Online casinos have come a long way in the last two decades since gambling software was first launched, with the boom of the industry largely developing with the turning of the millennium when it became more of a global phenomenon.
Regulations have threatened to dampen the industry after its lofty success in the early 2000s, but the current wave of new media are ensuring it is on the rise again.
Below are some of the larger changes that have supported the industry’s expansion over the years and helped players get the utmost from their experience:
Signing up to an online casino should be done with a lot of thought – after all it can only be done once. Given the choice of new sign-up bonuses on offer, waiting for the one that suits the most is fundamental.
Bonuses were initially introduced to allow new visitors to online casinos the chance to sample multiple games, without risking their own money.
Therefore, the number of different bonus options to take advantage of were minimal, but the size of each was fairly substantial. Now this has almost reversed.
Among the raft of bonus options now available to players include welcome bonuses, no-deposit bonuses, cashback bonuses, referral bonuses and loyalty bonuses.
However, the terms and conditions related to each can differ considerably depending on the casino in question. Some require a certain amount to be staked before any winnings and bonuses can be withdrawn; for others a particular number of bets have to be placed and some only apply to specific games.
One of the more memorable scenes from the film Rush Hour 2 is Chris Tucker providing some comedy gold at the craps table, ramping up the social enjoyment to cause a distraction for partner Jackie Chan.
The social experience is one of the highlights when visiting a casino, whether it be a clean sweep of winners at a blackjack table, a high-roller betting big chip stacks at roulette or even listening to sledging in a poker hand as one player attempts to get another to fold to their all-in bet.
The development of multi-player software has brought an element of this to the online environment.
No longer is blackjack a one-on one game against a dealer, friends can all join the same blackjack table to chase big winnings and enjoy each other’s company.
And multi-player isn’t just limited to blackjack, as it is also available for poker, roulette and even slots, where players can monitor the spins and victories of others in a community environment with the chance to chat like they would in a live casino.
Slot machines have naturally developed over time, whether it be the number of reels present in the one-arm bandit, to the number of different symbols to represent a winner. Unsurprisingly, another progression in the online world was the introduction of themed games.
Why wouldn’t a competitive sportsman or woman want to score a century on a cricket-themed slot machine? Why wouldn’t an adult who spent hours playing Monopoly as a child want to pass go and collect bonuses or buy Mayfair on a slot machine?
Themed games are now available in their thousands across the online world, with almost every hobby catered for. They have helped make games more fun for players, positioning the games more in common to what players enjoy.
In the same way that casino games had to be transported from a live environment to the online world, they have had to be adapted further to cater to the demands of players on the go.
Why wouldn’t a young man fancy a couple of hands of blackjack while in the middle of a three-hour train journey to see his studying girlfriend or a wife have a few roulette spins while sat in the car park as her husband gets changed after Sunday morning football?
Mobile technology is the way of the future with smartphones and tablet computers only likely to develop further. Most online casinos have now created apps to be downloaded to these devices to continue playing through a regular account.
Functionality has been quick to develop and players are being allowed even greater flexibility by the week.
As an extension of the social gains that have emerged from the launch and development of the multi-player environment, live play has taken this an additional stage further.
Real human croupiers run these games from casinos via a streaming link, with players able to interact through chat or even in some situations audio communication.
Players may not get a waitress providing drinks directly in front of a computer screen, but almost every other facet of sitting in a real casino is brought to them in the luxury of their own home.
Meanwhile, there is the added advantage of not having to wait for a space at a table.