2019 in Review – Did Online Casinos Change or was it More of the Same

by on March 25, 2020

The multi-billion dollar global online casino industry continues to grow with every passing year as new jurisdictions open their doors to legalized online gambling. All stakeholders in the global online gaming industry are constantly looking for new ways to upgrade their products and services. 

They are aware that the only way to stay ahead of the competition and compete for market share is to innovate constantly and use cutting-edge technology to stand out from their competitors. 

Most of the major iGaming operators have had a good year in 2019. The future of online gambling looks bright but regulation could temper innovation as regulators struggle to understand the influence of new technologies

We now take a key look at the major changes that the top online casinos in the world have incorporated during 2019 to give their players variety, innovation and more options.

Embracing Cryptocurrencies: The number of iGaming operators who have started accepting cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment has increased significantly during 2019. In the past, online casinos have been open to accepting Bitcoin which is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world but have been hesitant to add other cryptocurrencies. 

This has changed during the course of this year as iGaming operators have added more cryptocurrency options to their online casinos mode of payment. Cryptocurrencies give online players a number of advantages including the ability to remain anonymous and not share their personal or financial information with the online casino. Players now find it a lot easier to use different cryptocurrencies to make deposits and withdrawals at their favourite online casinos. 

Virtual Reality Games: iGaming operators have been looking to target millennials for the last few years and get them to start playing regularly at their online casinos. Millennials have shied away from traditional online casino games including slots and table games as they were looking for something that was more exciting and mentally stimulating. 

Some of the top iGaming operators in the world have focused on virtual reality (VR) this year by setting aside a significant budget for VR research. Leading game developers have also hired top notch VR talent to help them develop innovative and unique VR games. 

PokerStars, which is the biggest online poker operator in the world has its own department known as PokerStars VR which concentrates solely on VR technologies and games. PokerStars VR came out with a new VR game called ‘Spies’ in November 2019 and players from around the world have been very impressed with this new VR game. 

A number of other online gaming operators have been working on their own VR games and will soon follow PokerStars and launch a whole range of VR games.

Crackdown On Bots: One of the major challenges that online casinos have faced in the last few years was an increase in bots which are automated programs that infiltrate online casinos and compete against other players who are completely unaware that they are at a disadvantage as they are playing against a software program and not another player.

Many of the top iGaming operators have paid special attention to getting rid of bots in 2019 and their efforts have paid-off in not only getting rid of suspicious accounts but also letting their player know that the online casino was interested in protecting them from being exploited by these automated programs. 

Partypoker and the Winning Poker Network (WPN) which are two of the most popular online gaming sites in the world have closed hundreds of bot accounts in 2019 and confiscated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More Emphasis On Player Feedback: In the past, some of the major iGaming operators have been guilty of making changes to their online casino policies, reward programs and line-up of games without taking into consideration the views of their players. This has often backfired for iGaming operators as players have protested and claimed that their voices are not heard.

Things have certainly been a lot better in 2019 in this regard as iGaming operators have learnt from their mistakes and have made an effort to establish better lines of communication between management and players. The open channels of communication have help both online casinos and players as iGaming operators get first hand feedback on what players like and dislike. They can then make an informed decision as to what changes they need to implement to make their online casino more effective and player friendly. 

More Legalized Jurisdictions: Perhaps the biggest change that online casinos have experienced in 2019 is that more jurisdictions around the world are opening their doors to legalized online gambling. America is a great example of this as more than 10 states in 2019 have legalized sports betting and there are a number of other states who reviewing sports betting bills and discussing whether they should legalize sports betting in the coming year.

Legalized online gambling provides players with better protection as they no longer have to go to unlicensed sites and gamble. In the past, a number of these unlicensed sites have taken advantage of players by conning them out of their money or not paying their winnings. Most players have kept silent and endured their losses as they know that they have no means to recourse since they were playing at an illegal online gaming site.  

Legalized online gambling also creates another stream of income for state governments as they can collect taxes on online gaming revenues. State governments also make money from online casino license fees and benefit from the creation of online gaming jobs in the state.

Improved Services: A number of online gaming operators have updated and upgraded their gaming portfolio in 2019 to provide players with the latest online casino games in the market. iGaming operators have also taken steps to focus on responsible gambling by making sure they have their self-exclusion programs in place and to also fund responsible gambling initiatives. 

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