When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out many industries were impacted negatively (tourism) or positively (streaming services). Some needed to change their business models to stay in business. Gambling belongs to the latter category.
In this article, we are discussing what changes the casino business has had and what the new trends are. Peter Deli, Hungarian iGaming expert gave his insights to the topic. Read more about Peter’s work here.
Online Casino Trends
From land-based to online casinos
When the pandemic started in Europe last spring, countries went into complete lockdowns and every non-essential business had to close. Casinos stopped working so avid gamblers had no other choice but turning towards online casinos. Casinos such as Bwin, that accept players from Hungary, have seen a huge rise in new player registration.
Now, land-based casinos in Hungary are open again, however, there are loads of restrictions once inside including the bars being closed and some limitations on table games. Popular online casinos are still taking the lion’s share of the gambling market and this trend seems to continue well into 2021.
Mobile gambling is taking casinos to the trend. Nowadays, people don’t need expensive PCs or laptops to play video games or games for real money, since practically everybody has a smartphone in their pockets.
When the coronavirus lockdown started in Hungary last March all three mobile operators gave free data packages to their customers with an insane amount of data to enable distance learning and work from home for people who don’t have a wifi connection. Playing online quickly became easy and since going out was not an option, more and more people turned to online gaming and gambling.
Live dealer games
Casinos have been concentrating more and more on offering live dealer games for the past few years, however, with the coronavirus pandemic, the need grew even further. Playing the same slot games or video poker might become dull and uninteresting quickly when you have nothing else to do for hours on end.
However, live dealer games are the real thing. When you are playing live dealer poker or roulette you are in real-time video connection with the casino room. You can interact with the other players and you can see the actual croupier who is dealing with physical cards or throwing actual dice.
Live dealer games are very popular with people who used to visit physical casinos and people who are intimidated by the thought of playing alongside professional gamblers and want to practice first in a life-like environment.
Virtual reality is a definite trend in the gaming and gambling industries. When you put on a VR headset you are transported to a virtual world where everything is just awesome. VR is making its way towards real-money gambling as well but at the moment there are only a few online casino options to choose from.
You can play VR slot games in a real looking 3D casino environment or you can participate in a game of poker through VR goggles. The cool feature about VR poker is that you can read your opponents’ body language and you can make hand gestures.
VR headsets are still quite pricy and you need to own one before you can enjoy playing at a VR casino but with technological advances, the availability of these headsets might become more and more accessible.
Some cryptocurrencies are big winners of the pandemic. Lucky early investors multiplied their savings and the good news is that more and more establishments accept crypto nowadays just as if it was cash or a credit card. Many casinos offer deposits and withdrawals in crypto which is the fastest and safest form of payment at the moment, so surely, we will see crypto transactions as a standard option in the future.
Covid-19 has certainly brought online casinos to the trend. People have more free time nowadays than ever and they are forced to stay indoors. Technological advances in entertainment and the widespread availability of smartphones and fast internet connections all helped in the growth of the online gambling industry and the future is also promising.