Casinos have a long and interesting history, stretching back as far as dice rolling in 100 A.D. right through to the online live-streaming games we see today. There is no doubt that technology has had a huge impact on the development of the industry, bringing us touch-screen betting kiosks and mobile gaming that players can tap into from almost anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection. Fortunately for players, the nature of casino gaming lends itself well to online adaptation and improvement.
Poker and bingo, for instance, are perfectly suited to online replication, which has only increased their popularity and appeal over the years and led to their status as a mainstream leisure pursuit. Gone are the days of waiting for a convenient time to visit the casino or fitting a weekly visit to the bingo hall into your schedule.
But it wasn’t always like this.
This modern-day digital revolution of the casino industry mirrors the technological advances of the 20th century when casino innovators and inventors Charles Fey and Herbert Mills developed the first-known slot machines. These machines resulted in the glitzy casinos that we see around the world today and set the standard for the gaming experience. People flocked to their nearest gaming establishments for the atmosphere, thrills and opportunity to forget about the outside world for a short while. Slot machines became a staple attraction for most casinos and helped to shape the face of gaming as we know it today.
As technology developed, casino operators realized the potential to expand their empires and create a whole new experience for their punters. The unprecedented rise of the internet and introduction of RNGs (random number generators) in the 1990s meant that players could learn the intricacies of the game online before heading to a traditional casino to try out their new skills. RNGs also meant that players could not count cards as effectively because each round started with a fresh deck of 52 cards. It was essential for casinos to gain the trust of their new online customers so they heavily invested in the development of security and the integrity of their sites.
While the internet presented a whole new world of gaming, it was the introduction of the smartphone that really pushed casinos into the mainstream. Revenue generated by mobile casinos on the iOS operating system increased by a whopping 55% between November 2013 and November 2014, indicating that the trends for mobile gaming were here to stay. Casinos were quick to notice this potential gold mine and now almost all gaming companies offer at least one mobile-friendly alternative for digital players. Now it is possible to stream live dealers and interact with real players on your mobile from the comfort of your own home.
It’s unlikely to stop there, however. The invention of cryptocurrencies in 2009 has led to many casinos installing their own bitcoin gaming machines and accepting bitcoin payments online. There are now dedicated bitcoin gaming sites that already hold nearly 5% of the total online casino market and are aiming to take the online experience to a whole new level.
The progress of poker robots and artificial intelligence is also set to revolutionize the industry. Since the first poker bot was developed in 2013, technology has developed to such a degree that the Libratus software recently won more than $1.7 million in chips from professional human players. This is a significant achievement for technology, whereas AI could previously beat humans at chess, now technology made playing poker a whole different ball game due to the decision-making that happens using imperfect information.
Virtual reality is also likely to take online gaming up a notch. By affording players the ability to read body language and interpret the meanings behind certain moves, virtual reality means that bringing the atmosphere and thrills of the traditional casino to the comfort of your living room is easier than ever.
Who knows where the next technological advancement will take the online casino industry? One thing is for sure, though, the only way is up for the partnership between technology and casino games. And it’ll likely be fun, too.