Today, playing online casino games or engaging in other forms of betting is easy. You just need to download an app or visit a website, sign up, deposit, and start making your wagers. This simplicity can make it easy to forget that just a couple of decades ago, things were very different.
Before the late 1990s, if you wanted to play a game of blackjack or roulette, you had to travel to a brick and mortar casino. For some, this meant a short drive down the road, but for others it could mean a journey to the other end of the country or even abroad.
The iGaming industry changed that by disrupting casino gaming, poker, and sports betting in a similar way that ecommerce sites like Amazon completely changed the way we buy products forever.
In the early days of the internet, it wasn’t permitted to use websites for commercial purposes. It also wasn’t practical since encrypted protocols like HTTPS hadn’t been created yet.
In 1994, things began to change. Netscape Navigator (a popular web browser at the time) introduced security standards that made it safe to make credit and debit card transactions online.
Towards the end of the year, an important step was made in the creation of the iGaming industry. The country of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act in December, making it possible for companies registered within its shores to operate online casinos around the world.
The following year, Microsoft launched Windows 95 and consumers began scrambling to buy computers and get connected to the internet.
Over the coming years, iGaming companies began to develop their offerings. This saw them introduce new games, improve their graphics, add features, and make their software more user-friendly.
The next big leap forward took place in the late 2000s and early 2010s when the rush among consumers to get smartphones mirrored what had happened with computers a decade earlier.
iGaming companies quickly saw the opportunity that this presented and began developing apps that allows their players to enjoy their games on the go.
Today, just about every iGaming brand has one, or several, apps for its customers to use on the go. So while offering a mobile experience isn’t a unique selling point, companies can, and do, compete on providing the best quality app.
Throughout its history, the industry has always looked to innovate, providing new features, games, and ways to play. Today is no different, iGaming companies continue to enhance their online casino offering by developing new ways for their customers to play. In more recent years, the biggest advancement has been the live dealer game, which creates the most immersive online casino experience currently available by displaying a live video feed of a human dealer who interacts with the players and controls the game instead of this being done by a computer.
Many have also created their own exclusive games like Big Blue Bounty and Blazing Bandito as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. Other recent innovations include the daily and progressive jackpots that help to add new dynamics to casino games.
The Future of the iGaming Industry
With more than two decades of experience in embracing new technologies to provide new ways for their customers to play traditional casino games, it is safe to say that this culture of innovation is baked into the core of the iGaming industry.
We can, therefore, expect iGaming companies to continue to be at the forefront of new technological developments, adopting new ideas and experimenting with them.
We’ve seen this recently with some companies launching virtual reality versions of some of their games. These allow players to move their head around and feel like they’re in a real casino, look at other players and the dealer, and down at their cards.
It’s unclear whether VR technology is going to be embraced by mainstream consumers, or whether it will remain a niche product. Regardless, the fact that iGaming companies have been so quick to embrace it demonstrates their commitment to innovation and willingness to try new things.