In Antiquity, the dice game was popular. Then the Chinese invented playing cards, which, in the Middle Ages, would completely change social life in Italy and from there across Europe.
Although it is said that change is never easy when it comes to the gambling industry, innovation is taking place at an accelerated pace. The technological advances of recent years have opened the way for a whole universe of online gambling that attracts players of all ages and social positions, with only one condition: having access to the internet and to a device through which to play. And this is, in the opinion of specialists, the future of our industry.
Experts call it “the explosion of mobile connectivity” and say that more than 80% of adults have at least one smartphone and, moreover, they remain connected to the online environment permanently. Moreover, whether they are on break at work, relaxing on the couch or on holiday, away from home, they have access to their favorite form of entertainment through gambling sites that are at one click distance. And operators are doing their best to facilitate instant access.
Along with the wi-fi, which can be found currently, in almost all public spaces, a free service, the speed of the internet also increases, which, for the players, translates into a superior game experience compared to the previous years. In this context, developers have nothing to do but invest in innovation, in gambling offers that run on mobile apps to attract players through the most revolutionary ideas.
That’s exactly what we see happening at this point, all the more so since recently, Google announced that by the end of this year it will give green light for mobile gambling applications to be downloaded through Google Play, in certain countries in Europe, and in the near future the number of countries will increase. The news is likely to appeal to all operators and service providers in the field, as more than 60% of smart devices on the market operate on Android.
“The transition to the online environment is not a novelty for the gambling industry. It is a natural consequence of technological progress. What can surprise is the pace with which this transition takes place. Although, if we look around ourselves, including in the smallest details of everyday life, we will see that almost everything revolves around phones, tablets and computers. Given these conditions, the door to online gambling is wide open and not taking advantage of this opportunity is a decision not at all inspired for the future of any operator’s business. Whether we want it or not, we are fast moving towards the digitization of the industry”, said Mr. Dan Alexandru Ghită, President of the Association of Gambling Organizers ROMBET.
In the context of a more pronounced transition towards the online environment, the generation of millennials is first targeted by application developers and game developers, especially in terms of Virtual Reality (VR). The introduction of this technology, which effectively transforms the surrounding reality by replicating a casino or other gaming space in the digital environment, is a niche that will further boost the development of online gambling.
Although it still has the disadvantage of being a technology which is a little bit inaccessible due to costs, the VR will soon become one of the main attractions of online gambling, a Juniper study announcing that the VR industry will reach 50 Billions of dollars, by 2021. How much the VR will contribute to the expected growth for the sector in the coming years remains to be seen. It is certain that the growth rate expected by experts is impressive, with recent figures in the UK highlighting the share of online industry in the total business of the field: in 2015, the gambling industry was worth 12.6 billion euros, with an increase of 11.6% compared to 2014. The revenue generated by online gambling accounts for 29% of the total, so the online market already accounts for almost one-third of the total.
Already, at this point, we can see how so many operators offer mobile casino games or sports bets directly on the phone or tablet. This is possible because mobile devices are always near us. Practical, portable, they are no longer used only to communicate with those next to us, but they have become a source of entertainment, either through access to social media or through access to sports games and bets. In addition, the offer is practically unlimited and extremely varied. Mobile apps are different from gambling sites.
Although similar, the two environments have their own features and benefits that attract players who prefer virtual options, and we do not only refer to the generation of millennials, but to all those who come after them, for whom technology is not only indispensable but also very accessible.
The transition to moving operations into the online environment also comes with changes in the Responsible Gambling and sustainability of the domain.
Application development, their management, and profile sites also involve creating new IT jobs, developing new software and investing in cyber security. For example, the UK estimates that from the value of 553.6 million, which was the value of wages in the online gambling market in 2016, by 2021, the amounts will increase considerably, reaching 946 million.
By excluding personal control, applied in land-based casinos, where staff in the venues plays an important role in identifying players with problems, developers are forced to create other control thresholds that will limit access for players at risk, who are more likely to step over the threshold to addiction.
In this process, an important role will be played by AI (Artificial Intelligence) programs which have the advantage of being able to analyze vast databases and can quickly learn how to identify and apply key criteria in identifying players and pulling alarm signals, before the addiction becomes a problem. The creation of such extensive databases will provide operators – which are currently expected constant measures of corporate social responsibility and RG from – detailed information in the creation and implementation of highly performing Responsible Gambling strategies. The ultimate goal of all those working in the field is, of course, to eliminate the risk of addiction so that industry becomes what it is meant to be: a source of entertainment and fun for those who choose to spend time at the game table, either In a land-based location or in a VR solution of a mobile application.
“The gambling industry is among the first fields to benefit from this fast-paced progress of the information technology. New technologies are the ones that help us to offer gaming experiences that were unimaginable, about 5 to 10 years ago.
We have access to such a vast database and it must be used with good judgment, “Rombet Executive Director Bogdan Coman said that” Recently, the UK Gambling Commission has announced that since 2008 to date, the number of players aged between 18-34 years of age has increased as a share of the total number of gamblers, from 10% to 18%. We are talking about the younger generation so it is expected to see them more often turning on their tablets or mobile phones than going to the casino or betting agencies. We need to use innovation for them and we need to educate them and teach them how to play for fun and relaxation, not for gain. “
The analysis of the above-mentioned data not only shows that more and more players prefer digital options but also that developers and operators will have to develop omni-channel strategies to stay in the top of their choices. There is much talk about them, especially among the big names of the industry, but what do they really mean? The generation of technological innovation is at the same time one of speed. Players are always “on the go”, all the time on the move. So they also need the mobility of the game options. If they start a poker game at home, on the computer, they will want to continue on the tablet or on their way to work.
And this is the role of omni-channel: it gives the player the ability to switch between devices according to his wishes and needs. And operators who will invest in such strategic innovations are the ones who will attract the greatest number of players and, more importantly, will make them loyal because they will show them that they listen to them carefully and find solutions to their expectations in terms of gambling.
“However, these estimates do not mention a 100% migration to online, to be clear about this. Land-based casinos will continue to exist because there will always be players who will prefer direct, real, personal gambling experience. But the digital environment is gaining ground and perhaps soon, priority also. Now is the time to turn our attention to this direction of the development of our industry, because there is currently the most effervescent activity. We need to prepare for it with legislation that covers all key points, with operators who understand what their customers want and are permanently willing to reinvent themselves for them. Another very important role is played by well-prepared associations with a strong voice, which constitute the bridge between legislators, operators and players. Whether we are talking about Responsible Gambling, whether we are talking about the right drafting and application of the law, the image we start from must be that of a complex, online and land based industry, always synchronized with the innovation and the expectations of its players”, concluded Mr. Dan Alexandru Ghiță, President of Rombet.