Next time you’re tuning into your favourite sports game, take a minute to observe the advertisements that are cropping up in front of you. After the hordes of payment protection insurance paybacks and ambulance chasers, you’ll probably be offered to opportunity to take a bet on the end result – for example, the next goalscorer.
The booming voice declaring the most up-to-date odds will probably point you in the direction of your smartphone to the latest app. There’s no getting away from it – online gambling is fast becoming the weapon of choice when it comes to making a cheeky bet, and punters are turning away from their land-based counterparts. Economists have predicted that by 2015 the online gambling industry will be worth $182.8 billion worldwide – but what is it that makes it so popular? There are many factors, from accessibility to changing market trends.
The mobile market
Online casinos have been around for approximately 10 years now, but it’s only in the last three or four years that they’ve taken off. This is largely thanks to how we use our mobile phones – whereas in previous years they were little more than communicative devices, they are now mobile gaming gadgets, and online gambling is a huge factor in this. With odds being constantly updated thanks to faster 4G internet speeds, the temptation is bigger than ever to place a bet before circumstances change.
The unlimited choice
While land-based casinos can offer gamers a choice of card tables, slot machines and perhaps live sports betting, the online casino market is immeasurably more varied. One of the reasons for this is gamification – today’s technology allows games developers to be far more flexible with their slot machine designs, and some have incorporated an additional ‘gaming’ element into these. For example, the Marvel franchise has capitalised hugely on this – whereas land-based casinos offer little more than the chance to match up bells and cherries, online slots can let players battle it out with their favourite superheroes while winning big prizes.
The casino effect
One of the biggest critiques of the online casino industry is that it can’t offer the same personal touch that a land-based casino can. For example, can players enjoy the same charisma and conversation offered by dealers when playing online? Today, the answer is yes, and this is thanks to the implementation of live dealers. Players can log on and play their favourite card games with real life human dealers, who play with them via video link. Dealers are male and female and even come in a variety of costumes, available 24 hours a day. With an atmosphere so similar to a real casino, it’s no wonder more and more people are now turning online.
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