Very few people could have visualized the form that the online gambling industry has taken at present, and even fewer people could have anticipated the speed at which it has evolved. Gamblers are opting to play at online casinos in ever increasing numbers because of the convenience and cost effectiveness that the medium offers over its land-based counterpart. As a matter of fact, people love being able to gamble without stepping out of their homes (or even their pajamas!) at any time they want. It’s also possible now to gamble using one’s smartphone, which means that people can play when they are commuting or waiting for an appointment.
Most leading casino operators have diversified into the online gambling business because this is clearly a high-growth area. In fact, there are instances of stagnating land based casino businesses starting to pick up after online gambling sites have been made available to the same customers.
The gambling industry is a very large one, and experts are eager to see whether it will continue to be able to adapt to changing customer requirements. After all, it has done very well so far by adopting new technologies and making important changes whenever necessary. Industry experts have identified a few areas that might have a bearing on the future of the gambling industry.
Given that the online gambling industry has customers from all over the world and belonging to different demographics, it is of the utmost importance that they are analysed carefully to expand the business. Customer data can be studied to understand their spending habits, social activity, browsing preferences, and other personal information so that marketing strategies can be tailor-made to be more effective. Bookmakers can also use data science to compute odds with far greater accuracy than at present. Interestingly, casino customers can also use data science to play better at games like poker which require an element of skill and not just luck.
AI is currently being explored as a means to make online gambling more immersive and personal. Operators can use AI to improve the performance of service bots so that customers get intelligent and useful responses to their queries. However, this technology holds far more potential for the industry since it can also be used to identify signs of problem gambling, especially addiction. For instance, there is a programme called BetBuddy that studies the total time a person spends gambling, the size of deposits and of wagers, and also the frequency at which deposits are made. It uses this data to determine whether an individual is likely to become a gambling addict so that necessary interventions can be made.
VR is one way that the online gambling industry can appear more lifelike since this is one of the industry’s biggest failings vis-à-vis land based gambling. VR casinos have already made an appearance but they do not offer a wide range of games as of now. The high cost of VR headsets is also holding back its spread, but this is set to change very soon as hardware manufacturers are working on developing cheaper and better headsets. Interestingly, it’s not just young gamblers but older ones as well who are keen to try out this technology.
According to figures released by the UK Gambling Commission, the percentage of regular gamblers in the age group 18-34 years has climbed from a mere 10% in 2008 to an encouraging 18% at present. The industry will, therefore, have to develop these and other technologies to cater to this growing market segment so that it does not lose out on opportunities.