As happened for many other industries the technology has undoubtedly revolutionised the gambling and casino industry if we think that at the end of 2018 the mobile gambling sector was worth £120bn.
Gambling fundamentally is playing a game for cash and involves typically placing wagers against some odds in the hope of winning some money. Gambling activities drive adrenaline rush and it is very entertaining. This is why is so popular amongst most people: taking a risk and being rewarded when things are going well is something that is appreciated for human nature.
The technology changes have facilitated gambling and betting in the new digital era: this has meant that those are still a very popular hobby and pastime.
Dice rolling and cards games have been around since 100 A.D. but with the help of the technology now we have unmanned betting shops where people can bet with touching screens or on their way to work through their mobile phones. It is clear that technology has revolutionised how people are gambling and betting and has also created more opportunities for operators.
To understand how gambling and betting industry has been reshaped by technology it is useful to quickly look at the timeline of the industry and the significant historical changes.
Timeline of the Gambling Industry
Back in 1790, a man named Harry Ogden was the first person that managed to get a profit from bookmaking activity. He was operating at Newmarket racecourse, and after studying the field, he was providing laying odds on every horse.
Until 1961 betting was confined to the racetrack due to the law. This prevented bookmakers from expanding across the country, yet the popularity of gambling and betting was on the increase.
In May 1961 betting shops were finally legalised and in the space of 6 months, there were more than 10,000 shops across the country. At the time the technology was nearly not existent uand odds were transmitted through a wire service to the different betting shops.
Around 1986 the technology in betting stores improved and the gambling law also changed and allowed the shops to offer hot drinks and also televisions were customers could watch the horse races. Slots machines and fixed odds terminals with games and virtual races were also added.
In 1998 the internet started to storm the industry with gambling companies that began to realise the immense opportunities that this new technology could drive. Some innovative companies like Betfair and Betdaq came up with betting exchanges services while lots of online bingo and poker sites were launched.
By 2012 the revenue from online gambling was estimated at £4 billion which was an 80% increase from 2008. The rise continued in 2015 with the online gambling industry value that was calculated to be around £40bn.
How Mobile and Apps have changed the gambling industry
The digital era has changed lots of industries, and the same can be said for gambling. As reported by leading UK bonus comparison site casinobiggestbonus.com mobile gaming increased by 75% in 2012 and continued to grow significantly over the following years with phones that were continuously improved and the mobile network that became faster and more reliable.
The number of bets that are currently placed via mobile devices has hit £100bn with more than 164 million people that are using a mobile device to access an online casino or to place a wager. If online gambling has taken over traditional gambling, mobile gambling is set to take over online gambling. In fact, by the end of 2019, the mobile gambling industry should be around 50% of the total online gambling market.
The growth has been generated by the huge increase of mobile app that has been created for the gambling industry. This has allowed players to comfortably place bets from home or on the go and still have a great gambling experience. Although this is generally great news for the operator the challenge that they face is how they will be able to ensure betting shops will still be relevant.
Technology and the betting shop
Competition from online and mobile has made it more difficult for operators to attract customers to their betting shops. Gambling companies have tried to counterbalance this by incorporating apps and technology in the betting shops: this is why in recent times you will find a lot of touch screen betting kiosks where gamblers can socialise and still take advantage of the technology.
In order to get customers to come back into the shops, bookmakers need to provide something that gambling at home can’t. One main driver is that many people are still afraid to use their card online and also don’t want to be identified by their banks as gamblers etc. Having the opportunity to bet on cash without leaving any digital trace is still an attractive proposition to many.
The other thing is the social aspect: despite there are more and more online chat rooms the community feeling that is available in the betting shops cannot be replicated online or on mobile.
Betting shops have adopted tablet kiosks so that customers can still take advantage of the latest technologies without compromising on the social aspect. By integrating online with offline (via customer cards) bookmakers can offer their customer both worlds so that players can decide when to bet online and when to bet on the shop by using the same account and also securing loyalty deals.
What the future holds for the Gambling Industry
Technology will continue to re-shape and change the gambling industry in the years to come. There are always new ways to keep the customers engaged and surely Virtual Reality is one of the things that are considered as the next breakthrough in the industry. Ultimately only those operators that have the open-mind to continue to invest in improvements will be able to stay in business.
Betting shops will only continue to exist if they will get technologies capable of getting customers to return. They will need to keep to offer things that are not available online or from mobile (either tangible like betting with cash or intangible like social interaction).
Since the gambling industry is one of the sectors that tend to adopt earlier the newest technologies it is worth following the developments as they could anticipate what will come to the rest of the areas.