The iGaming industry, which includes online casino games, sports betting, lotteries, bingo, and more is on track to becoming valued at $100 billion by the end of the decade. This will be an increase of more than 100% on 2017 levels.
The industry is still relatively young though, having only started out in the mid-1990s. Before that, humans had placed bets on sports and wagered on games in casinos, at racetracks and in betting shops. While this was convenient for some, it meant many others couldn’t access these popular forms of entertainment.
This all changed in 1994 when Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act. This made it possible for iGaming companies to operate in the country and serve customers in other jurisdictions.
It took around a year for the first sites to launch, but by the end of 1995, there were hundreds in operation.
A Computer in Every Home
At the same time, Microsoft launched Windows 95, helping to realise Bill Gates’ dream of “a computer in every home”. AOL was also rolling out its aggressive marketing campaign both in the US and UK.
This meant huge numbers of people were getting access to the internet at the same time as online casinos were opening.
Over time, these casinos and other iGaming companies have developed their offerings, taking advantage of the advancements in computer processing power, improvements in web technology, and faster internet speeds.
They’ve also expanded into more countries, particularly in Europe where the casino industry generates around €20 billion of gross gaming revenue each year. For example, in Finland Nettikasinot.bet offers the best Pay n’ Play online casinos.
After Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, the rapid widespread adoption of smartphones created a new opportunity for iGaming brands. They could reach new customers, particularly those in regions where computers and wired internet connections are less prevalent.
Smartphones also added convenience to gaming. Players no longer needed to be chained to a desk or a laptop to play casino games and place bets on sports. This gave them the flexibility to play whenever and wherever they wanted.
For example, commuters could enjoy a few rounds of blackjack while they sat on the bus and sports fans could place bets while watching a match on TV or in person.
Mobile devices now make up a significant portion of revenues for iGaming companies and this is expected to grow further.
Just like they did with computers, the internet and smartphones, iGaming companies continue to be on the lookout for new technology to use to improve their services.
One of the most popular technologies they’ve implemented in recent years is live streaming. Using video broadcasts of real-life dealers, casinos have created “live casinos”, where players can enjoy their favourite casino games like blackjack and roulette in a more interactive format.
Instead of seeing computer-generated graphics on their screen, they get a live video feed of the cards being dealt and the wheel being spun by a human. They can also interact with the dealer, just like in a land-based casino.
This creates the most immersive and realistic casino experience available to players, without having to physically visit one.