The past few years have provided an influx of technology unlike any we’ve seen before. Industries the world over are redeveloping and revamping to keep up with the times, and the gambling industry is no exception.
Both land-based and online casinos are developing trends as fast as they can to keep up with it all. And the year 2018 is shaping up to be quite a year for U.K. gamblers and casinos alike. So, what can we expect as the year goes on?
Online and Mobile Gaming on the Rise in the U.K.
In this digital era, it comes as no surprise that online gaming is poised to take over the gambling industry. Land-based casinos will always have their place, but it’s hard to compete with the accessibility that online venues provide. In fact, the growth in online casinos in the U.K. has been on the rise since the implementation of the Gaming Act of 2005. In 2018, these numbers are set to go up even higher. How do we know?
Recently, the U.K. Gambling Commission released its Gambling Participation and Perceptions Report for 2017, from which we can glean a lot about upcoming trends. The survey-based report revealed a wealth of information, all pointing to the rise of both PC and mobile casino play. Forty-five percent of U.K. citizens had engaged in some sort of gambling during the time of the report— which is down from 2016 by three percentage points. But keep reading.
Eighteen percent of those people reported using online venues rather than land-based venues. This is a one-percent increase from 2016. Now, that may not seem like a huge victory for online casinos, but it does add up.
Especially when you consider that within the online world, mobile gaming is experiencing a significant come-up. Fifty-one percent of those people gambling online did so using a mobile device of some sort. That’s up from 43 percent in 2016. It’s aneight-percentage-point increase, and it’s a significant score for mobile casino developers.
Across the board, online and mobile games are fast becoming the weapon of choice for U.K. gamblers. While not yet more popular than land-based casinos, online venues are a real contender in the gambling game. It isn’t difficult to see why that is. With the introduction of these venues, players can gamble right on their phone or PC.
It provides a freedom and relaxation you can’t get at a land-based casino.Playing high-stakes poker in your pyjamas while munching on chips in your living room is quite an attractive prospect. And there’s less social pressure while playing online, yet the odds of a win are pretty much the same.
There are quite a few reasons for the rising popularity of online casinos, including the convenience and sociability.
There may even be evidence of better odds at online casinos, especially with the slot games. How’s that? Both online and land-based slot machines use random number generators to pick their winners. However, there are more online choices out there— which means more prizes and bigger jackpots (giving users a better chance of winning) as venues compete to provide the best experience.
However, all this competition and the practices that go along with it are giving rise to a new trend: stricter gambling regulations for operators across the board.
U.K. Gambling Commission Cracks Down with Stricter Regulations
Fierce competition between providers means massive advertising campaigns as each venue struggles to give players the most advantage or at least make it seem like they do. So, providers tout the best promotions, the biggest bonuses and a user experience different from all the rest. Advertisements report bigger and better free bets, free spins and larger-than-life bonuses. But is it all too good to be true?
The U.K. Gambling Commission seems to think so. They’re cracking down on casino advertising, implementing new regulations that will change how we see and perceive advertisements in the future. We won’t be witnessing any ads during live sporting events anymore, for one thing.
It may not seem like such a big deal, but casino advertisements make up 95 percent of the total commercials that Brits witness during live games—they have an incredibly significant impact on the market. But that will be taken away.
Likewise, “free bet” advertising is under fire. Oftentimes these “free bets” are matched bets that do require a deposit. Such ads are perceived as misleading by the commission. They’re also cracking down on urgency advertising wherein an ad claims that the potential customer must bet immediately to receive any number of special deals and promotions.
The commission claims that these types of advertisements target vulnerable people by inciting an emotional response. “Money-back” and “risk-free” ads must also be revamped under the new laws.
Overall, the new regulations are expected to have a positive impact on the industry. While it won’t cut down on competition between venues, it will help to build a higher level of trust between consumers and the casinos that serve them. However, this is 2018. The times are changing. The way we like to play and the games we like to watch are changing as well. This is giving rise to another significant trend: esports betting.
Esports Betting Emerges as a Significant U.K. Pastime
Esports has been taking the world by storm. We’ve come a long way since the days when Counter-Strike: Global Offensive first came out, and players around the world began using real-life money to advance their status.Now we have an industry worth hundreds of millions, which is expected to soon surpass that figure. As the value of the industry has risen, the competition has risen as well.
Platforms like Twitch have given worldwide audiences the opportunity to view their favourite players in realtime, and gambling on esports has skyrocketed as a result.
Now, there are world-wide tournaments being hosted, many of which are being viewed by millions of people. And the money is changing hands. Esports betting sites are popping up all over the net. As a result, the U.K.
Gambling Commission treats esports betting as any other type of betting, meaning that there is no legal reason why citizens cannot participate. And esports appeal to a much younger audience, captivating the millennial generation, which has previously been difficult to catch. The result? Esports betting has never been more popular and continues to gain momentum with each passing month. The projections don’t lie.
Developers are working to make esports betting safer and more secure for everyone wishing to participate.
Gambling Giants Consider Mergers and Alternative Currencies
With the increasing popularity of online casino games and esports comes the need for a new type of safe online payment. Cryptocurrency like the ubiquitous Bitcoin has online venues and players covered. Players benefit from the anonymity and fast processing time of Bitcoin while casinos benefit from the lower cost of Bitcoin-run ventures. More and more gamblers are choosing online play, and more and more of those are investing in Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.
Of course, this only benefits online casinos at this point. How are land-based casinos reacting to the explosive success of online venues? The loss of business along with the stricter regulations imposed by the commission means some significant mergers are taking place. This will shift focus away from land-based casinos and place it on campaigning for online casinos—injecting a bit more competition in an already highly competitive market. However, live poker table frequenters need not worry. We won’t see land-based casinos disappear anytime soon.
These recent developments are sure to make 2018 an incredibly exciting year for players and casinos alike. The market is increasing exponentially along with the rise of esports betting and mobile casino play. And increased competition will yield an even better user experience, with players presented with more options and a tailored experience they can get on board within the years to come.