps and towards cloud gaming – playing directly through the mobile browser – has not only been driven just by technology. As app stores put more restrictions and requirements on real money casino apps, it became more costly and difficult for sites to develop them. Mobile and internet technology improved just enough for most games to be played with ease via instant play, and for the past couple of years casino apps have been on the decline.
When 5G is finally rolled out globally, the last argument for the necessity of casino app development will be gone. The improvements in speed and connectivity will not only make gameplay smoother and more reliable, but it will allow for big improvements in graphics from the game developers.
Live Casino Developments
Live online casino games have been around for a few years now, connecting players at home to a real dealer working out of a special studio. These games have proved very popular, and the number of companies providing live dealer games has proliferated. At first, they were only playable on PC, but soon live tables became available through mobile screens as well.
Some of the new technologies discussed here will be especially pertinent to live casino, in particular improvements in VR and cloud gaming. Combining the 360 degree vision of a VR headset with the setting of a live table may be a way off yet, but it is certainly achievable in theory. That would be an immersive experience like no other. 5G will be another boost for live casino, making the stream clearer, sharper and more reliable than ever before. Considering how the events of 2020 have curtailed visits to land casinos, live stream casino may well be the future.