Changes in technology can happen fast, but the speed at which those changes are applied can vary wildly depending on the sector involved. In the case of online gambling, that speed has been as quick as lightning. In the last 25 years, two distinct, transformational movements have occurred; both fueled by technological growth: the first gave birth to the industry, and the second helped the industry go casino mobile.
As is often the case when an idea’s time has come, three significant advances were made to create the online gambling industry. These came in three different sectors, by three distinct parties, at nearly the same time. On the platform and software side, Microgaming, based in the Isle of Man, created the first online casino in 1994, complete with games of its own design; in Dublin in 1995. CryptoLogic created an online framework for processing financial transactions and handling licensing before going on to found the wildly successful InterCasino; and in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, a 1994 bill legalized and regulated the granting of licenses for the purposes of online gambling. The confluence of these three events made the modern phenomenon of online gambling possible – for the first time; it was possible to welcome players from all over the world, offer them financially secure transactions, and for companies to stand firmly on legal footing while doing so. It was not long before the industry began to prosper.
The Mobile Revolution
The second, more recent transformation, was brought on by the astonishing success of the iPhone, Android, and similar mobile devices. Not too long ago, all online gaming was designed with play on desktop and/or laptop computers in mind. While the first mobile casinos were developed in 2005 (with Microgaming again leading the industry, along with Playtech), it wasn’t until the App Store took off in 2008 that smartphone gaming became popular in the mainstream market. When it did, though, there was no turning back.
Online gaming has been growing at an astonishing rate, with a recent study projecting an annual growth of nearly 6%, with annual global gambling revenue expected to reach an estimated $635 billion USD by the year 2022. Much of this growth has been a result of the shift towards mobile gaming: today, out of the 906 casinos reviewed at our site, 771 now cater for some form of mobile device. Far from its obscure origins, play on smartphones and tablets is the new normal.
Changes within the Industry
The growth of online gaming has fueled innovation: a wave of fresh talent has accompanied the mobile gaming revolution. An industry once dominated by giants such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and IGT is now replete with quality competition from young companies, most founded in 2014 or later. Booongo, Red Tiger Gaming, Chance Interactive, and Makitone Gaming have all produced outstanding new hit games in recent years, garnering every bit as much attention as offerings by industry mainstays.
What Comes Next
In any corner of technology or economy, it’s impossible to predict the future: online gaming is no different. With that said, continued growth in online gambling seems to be a reasonable expectation. Furthermore, as technology has been central to recent developments in the industry, it seems reasonable to expect the next big thing in gaming to reflect future changes in technology.