8 online gambling trends to watch in 2019
Online gambling has changed a lot in the 20+ years it has been around. What began as a fringe enterprise has gained mainstream acceptance in many parts of the world. And where it's still viewed negatively by government, gamblers are nonetheless embracing it in growing numbers.
If you are an avid online gambler you have undoubtedly benefited from many of the changes within the industry. Like most other things technology related, online gambling capabilities have accelerated quite a bit since the turn of the decade. Things are getting better - and they are getting better faster.
Though MegaMoolah.com is a website originally intended to inform the world about the Mega Moolah jackpot slot from Microgaming, we are still very much in tune with online gambling as a whole. We pay attention to all the latest trends in an attempt to keep our regular visitors up-to-date. It is with that in mind that we would like to offer you the following online gambling trends that we believe are worth watching in 2019.
1. More live table games
In a perfect world, the division between online casinos and their land-based counterparts would be almost non-existent. We are not there yet, but things are progressing in that direction. One sign of that progression is the emergence of live table games. What are live table games? They are online versions of live games normally played in a land-based casino.
Let's say you went to visit a local casino and play roulette alongside dozens of other players. Now imagine installing video cameras and microphones in that casino and broadcasting the game over the internet. Throw in some computer software that lets online viewers play alongside those present and you have a live table game, providing of course that you are a willing participant.
What we just described is now reality. A number of big-name game developers, like Evolution Gaming and Net Entertainment, are increasingly developing their live table game portfolios. You can now go online and play live versions of roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and even Texas hold 'em.
We expect that the number of game developers offering live table games will increase in 2019. As such, we expect game selection and variety to increase as well.
2. New virtual reality games
Not every casino looking to enhance the table game experience wants to do it with live table games. Some are entertaining virtual reality. Though the technology is still quite new, virtual reality table games simulate the live experience in a VR setting. The live dealer is replaced by an avatar while the table and the casino surroundings are all generated by computer software.
There is no telling whether VR table games will succeed on a grand scale or not. But it looks like at least some game developers will do the giving it a shot in 2019. If they succeed, they will create an entirely unique and new way of gambling online. The world they create will be a dynamic combination of computer-generated gambling in a simulated live environment.
Developers could help their cause by developing games that didn't require VR headsets or special devices to play. Otherwise, it might be too big an investment to expect from online gamblers. How developers choose to proceed in this regard will probably determine the level of success they achieve.
3. More in-depth 3D slots
State-of-the-art, 3D graphics began infiltrating video slot games a few years back. The introduction of 3D graphics renewed interest in video slot gambling among online players growing weary of the same flat designs recycled time and again. Now it looks like we are about to make a jump to the next level.
Are you familiar with the 'Vikings' series of video slots from Yggdrasil Gaming? This is a good example of where 3D video slots are headed. Each game in the series incorporates animation and 3D graphics with a story. The third installment actually invites players to work their way through multiple levels during bonus play. It is a game that combines slot play, breath-taking animation, and role-playing.
We expect to see more games of this type over the next 12 to 18 months. Animation and interaction appear to be the future of online slots, at least for now.
4. More progressive jackpots
One of the reasons players appreciate Mega Moolah is the progressive jackpot. The potential of winning at minimum 1 million British Pounds is what attracts so many players to the game. Currently the jackpot has not been won since September 2018 and in just 3 and a half months it has grown to £16.8 million (at time of writing). With such a huge jackpot available and the special offers designed for Mega Moolah players, there's an ever-increasing number of new players attracted to the game.
Progressive jackpot games are nothing new in casino gambling. However, they are somewhat limited in comparison to the total number of slots and table games gamblers can play. In the offline (land-based) casino world, big jackpots happen every once in a while and they are always big news. We wrote an article on Mega Moolah vs Megabucks - comparing the big jackpots won in Vegas to Mega Moolah's jackpot payouts. You may be surprised if you read the article.
With the success of Mega Moolah hopefully we'll see game developers make more progressive jackpot games in the near future.
5. Wider acceptance of cryptocurrency
We follow cryptocurrency quite extensively at MegaMoolah.com. We do so because we believe in the importance of having the freedom to play at online casinos using crypto. In the last 12 months we have observed a growing number of new casino operators focusing their attentions exclusively on cryptocurrency deposits. Others that did not previously except cryptocurrency are now accepting bitcoins, litecoins, and others alongside traditional banking options.
We would not be surprised if the trend continues in 2019. Despite most major cryptocurrencies undergoing correction at the tail end of 2018, there are indications that the major coins will stabilize sooner rather than later. Should that happen as predicted, it is likely that more casinos will get on board with platforms like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero.
The only question in this regard is whether gambling licensees will willingly deal in multiple cryptocurrencies. Some probably will while others will likely convert all cryptocurrency deposits into Bitcoin and go from there. Needless to say there are pros and cons to each approach. Read our Bitcoin 101 : How to buy and sell bitcoin article if interested in acquiring some.
6. Games built on blockchain
Delving into the arena of cryptocurrency has given some game developers a better understanding of blockchain technology. As a result, we are just now beginning to see games that rely on blockchain as core elements of their infrastructure. In other words, we expect some new games to be built on a blockchain foundation in 2019 rather than developers looking to blockchain only for cryptocurrency payments.
If you have read any of our past posts discussing blockchain and how it works, you already have a basic understanding of how a casino game could be built using a platform like Ethereum. We will not go as far as to say that a large number of games will be built on blockchain in 2019, but we expect to see at least a few. Game developers have to figure out if blockchain can do what they want it to do.
7. An emphasis on mobile-friendly
The success of any online gambling site in 2019 is really contingent upon mobile access. As more people are turning away from desktop and laptop PCs in favour of doing all their online work using a smartphone or tablet, gambling operators are going to have to keep up. To that end, we expect to see a greater emphasis on mobility for 2019.
Sites that previously have not allowed mobile play of any type will be forced to embrace mobility if they expect to survive. Those that have offered mobility limited only to iOS and Android apps will be looking to set aside those apps in favour of HTML 5 games capable of being played in mobile browsers.
Tying all of this together is the fact that Google now maintains a mobile-first index for ranking websites. The internet giant has also officially stated that mobility is now a ranking factor. These two things combined will force casino operators to really put an effort into mobility - both in the games they offer and the search marketing practices they use to promote their sites.
8. More liberal regulations
Finally, we expect to see more national governments adopting a liberal regulatory mindset when it comes to online gambling. Though a few limited jurisdictions will most certainly maintain ironclad restrictions, other countries that currently allow gambling would be more open to online operations.
Sweden is one example where this is now playing out. In an attempt to promote online gambling as a competitor to domestic land-based casinos, Sweden recently began licensing international operators looking to start running sites there. Sweden is committed to breaking up the gambling monopoly that domestic operators have enjoyed for years.
Other European countries are looking at Sweden as an example of how they can open up their gambling industries. Finland is one that comes to mind.
Other countries such as U.S., Australia, France, and a few others are either going down the prohibition road or setting taxes so high that no one in their right mind will want to apply for licence there.
Online gambling has changed a lot over the years. We expect to see more changes in 2019. Some of those changes will be profound enough to affect online gambling for years to come.
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.
Next article: Could 2019 be the Year of Bitcoin Gambling?