IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Gaming Technology is taking the UK Online Gambling Industry by Storm

30 July, 2020

The gambling industry in Great Britain reached an annual gross yield of £14.3 billion across all mediums in the year to the end of September 2019, or £10.5 billion if lotteries are excluded. Online gambling is by far the largest sector, comprising 38.6% of total gambling revenue in the UK.

Casino table games and online slots made up a large part of this, with slots attracting almost 70% of the total online gambling industry yield, but numbers are also increasing for bettors in the online sports betting and online bingo sub-sectors. There are several reasons that contribute to the growing popularity of online gambling, one of which is the rapid introduction of new technologies that are constantly updating and improving the customer experience.

Mobile Gambling and the Internet of Things

One of the biggest drivers of growth in the online gambling industry in recent years has been the advent of mobile gambling. Research from Ofcom shared with the Gambling Commission found that 44% of people who gamble had done so online within the four weeks prior to the survey. Convenience and accessibility were cited as key factors in the popularity of mobile gambling, with many people feeling more comfortable being able to participate via their smartphones or other devices rather than having to visit brick and mortar venues. The Internet of Things is now creating new opportunities for online casinos and other gambling organisations to connect with their consumer base on a more personal level. The technology now exists to allow online gambling enterprises to collect huge amounts of data from their users when they choose to play on their smartphones. This ranges from which games they enjoy the most to information such as facial expressions, heart rate and other factors that companies can analyse to determine the emotional reactions players experience when engaged in games.

Payment Options and Security

Another factor that is bringing more people to the online gambling industry is increased choice and security when it comes to payment systems. Today’s online gambling consumers are offered a vast array of payment options, ranging from simply using their regular credit or debit card to a variety of eWallets including PayPal, Skrill and Neteller, paying through their monthly phone bill or even using cryptocurrencies. Almost all the available options provide a fast and efficient service for making deposits into an online account, with high-level data security to protect customers from potential fraud even when paying via mobile.

Variety and Convenience

Convenience is a big factor in why people choose to gamble online rather than in physical venues, offering the option to enjoy time spent playing games or place a key bet from virtually anywhere and at any time of day or night. The variety of games on offer has also ballooned enormously in recent years, with many casino sites offering a choice of hundreds, if not thousands, of variations on popular games such as slots, roulette, blackjack and poker.

Bonuses and Promotions

To help draw in new customers and keep current customers returning, most online gambling websites offer welcome bonuses and ongoing promotions, making signing up or playing regularly more financially attractive. These vary dramatically from site to site, so most people spend some time shopping around to find the best deal for them before signing up.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality allow online casinos and other gambling companies to recreate the feeling of being in a live venue for players at home. These technologies help players experience the real sounds and images they would expect when visiting a casino, but without having to leave their own homes. This combines the buzz of being submerged in a fast-paced gambling environment with the convenience of mobile and online gambling services. Players often also have the option of creating bespoke avatars that look just like them, deepening the feeling of being in the casino and in the moment. While VR and AR technology is not currently widespread in the online gambling industry, adoption could easily become commonplace within the next few years.

Virtual reality makes content feel more immersive and provides a full sensory experience.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence can add multiple layers to the online gambling experience. Technologies such as facial recognition and voice recognition have the ability to facilitate personalised interactions and customise games to suit the individual player. For example, 3D scanning technology for facial recognition has reached the point where machines can observe and identify a vast array of human facial expressions. Analysis of these expressions could allow the machine to dial the difficulty level of a game up or down, depending on the player’s reactions. Voice recognition technology is being introduced to certain games, allowing players to control the action by speaking commands rather than using a controller, keyboard or mouse.

Cutting-Edge Graphics

The graphics that online gamers and gamblers see today have come a long way from the early days of online gaming. Cutting-edge, high-definition graphics can make it seem as if players are inside the game, even without the addition of VR or AR technology. Televisions and laptops with 4K capabilities are still relatively expensive, but prices have already begun to start dropping as the technology becomes more widely available.

Online gambling is already a highly popular form of entertainment. As current technologies advance and new technologies enter the market, the experience is only going to become more immersive and appeal to a wider audience. If and when online casinos begin offering the latest VR and AR technologies, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to improve the gaming experience, it stands to reason more people will want to experiment.

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