The UK Continues to Innovate with the Launch of Mobile Bookmaker and Casino Websites

January 22, 2019 by Mobile Beat

The UK and wider international gambling industry have gone through some substantial changes in the last 20 years. Technological advancements have made gambling more accessible, diverse, and even more exciting since the internet forced its way into all our lives and began disrupting just about everything industry it touched.

The first innovation of course, was online gambling itself. This would introduce the pastime to people in a way that had never been possible before. For the first time, you could bet on blackjack, sports, poker, slot machines, or basically any other form of gambling offered in a brick-and-mortar casino, and you could do it all from your own home. The proliferation and continued development of the internet, along with improved ways to pay online helped facilitate the expanse of this new branch of an old industry.

Early online gambling options were basic. They were limited by the processing power of computers, as well as the bandwidth possible for internet connections. However, as both these factors lessened as time went on, we began to see much more creative and exciting options be developed.

Enter the Mobile Phone

The next major turning point for the gambling industry in the 21stCentury was the invention of the smartphone. Suddenly, everything that was already possible on a desktop or laptop computer was now equally plausible on a mobile device. Gambling operators had not only infiltrated their customers’ homes but now found themselves right in their pockets as well!

A similar progression has been seen with mobile phone gambling options as occurred earlier with traditional online forms. However, the pace of innovation has accelerated greatly since much of the work has involved porting existing games and concepts from the larger screen to the pocket-sized. Today, almost every option that is available on a desktop or laptop computer is possible on a mobile device. This gives customers immense flexibility in their gaming – they can spin a roulette wheel on their morning commute or play a few hands of poker in the bath if they so desire!

With these two technologies allowing greater exposure than ever to gambling and the legislation being quick moving and largely accepting of the blossoming industry,the options in the UK continue to grow as more and more casino operators enter the space offering no deposit bonuses and free spins to mobile only customers. The industry is far from done innovating, however. As more technologies emerge before us, these too are being integrated into the online casino experience here in the UK and overseas. In the coming years, there will be options that would seem inconceivable today. Let’s look at some of the most exciting ways the industry is already changing.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality technology has game designers of all varieties incredibly excited. The true implications of what’s possible today are still to be determined. It’s a bit like telling someone playing Space Invaders in the 1970s all about Red Dead Redemption.

The next 3 years will define VR as the defacto standard of all forms of entertainment

However, already we are beginning to see innovative casinogames designers making use of 3D and VR technology. Already, there are a few options for players to experience a slot machine in stunning 3D and basic virtual reality gambling options are coming to market. In the future, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch to see the major casino resorts of Las Vegas and Macau opening their doors for virtual visitors. Imagine turning up to the MGM Grand on a Friday night whilst still sitting in your flat in Wigan! This will become a reality much sooner than you might realise.

Blockchain and Smart Contract Technology

Another technology already starting to shake up the casino industry is blockchain technology. For those unaware, blockchain technology is the innovation that backs the popular digital currency Bitcoin.

The main thing that blockchain technology enables is trustlessness. Every bit of data shared using a blockchain is verifiable and it is prohibitively expensive to cheat a blockchain system. Obviously, this is advantageous for casinos since they can offer “provably fair” gambling for the first time ever online.

This innovation actually improves upon the existing brick-and-mortar casino model, which relies on audits and brand recognition to inspire trust. Using blockchain technology, online casinos can offer the digital equivalent of being able to check a deck of cards for inconsistencies after every single hand played. These checks can be performed in seconds, meaning that each of the games offered can be enjoyed without requiring you to blindly trust the legitimacy of the software and the operator providing.

Blockchain technology is coupled with a second innovation known as the smart contract. You can think of these like programmable money. They build even greater trust into the online casino or bookmaker model. Games can be programmed that will automatically pay the player or the casino in the event of a certain outcome occurring. Since these contracts are opensource, they are auditable by anyone with a knowledge of the programming language. This saves cash on expensive professional auditing services and these savings can be passed on to the player through bonuses and better pay-out percentages.

Increasing Ways to Pay

Blockchain technology is also benefiting the casino industry in the payments field too. Blockchain-based, decentralised digital currencies such as Bitcoin have found an early use case at online casinos. Using traditional payment methods such as Visa and Mastercard, the burden of fees falls with the casino operators themselves. These eat into the bottom line of the venue and these losses need making back from you, the punter.

Cryptocurrencies bypass traditional payment networks, potentially saving the operators literally thousands. With extra cash behind the company and continuing to operate in a competitive market that demands customer incentives, the casinos are more likely to pass on savings to the customers in the form promotions or incredibly high return-to-player ratings.

eSports bookmakers

Another recent trend in the UK bookmaking industry is towards (much) less traditional sporting events. The phenomena of eSportshave taken the world by storm and big matches between the elite players command huge audiences. Just like the audiences of real-world sporting events, the spectators at these competitive video game tournaments like to bet on the outcome and more and more bookmakers are willing to accommodate them.

Also interesting is the emergence of online platforms supporting live eSports tournaments with cash prizes. These work in a similar way to online poker tournaments. Each player puts forward a stake (plus a little bit for the house) into a prize pool and a tournament is played until there is just a single winner. Depending on the size of the player field, there may be several cash prizes awarded for the position of a player’s finish.

Innovations like this could serve as a way for traditional bookmakers to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving industry. Threatened by dwindling attendances at live sporting events, eSports could provide a much-needed boost to the UK’s bookmakers.

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