While the competition between casino sites has been fierce since the beginning, attracting customers has never been an obstacle for growth – at least looking at it from the outside. As soon as legislation started opening up for casino operators across borders, the floodgates opened, and the industry has been growing every year.
It seemed that even if a casino site looked decidedly dodgy (even for the early years), it still had customers aplenty. Today, players are a lot more discerning, luckily, but access is still the most important keyword for a casino site’s success, and the driving force behind a lot of innovative technology.
For today’s younger player base, millennials and younger, access means a lot more than just being able to play online. When other tech services are lightning fast, new casino sites better keep up. And if it takes more than a few clicks to register, players give up and go somewhere else. How does the casino industry deal with this tech-savvy player?
Mobile, UX and Responsive Design
In the last few years we have seen the rise of the user experience designer as top dog in any website development team. At least for beating out the competition in a world where most sites are getting prosaically streamlined. Being able to play at a casino where all games work flawlessly on all types of screens is more important than any bonus or exclusivity.
At least for younger players, that is. Mobile gaming is where the casino industry has seen the most growth recently, and functional websites for this medium are heavier on the UX than the graphics.
A look through the most popular new casino sites today show that the difference between amounts of games, bonuses, perks, etc., is small. But the difference between mobile functionality is huge.
Payments and Registrations
Paying for goods and services online has its standard with companies like Amazon and iTunes. Set up your payment info and purchases are one click away. On a casino site, players might find that there are delays for both payments and registrations. Any search for user reviews of casinos will have plenty of comments regarding this. Thankfully, it’s getting faster.
One of the biggest improvements is allowing casino sites to access customer background checks and related services through databases that are cloud hosted instead of local on-site servers for different countries. The advantage of decentralised cloud hosting means, in this case, a reduction of up to a few minutes in retrieving and processing registration data.
While it’s completely invisible to the players themselves, this change in how data is processed is one of the most technologically innovative ways internet business is handled. It’s also the reason why payments are getting faster for casinos as well, but there are other factors involved in that.
Payments at a casino site is as fast as anyone could expect for deposits. Withdrawing to a bank is where the big hiccup is now. New innovations that handle transactions between online services and banks are looking to speed this up, but are currently unable to get around gambling legislations.
Virtual Reality and New Platforms for Casino Gaming
Reading about incremental improvements in data structures is incredibly exciting, of course, but how about some more visceral excitement for the tech interested casino players out there?
Most exciting in the world of new casino sites is of course, and for a good while, immersion in casino VR. Both regular gaming and casino have been pushing hard to make this happen since at least the first Oculus came to market.
PC gaming had the same struggles as the casinos had for a long while. Porting popular games over to VR didn’t really seem to get players excited enough. What finally drove VR home for gamers was homebrew developers, mainly VRChat. This rudimentary, but fully customisable, plain environment was exactly what the medium was waiting for.
The conclusion from the VR Chat case study is that VR gives an expectation of freedom, beyond what’s normal or even possible in “normal” games. Job Simulator, another successful VR game, had to program in possibilities for endless amounts of insane or nonsensical interactions for it to become playable, for example.
Casino games aren’t exactly known for giving players freedom in their interaction with the environment. Casino gaming companies like Microgaming and NetEnt have each developed VR versions of their most popular slot games, and there are a few new casino websites that have entire casino replicas available. But players can only play the games as normal.
Younger casino players have found another new way to enjoy casino gaming that took most industry experts by surprise, though. Through the online streaming platform Twitch, millions gather to watch casino players spin slots and play blackjack or poker.
While they’re watching, they can chat with each other and donate money to the streamer, who can then follow their requests. In this way, instead of spending their money directly on the slot, they are spending it through someone else, while being entertained by the streamer.
Casino sites still haven’t found a way to capitalise on this, but when they do – we’ll be seeing a lot more Twitch celebrities in the casino world.