State of Online Gambling in 2020: The future is here and now!
As I awoke this morning, slowly blinking away the cobwebs of grogginess, something occurred to me. In less than six weeks, we’ll be ringing in the new year. Not just any new year, but the year 2020. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were celebrating the turn of a new millennium. Sure, I was a lot younger in those days, but my-oh-my have the times have changed!
In 2000, internet gambling barely existed. The internet wasn’t even a household thing yet. Hardly anyone used online banking services, and those who did were mostly eBay auction extraordinaires.
Today, everyone uses the internet, everyday, in multiple ways. We buy things, move money, pay bills, send text messages and snap chats, post every passing thought on social media, and in between it all, we access all manner of entertainment; movies, music, and yes, even casino games.
Online Gambling Way Back When
Twenty years ago, if you wanted to go to see a movie, you went to the local video store and rented one. If you wanted to play casino games, you traveled to the nearest gambling hall and played the slot machines or waited for a seat to open at the blackjack table. Or, you could brave the burgeoning web, with all its vulnerabilities, potential insecurities, and virtually unbearable loading time.
Many people did just that, logging onto one of the few reputable gambling sites of those days, downloading the massive software client – a trial in patience as dial-up still ruled the connectivity roost back then. From the comfort of a swiveling office chair, they enjoyed RNG-based casino games on their bulky desktop computers.
Slowly, as the years crawled onward, the internet became faster. It became safer. It became a mainstream access point that everyone could appreciate in their own way. And for online gamblers, it became the central focus of their pastime.
For decades, poker was a tiny niche market that appealed mostly to retired men in Las Vegas. Online poker changed everything. Now, there are hundreds of thousands of players all over the world. It’s so popular, networks like ESPN broadcast live poker events, and the annual World Series of Poker draws such a large field, the winner is guaranteed upwards of $10 million.
Sports betting took off faster than anything else. In some major countries, betting on sports was prohibited, or at least heavily restricted. In the US, punters could only bet on athletics in Nevada. It was illegal in all other 49 states up until last year. In Canada, sports betting has been legal for what seems like forever, but only as a sports lottery. Single-event wagers have never been allowed.
The internet not only provided an avenue for sports betting in an otherwise limited market, it paved the way for legislative change in the US, and could be a catalyst for amending single-game betting laws here in Canada.
State of Internet Gambling in 2020
In the mid 2010s, the mobile revolution came in full force. Now, we have apps on our phone for everything. And let’s be honest, most of us are guilty of tapping away on a smartphone or tablet while performing our daily ablutions. So much for newspapers, magazines, or the latest Stephen King novel…
Almost everyone who has ever visited a land-based casino more than once has played online casino games; if not for real money, then in a free-play social setting. The same goes for online poker, sports betting, daily fantasy sports; even bingo has seen a resurgence in popularity, all thanks to the technological wonders of the last twenty years.
If the past is any indication, we have so much to look forward to in the future. Technology is improving at a faster pace than ever before. More games, more features, more promotions to draw our interest – best of all, more security and online gambling regulations than ever before.
I also believe that, one day, the use of virtual reality and augmented reality within online casinos will take off. Some say that vertical has already failed, but they said the same thing about mobile gambling back in the days of flip phones – the same thing about live dealer casinos prior to broadband – and you see how far those have come.