There are some pretty exciting developments coming down the pipe for the online gambling scene as a whole.
Even one of these coming to full fruition will transform the industry, but all of them put together will lead to online gambling looking radically different from what we know today.
So, what are these developments and how soon will they occur? I’ll talk you through each of them and detail when I think they could realistically start shaking things up.
You’ve probably seen at least one ad for a casino offering Bitcoin bonuses. As cryptocurrencies become more mainstream and more businesses accept them as a form of payment, so will increasing numbers of online casinos.
In fact, there are already plenty of casinos which accept Bitcoin right now. I believe, however, that this will soon reach a tipping point and that some of the really big names will start accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.
How soon? Probably toward the end of 2018 and early 2019. It all depends on what sort of year cryptocurrencies have and how soon big firms like Amazon accept them. When that happens, expect widespread adoption.
However long it takes, I can virtually guarantee that cryptocurrencies will play a large role in the near future of online gambling.
The cheap and fast transactions, the privacy, and the ability to skirt around certain restrictions all appeal to gamblers the world over.
This one has the ability to change the entire world, let alone online gambling.
With VR leader Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook claiming that virtual reality will be better than the real thing, and aiming to have over a billion people plugged in, this is going to be huge when it finally reaches widespread adoption.
There are a few online casinos already offering VR experiences. I think we could see an entirely new world once this really kicks off.
Think watching football matches as if you are there and placing bets in real time, digital waitresses handing you martinis as you spin slots in a virtual casino, and a live dealer experience that feels a lot more like sitting at the tables in Vegas than it does today.
VR technology isn’t quite there yet, but massive leaps forward are being made. The online gambling industry is slowly starting to prepare for this.
We will see virtual reality creep into the online gambling scene over the next couple of years, and likely begin to fully blossom in the 2020s. I believe it will be spectacular when it comes, offering experiences we can only imagine now.
This one is likely the most welcome of all the developments mentioned so far.
A few pioneering casinos have already done away with wagering requirements on bonus cash. This started in 2017 and has steadily continued since.
Some really big names have now gone down this route, and the pressure to remain competitive will likely cause this trend to accelerate in the next year or two.
Could 2018 be the year wagering requirements meet their end? I think many more casinos will transform their bonus policies in 2018 and 2019, with a few laggards hanging on into the 2020s.
Every casino player in the world dislikes wagering requirements, so I doubt many tears will be shed when they finally disappear. However, this could also mean the end of huge bonuses, and we will likely see smaller, saner numbers of free spins and cash.
Would you prefer 20 free spins for a small deposit where you get to keep what you win, or thousands in bonus cash which you have to bet twenty times before you can withdraw?
It’s an easy choice, and those offering wagering free bonuses will force those who haven’t received the memo yet to adapt. It’s simple business, really.
This is one I won’t put an exact timeframe on, but rather I will say ‘sometime during the Trump presidency.’
Whether you love or loathe Trump is up to you, but one thing you can’t call him is anti-business. Trump has already expressed concern that America is missing out with regards online gambling, and I believe at some point he will remedy that.
Will Americans be able to deposit in casinos around the world and participate in poker tournaments once again?
Maybe, but perhaps this, too, will have an America First tinge, and it will only be at US-owned sites.
Either way, I believe the American market is going to come back with a bang sometime before Trump waves from the steps of Air Force One for the last time.
Then again, Jeff Sessions could step in and spoil the party.
Unless you closely follow tech trends, you probably think this one is still a long way off. You’d be wrong about that.
In fact, AI is already here, and it’s accomplishing astonishing things. A Google AI recently gave birth, for example.
While the sort of AI that makes humans obsolete isn’t here yet, the sort which is excellent at math, poker, and other games is. This sort of AI is what we will see creeping into the online casino industry in the next few years.
There are two likely scenarios here. Both are quite serious.
First, casinos will use AI to replace the random number generators which currently control games. This could allow the casino to learn how you play, with all the ramifications that has.
Second, players will likely try to create AI which can beat the house. This will lead to new regulations, new terms and conditions, and lots of turmoil if they even temporarily succeed.
AI is a reality we all have to face up to. It’s getting smarter and better at a faster clip every day. The online casino industry will not be immune and will have to adapt to the inevitable changes AI brings.
How this ultimately plays out, I’ll leave to your imagination. One thing I know for sure is that it will be interesting.