Online casinos first appeared in the late 1990s when they were little more than text pages punctuated by the occasional pixelated picture. They were clunky to operate and only the most diehard gambling fans were willing to stick with them. Fast forward 25 years and digital technology has evolved at such a rate that online casinos are eclipsing all other areas of the gambling industry in popularity and usage.
Let’s take a look at the figures: the Canadian gambling industry is worth a whopping $14 billion and is ranked at number 8 in the global gambling index for revenue. That’s no small feat, considering Canada has the smallest population in the top ten. Not all of that revenue comes from online casinos, but they are responsible for a large percentage. 888 online casino Canada is one of the most popular gambling sites, and it’s not hard to see why: their large selection of top-quality games guarantees you and entertaining time.
Unsurprisingly, online casinos are more popular with younger generations of gamblers as they are more familiar with the technology. Online casinos have a big advantage over land-based casinos; they are far more convenient. No more reserving a night out and driving to the nearest venue, fighting over parking spaces and who is going to be the designated driver. Now you can log on and play your favourite games from the comfort of your own living room and in your pyjamas if that’s what you fancy! Online casinos still let you meet up with friends and play together, and new technological advancements can even bring the experience of live casino games to your laptop.
Live Casino Games
One aspect of the casino experience which online casinos have struggled to replicate is the face-to-face interaction with other players and the dealer. Chatroom functions have always been available so that you can talk to other people in the room, but for many casino enthusiasts, the dealer interaction is a big part of the appeal.
A live dealer can also affect the gameplay. In online games, a random number generator decides which cards are drawn, how the reels spin, and where the roulette ball lands. In real life casinos this is limited by what cards are left in the deck or how the dealer spins the ball. This leads to slight variations in the odds and house edges between the digitised versions and the live versions, and purists feel that involving a dealer is the best way to play.
Live casino games use web cams to broadcast live from the dealer’s pit straight into your home. Superfast broadband and mobile internet speeds have made this process easy and user friendly, with high resolution pictures and fast streaming. Not only do you get to partake in a game dealt by a real person, but you can also interact with them in real time, bringing back that social element that many felt was missing from online casinos.
It is argued that live casino games bring the social aspect of a land-based casino to an online casino.
The Effect on Land-Based Casinos
Now that online casinos can bring dealer interaction to the player at home, is there any reason to go to a land-based casino anymore? The convenience of being able to play at home has always been a huge driver for players in switching to online play. There’s no competition for machines or table spaces, drinks aren’t overpriced and no one’s going to steal your spot when you go to the bathroom. The same range of games are on offer online – in fact, there are often more options due to online casinos not having the space issues that land-based venues have.
The number of people visiting land-based casinos has been in decline over the last decade due to a number of factors: People have less leisure time and less disposable income, travel distances are deemed too great, and the ready availability of a viable online substitute, all make people less inclined to make the effort to visit a land-based casino. It’s a trend we’ve also seen within the retail sector. Online stores can offer the same products for cheaper because they have fewer overheads, and as budgets are stretched further, it’s cost which really becomes the deciding factor in how people choose to spend their money.
Many land-based casinos are seeing a decline in foot-fall and many believe it is because of online casinos.
It’s not just live streamed casino games which are threatening to close land-based casinos – technology is taking the experience one step further with VR and AR casinos. Imagine being able to walk around some of the world’s most famous casinos without having to leave your house! Virtual reality headsets can let you move around a digitised version of a casino and play the games as if you’re standing at the table yourself. Augmented reality casino games are still in their infancy, but developers are hoping that they will soon be able to display a virtual table in your own home and have your friends join you around it.
Live casino games have not destroyed land-based casinos by themselves, rather they are another nail in the coffin of an outmoded activity which has become too expensive and time consuming. Online casinos with live-streamed options offer a great alternative to gambling in person, and it’s no wonder that players are flocking to websites to try them out.