Modern iGaming has come on in leaps and bounds compared with the basic online poker rooms and slot games that started gaining global popularity at the start of the millennium. In fact, since then, the industry has grown exponentially in both size and value year after year.
According to recent forecasts from Statista, the total value of the online gaming market will reach $50.65 billion by the end of 2017. That’s more than 10% growth on the previous year ($45.86 billion), a truly remarkable increase in such a short space of time – and the market doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Such consistent growth within the iGaming market has attracted continual investment from established operators and new businesses alike, all of which are vying for an edge over their competitors. We’re here to run through three of the most notable innovations that are gathering pace in the world of online casinos, some of which are already well on their way to becoming the norm.
The rise of alternative payments
In the past, the primary method of transferring money to an online casino account was with a credit or debit card; these days, there’s a whole range of deposit and withdrawal methods that aim to excel in speed, security and general ease.
Bitcoin, for example, has evolved in recent years to become a legitimate online currency used by millions of people across the world. We’re starting to see more and more online casinos – such as BitCasino – that are advocating Bitcoin as their primary method of payment, largely because of the added control and security it affords both operators and gamers. If you’re keen to find out more, the BitCasino website has more information on Bitcoin payment methods.
Regular online gamers will also be familiar with big names such as Click2Pay and eWalletXpress that offer fast transaction speeds and additional levels of security and anonymity for deposits and withdrawals. There have never been more options.
The merge of online and offline gaming
Online and land-based casinos are often considered as two completely separate beasts, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that these two distinct forms of gaming are gradually starting to merge.
A prime example is that more and more online casinos are starting to offer interactive poker channels that allow players to log into their account, watch a live webcast or video feed from a real poker table and join in the action. It’s an interesting concept that may well prolong the lifespan on many physical casinos.
Of course, it’s still likely that online casinos will outgrow their land-based counterparts, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the demand for physical casinos will die out completely in the near future, particularly if they can integrate elements of digital gaming to their advantage.
The next wave of virtual reality systems (VR)
With the next batch of state-of-the-art headsets firmly fixed on the horizon – namely, the HTC Vive 2 – developers are continuing to speculate about the rate at which VR technology could start to revolutionise all forms of gaming.
The iGaming industry is particularly excited about how this new technology may enable a more immersive online casino experience than ever before. There are already a handful of popular poker rooms and slots applications that are putting virtual reality systems to use, enabling players to interact with one another using their own personal avatar and soak up the atmosphere of a real casino from the comfort of their living room sofa. One prominent iGaming developer, Microgaming, also unveiled its VR Roulette to the public during 2016’s ICE Totally Gaming 2016.
One thing’s for sure: the true potential of VR in iGaming will continue to take shape in the next few years, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the market branch out into other forms of casino gaming beyond poker very soon.