Gambling is one of mankind’s favorite pastimes – it can be traced back to the Paleolithic period, before written history. Games involving rolling dice have existed for thousands of years. Rolling a pair of sixes was called “throwing the Aphrodite” in ancient Greece! The Chinese lottery game Keno is believed to have originated during the Han Dynasty, around 3,000 years ago – some say it even funded the building of the Great Wall of China.
How technology fuels online casinos
Gambling may be just as popular today as it was throughout history, but casinos have had to keep up with modern technology. Like many industries, the introduction of online gambling had a major impact on land-based casinos. Casino revenue in the city of Las Vegas, once known as the “Gambling Capital of the World”, has been steadily declining for several years.
The attraction of online gambling is primarily convenience and generous registration bonuses. Swedish-based CasumoBonus.se, for example, offers newcomers winning bonuses up to SEK 20,000 (around $2,200 USD) and 20 free spins. Many other online casinos have similar bonus packages for new registrants.
Online casinos also have the advantage of exploring technology, and new ways to deliver content. Sometimes this approach is highly experimental and doesn’t always work out in the end. For example, the now defunct website PKR utilized highly advanced 3D technology to deliver realistic graphics. You could create an online avatar that looked almost exactly like you. While highly praised for their incredible technology, PKR actually went out of business for the very same reason. It was speculated that online gamblers are more interested in rapid games and playing as many tables as possible, instead of ultra-realistic graphics.
Many online casinos learned from this, and offer the ability to play multiple tables at the same time. Some professional online gamblers are known to play up to 20 tables simultaneously. Thus, many popular poker websites and smartphone casino apps have added multi-window interfaces, so that a player can view all of their current tables in one big window.
Experimental technology and IAPs in online casinos
Other online companies are experimenting with the social aspect of online gambling. Four Kings Casino! Is a 3D MMO (massively multiplayer online) casino game, where you create a character and can walk around a casino, taking part in many different games, while socializing with other players.
There is also VR technology being explored. Numerous virtual reality casinos have sprung up, which require the use of a virtual reality headset. Players are able to view the games as if they’re actually sitting at a Blackjack table, and make hand-gestures to simulate dealing out cards.
Some companies have even figured out a way to make money from online “casinos”, without giving any cashouts! This is usually done through IAPs (in-app purchases). These apps are known as “simulated gambling” – no real money is actually involved, except that players are able to purchase more “chips” for playing with. If a player runs out of chips, they can immediately purchase more through the app, or there is a waiting period to receive more free chips from the app.
One of the criticisms of “simulated gambling” apps is how many players take an unrealistic approach to betting. When you play Poker with real money, you tend to bet much more strategically and conservatively. Nobody wants to lose 3 months of rent money trying to “bluff” with a bad hand.
Yet in many simulated gambling apps, such as Zynga Poker, you will see many players doing silly things like going “all in” with their chips on bad hands. It works in the companies favor, however, as players spend real money for more fake chips.
How land-based casinos embrace technology
Not to be outdone, land-based casinos have also been trying to keep up with technology. Many land-based casinos have introduced “live casino” sections on their website, where online players are served by real dealers over streaming video. This adds a human element that many online gamblers have long wished for, which previously was only found in visiting a real casino.
Another example of land-based casinos embracing technology is found in Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City. They recently developed a technology that allows online players to compete with players who are actually on the casino floor. Initial experiments are being performed with roulette, yet they may branch out to other casino games.
At the end of the day, online casinos have the technological edge, but as land-based casinos continue to embrace technology, they certainly aren’t going to disappear.