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Always Developing – The Many Options of iGaming

 Photo by kaboompics, Public Domain

 

iGaming is the name giving to the digital version of casino games, card games and online betting, with offerings designed for casual players and the hardcore gamers who live and breathe these types of games. Casinos are by no means new, having existed in some form or another for hundreds of years. They be traced back to Venice in the 1600s, but wagering in some form has been found to have existed in almost all recorded human civilizations including the Romans and Ancient Greeks. The original playing cards, although differing in some ways to a modern deck, were used over 1000 years ago and have been linked to China during the time of the Tang Dynasty.

As technology and society has changed, casino and card games have also adapted. The 20th Century saw an explosion in the construction of new large, destination casinos in the United States. The most famous of these is of course Las Vegas, which when the state of Nevada legalised gambling in 1931, took full advantage and turned itself into a casino city. Seeing the success of Las Vegas, other places began to replicate this model, with New Jersey’s Atlantic City in the US and even as far afield as Macau.

The Birth of iGaming
Just as the industry quickly adapted to changing regulation in the 20th century, it did the same with the new technology brought about by the internet and the dotcom boom. When Antigua and Barbuda passed the “Free Trade & Processing Act” in 1994, the iGaming industry was born, with companies rushing to be the first online casino. The first iGaming platform was launched in 1995, and after just two years there were approximately 200 online casinos open to players.

iGaming brought about a revolution in experience for players. Traditional, land based casinos were not always easily accessible to some, given that they could live hours away from their closest venue. iGaming meant that players did not need to leave their home to take part in poker games and play casino style slots, instead taking part from the comfort of their living room. An example of this is Full Tilt, which offers traditional casino games, such as poker, blackjack and baccarat, as well as themed slot games such as Genie Jackpots and Eye of Horus.

Going Mobile
Further technical revolution brought further changes to the iGaming industry. The rapid take up of smartphones, thanks to the release of the Apple iPhone and Google’s Android, consumers around the world were beginning to carry an internet connected computer in their pockets. This mean that iGaming providers could reach players in ways that were much more convenient for them: instead of having to be sat in front of a computer at home, players could be anywhere in the world and still be able to play.

Mobile technology also gave internet access to other parts of the world for the first time. Less developed nations, where the physical infrastructure required for a traditional telephone network did not exist could instead use a cellular network to get online. Smartphones and mobile internet allowed iGaming to be introduced to whole new markets, and the industry has seen huge growth in this area. An example of a mobile iGaming provider is PokerStars which offers apps for both iOS and Android, allowing players to play both card and casino games on the go.

 

 

Photo by Pexels, Public Domain

 

The Future

iGaming generally keeps pace with the development of new technologies, this can be seen from the beginning of the industry with its first online casinos, right through to modern day. One of the latest cutting edge consumer technologies is virtual reality. It has been pitted as a technology to revolutionise entertainment, gaming, and numerous industries including healthcare and logistics.

iGaming has not ignored this development, with virtual reality casino offerings being available for several of the most popular VR platforms. Virtual reality poker and casino games bring some of experience of a land based casino, particularly the social interaction, to the world of iGaming. A VR live casino will use a human croupier and 360 degree cameras to allow players to experience a more realistic playing experience. At current, VR casino and poker experiences are available for Oculus and HTC headsets.

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