Gambling has always held a fascination for people. There’s evidence that the ancient Romans and Chinese both enjoyed games of chance using dice and numbered tiles – the forerunners of the cards that we use today. But many historians agree that it was the 17th century that saw the activity become formalised and clubs began to spring up.
In this country these were predominantly private gaming clubs which were exclusively the preserve of the rich and the well-connected and it wasn’t until the 20th century that these started to evolve into the casinos that we know now.
Even in the 1960s UK casinos were still regarded as being exclusive clubs which required membership before you could play and it was only the Gaming Act of 1968 that loosened the regulations surrounding them to start to create the ones we have today.
Although there have been setbacks in recent years – the causes of which we’ll go into in a moment – the bricks and mortar casino scene in the UK is still thriving with all of the major cities boasting casinos where you can play 24 hours a day on games as varied as roulette and three card rummy without any need for membership.
In the last decade or so land-based casinos have been experiencing a decline in revenue across the world, even in Las Vegas, and many put this down to the inexorable rise of the online casino. When these started out they were really glorified video games but as the technology has developed they have become more and more sophisticated – and have started to monopolise more and more of the gaming revenue in the UK and other countries round the world where they are permitted.
They have also brought a whole new demographic into the world of gambling including many more younger people as well as a far higher proportion of female players than ever before. The sheer ease and convenience of being able to play on the move using a mobile or a tablet has been instrumental in this shift.
The one thing that had been lacking from the online casino experience was the thrill of live play but the casinos were quick to respond to this and all of the major ones now include “live casino” features. In these events real dealers run the games in real time and there’s also the facility for players to have an online chat with them as they play. The games themselves work using advanced number recognition technology that can convert the cards being turned over or the roulette numbers that come up into digital data that can be used in online play.
2017 is said to be the year in which Virtual Reality is due to come of age and this is regarded as being the next great leap forward in online casino play. The possibilities it offers are endless from being able to recreate any “real” casino in the world to allowing virtual poker championships to be held without any of the players having to be physically present.
So, looking to the future, it would seem like there are going to be many more places to play casino games – as well as no shortage of people ready and willing to play them.