Almost a quarter century of online casinos – what changed?
The very first online gambling venue went online in 1994 and was a ticketing service for the Liechtenstein International Lottery. A couple years later, the first online casinos made their way onto the internet and the rest, as they say, is history.
But what has changed since the very beginnings of the online casino craze and where is the industry headed? Let’s find out.
Slow internet and classic slot machines mark the beginning of an era
Early online casinos had the look and feel of a MySpace page, because that was still a thing when they came into popularity. The games selection was concentrating on classic slots and table games and marred by slow dial-up internet connections that forced users to download the whole software if they wanted any semblance of fluid gameplay.
Online casinos in the beginning, were much more for a hardcore crowd that just couldn’t get their fill in land-based casinos and it took quite some years until the technology was convenient enough to reach out to a more casual customer base.
What changed since the beginnings?
Since the early years of online casinos, there has been a plethora of new developments, both technologically and when it comes to marketing. Therefore, an online casino nowadays only has the name in common with its aging predecessors from the late 90s.
Gamification becomes more and more important
Keeping customers around and engaged has become more and more important for online casinos around the globe. And gamification elements are a big part of it. Being able to implement features that remind players of video games, such as collecting experience points and subsequently levelling up have become almost a staple in some of the most popular online casinos.
In some casinos, players can even test their mettle against other players in 1-on-1 battles, gaining points and thus rewards such as free spins or bonus money.
Keeping the whole experience in your back pocket
Another important development is the increasing popularity of mobile online casinos. While this wasn’t really an option in the beginning, since smartphones that would be able to even handle this didn’t come omnipresent until only a decade ago, more and more players nowadays prefer to gamble online on their mobiles and tablets.
The first iterations of mobile online casinos required the download of an app, but nowadays, players can simply navigate to their favourite online casino in their mobile browser and enjoy an experience that is just as smooth and rich as it would be on desktop.
The dawn of live casinos enriches the online gambling experience
One of the staples of the casino experience are table games such as blackjack, roulette, poker and baccarat. Those have always been a part of online casinos as well, but in the beginning, players had to content themselves with table games controlled by computer algorithms.
With the dawn of fast internet and streaming capabilities, came live casinos that enable players to get the full casino experience from the comfort of their homes. With market leaders such as Evolution Gaming and Playtech, players can now take part in blackjack games with real live dealers and other players, enhancing the experience to new heights.
Where are online casinos going from here?
So, where are online casinos headed now? Are gamification and mobile experiences the apex of the online casino experience? We think that there’s much more to come. From ever increasing graphic prowess to features that get more inventive and outrageous as we go, there’s much more to come.
Some online casinos are already experimenting with features such as VR casinos, so that players can immerse themselves even more in their casino experience. But that might still be only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities when it comes to the future of online casinos.
Looking at internet casinos now, it’s sometimes hard to see where it all started, but we can’t wait to see where it’s headed and what the operators come up with in the coming years.