The online and mobile arm of casino, iGaming, is arguably one of the more forward-thinking industries out there. The sector is responsible for giving cryptocurrency some of its first outings as a dominant currency and recently pounced on virtual reality (VR) as a means of uniting the worlds of online and offline poker.
The innovative bent of iGaming – and casino in general – stems from a need to continually appeal to new customers, a struggle made all the more difficult by the appearance of a new type of gamer – millennials, a group that’s perhaps unique in history for how different they are to the previous generation, being raised on a diet of social media, memes, instant TV, and mobile technology.
The importance of millennials (or people born after 1982) to the casino industry is no more visible than in the recent gamification of slot machines. Offline, both Nevada and Las Vegas have installed machines that offer a more interactive, skill-based experience while arcade-style games are creeping into mobile casinos. For instance, Royal Vegas, one of the best casinos in Canada according to one mobile slots review site, features an action game called Max Damage and the Alien Attack.
It’s important to note that casinos bending to the whims of millennials isn’t just a harebrained scheme destined to fail; it could be exactly what the next generation wants. For example, Eventbrite indicates that most millennials (78%) want to spend their money on experiences rather than on physical things.
Online or offline, casino is perfectly placed to take advantage of that eagerness for a good time. The development of VR technology like the Oculus Rift could radically alter the way people play games in the future, either through providing meaningful multiplayer encounters (in poker, for example) or through the provision of event spectating.
Mobile play is obviously the linchpin in iGaming’s model though. Millennials are a touchy-feely, always-online, attention-deficit bunch; iPhones and tablets are simply the modern way of fidgeting. With that in mind, brands that can provide a worthwhile portable experience perform especially well on mobile casino review sites, and are never far away from the younger demographic.
It’s hard to stress just how important mobile is to the future of casino. MGM Resorts in Las Vegas recently introduced mobile gaming functionality inside the building so that visitors don’t even have to be on the casino floor to play games.
As for technology though, smartwatches provide one of the more fertile avenues for development. Devices like the Apple Watch 2, despite being a major improvement over the early generations of wrist-mounted hardware, are not really built for gaming but slot machines do already exist on the App Store. They lack cash functionality, meaning that they’re more of a tease than a true gaming experience, but they’re both useful proofs of concept.
There’s potential for brands with sportsbooks to include smartwatch functionality as part of their offering, allowing immediate cash-out on a losing bet or continuous updates on in-play markets.
Also, if the casino’s industry’s innovators can overcome the limited functionality of smartwatches (there’s always a trade-off between power and usability involved in miniaturization), games like roulette are simple enough to make the transition from mobile to watch almost verbatim. It’s a worthwhile endeavor for an industry devoted to the needs of tech-hungry millennials.
Going forward, expect to see increased gamification of slot machines as well as a more mature VR product. Much like smartwatches though, the perfect VR experience hinges on additional technological development rather than enthusiasm from developers. In any case, casino is likely to continue future-proofing itself for a while to come.