It’s an exciting time for the gambling industry, which is soon to experience some transformations that will make the casino and igaming business more lucrative for innovators, and the gambling in question more interesting for consumers.
As an ancient form of entertainment, it’s to be expected that gambling will always adapt to the modern era and undergo change as cultural and technological factors allow for it. Nonetheless, the combination of a number of such factors coinciding at the same time has led to an especially transformative period for those interested or involved in gambling.
The most obvious catalyst for transformation is the wave of legalization making its way across the world – both related to igaming and traditional gambling. In some Asian countries, most notably Japan, legislation has only recently made casinos legal. Of course, gambling of some form exists in almost every country regardless of whether it is legal or not, but the introduction of licensed and regulated casinos in such a large and tourist-friendly country like Japan has big economic consequences across the world. Once the legislation was announced, shares in many major casino brands like as Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts closed at between 1% and 3% higher. Considering Japan’s new casino market is estimated to be worth $40bn a year, it’s not surprising that investors are hoping to benefit from the business opportunities this new market presents.
In the US, meanwhile, similar change is underway – but for igaming. Traditional casinos and social gambling are a big part of American culture, yet none of the big online poker sites have been met with quite so much tolerance. While live tournaments and betting are considered normal activities, gambling online remains something of a taboo. This has been the case ever since online gambling was outlawed in 2011. Since then, only states Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have legalized sites offering internet casinos or online poker rooms. In recent times, however, there has been a lot of discussion in California and New York over the possibility of reintroducing legalized online poker. Advocates for legalization argue that poker is more of a skill game than a luck game, meaning it should be exempt from anti-gambling legislation. Though many bills have been proposed, progress is slow. Either way – all signs point towards many US states legalizing online poker within the next few years. This will create millions in revenue while drawing new igaming businesses to the US.
There are some forms of gambling, such as horse racing and poker, that have been enduringly popular for hundreds of years. Betting on these games or sports seems to be a timelessly alluring activity, however there are also those forms of gambling that are more trend-based. Right now, the new hot gamble is based on so-called ‘fantasy football’. This is a game in which betters create imaginary teams from real players in a league and then score points based on the real performance of these players. Though fantasy football has technically existed since the 1960s, it has only been since 2009, and thanks to online bookmakers, that the sport has really taken off – and it doesn’t look like its popularity will dwindle anytime soon.
The VR Factor
Recent excitement over virtual reality consoles has also had an impact on the gambling industry, where online gambling companies want to create their own virtual casinos and poker rooms for players. PokerStars are rumoured to already be in the process of developing software for VR. Virtual gambling establishments could offer a great balance between playing poker in the comfort of your home with the social and visual appeal of playing at a casino. Introducing an element of VR into the gambling industry is sure to boost its popularity and attract new players.
Last but certainly not least is the growing popularity of e-gaming. Millions of people tune into watch live tournaments unfold between professional esport teams battling it out in one of four major strategy games – World of Warcraft, CS:GO, League of Legends and Dota2. It is fast becoming as popular as any other more traditional spectators sport. As such, it is of course starting to present a lot of opportunities for gambling firms to get people betting on their favourite players and teams. This form of gambling is due to explode in popularity over the next few years, making this a prime time for businesses to get involved in the early stages of the emerging market.
Clearly, the already lucrative gambling industry is set to become even more exciting and profitable in the near future. Rarely in the past has the betting business experienced so many transformative factors in such a short period of time.