Love it or loathe it, the gambling industry has held great significance to local, national and global economies for millennia. The ancient Hindus were writing about gambling games in India as far back as the 4th Century B.C., and betting in all its forms is now a $multi-billion industry which forms a part of the fabric of contemporary culture.
Technology drives change
Until the mid-nineties, a cosy status quo existed within the gambling industry, with casino tycoons hoarding much of the top Vegas dollar and bookmakers operating on a broad range of scales, from local companies to nationwide brands. Consumers visited casinos, attended bookies, did all their gambling face-to-face with their service providers.
The times have changed. Whilst casinos retain their special allure as holiday destinations and bookmakers provide ready-made hang-outs for sports betting fans, since around the turn of the last decade, at least one in every four dollars currently being gambled around the world is now bet online. iGaming has gone from non-existence in the mid-nineties to a market share of over 25% in the space of just two decades – an unprecedented shift.
Consumer habits in the iGaming sector
The behaviours of customers gaming online is significantly different to that which might be typical of a customer gambling in a physical venue. Much of the revenue generated by big casinos and the like comes from services extraneous to the gambling on offer in itself: food and drink sales, hotel packages and entertainment.
Online gambling meanwhile, is generally the sole revenue channel of online gambling providers. This negative is offset by a number of factors including the far lower overheads that come with running a website than the proprietor of a physical establishment or chain would shoulder. The mechanics of many online casino games also lend themselves well to increasing revenue flow – for instance, the rate of cards dealt in a virtual poker game far exceeds the rate of cards dealt in a physical poker game.
The forms of iGaming
The virtual games offered by the iGaming sector sedulously ape their physical casino counterparts in the majority of instances, with typical offerings including poker, baccarat and slots. Gambling apps exploit increasingly ubiquitous technological platforms such as smart phones and tablets to offer gambling service providers’ wares in an increasingly mobile format, incorporating functions such as chat facilities and tutorials.
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