How Will the Pandemic Change Technology for the Gambling Industry?
While online casinos have continued to operate amid the global pandemic, land-based operators have suffered. Moving forward, there are likely to be changes made across the entire industry. Here, let’s analyze the innovations that could be made by NetEnt casino sites and other companies within the industry.
The Top NetEnt Casinos
In 2020 and 2021, Swedish software provider NetEnt has continued to produce a healthy output of video slots, progressive jackpots, and casino games. NetEnt casinos have thrived and this casino software provider has produced some of the best games in the company’s history. There is no getting away from the quality that can now be found at the top NetEnt casino sites online.
Since March 2020, when COVID-19 struck, NetEnt has kept releasing new games while also securing partnerships with fellow companies in the iGaming industry. A new arrangement was struck with Red Tiger in March 2020 while arrangements were made for NetEnt to enter the Swiss, Croatian, and Columbian markets, among others.
As for the most recent NetEnt news headlines, the Swedish-based developer has announced the release of major new games for 2021. Hot on the heels of entering the Michigan market, NetEnt completed the launch of Fruit Shop Megaways. Just to explain, Megaways is a specialized feature that is provided under license from Big Time Gaming. The two parties collaborated a month later for the unveiling of Divine Fortune Megaways.
Gambling Activity Rises in 2020
In a series of interviews conducted by iGaming Business, the media outlet drew COVID-related opinions from a range of experienced professionals. When asked to consider 2020, it was mentioned that there could be conflicting movements regarding licensing and regulation, with Coronavirus acting as a catalyst due to forcing people to remain at home during lockdowns.
In parts of the world where online gambling has been widely legalized, including Sweden and the UK, there are concerns that players need to receive greater protection. And this is to counter the impact of players having more time on their hands due to staying home. In some cases, players are paid to stay at home because they cannot do their jobs remotely. Often, the players are receiving diminished funds from the government and need to manage their money more effectively.
While gaming and betting can be entertaining pastimes, a balance needs to be found between protecting players and generating profits and taxable revenue. On the flip-side, less regulated markets such as Canada and the US are now considering the establishment of licensing structures that can introduce new operators into the marketplace and help to generate taxes to mitigate the loss of traditional revenue streams.
Improving the User Experience
During the iGaming interview series, a couple of the participants highlighted that some organizations are upping their efforts online, what with land-based efforts being stymied. As an example, there are US states where land-based casinos can partner with remote operators in a relationship that can benefit both parties.
With the volume of players increasing, online casinos have to face the challenge of scalability, wherein appropriate resources must be devoted to acquiring bandwidth to accommodate peak levels of activity. For users, it is immensely frustrating to risk money in bets and then have to watch as the action lags. While this can be an issue for traditional online games, live dealer games can be especially impacted by insufficient bandwidth on the part of the operator.
While technical requirements must be addressed to ensure that smooth and accessible services are available, gambling operators must understand how to provide an engaging user experience that doesn’t cross the line and unintentionally cause responsible gaming behaviors. This is why online casino operators are now requiring Know Your Consumer (KYC) protocols to a greater extent than ever, while also delivering access to ever-improving responsible gaming controls.
After an early push, virtual reality (VR) is a concept that hasn’t received widespread adoption. However, NetEnt and other software providers, such as Microgaming, have produced concepts and are continuing to slowly expand in this area. With more gamers now staying at home, a new generation of VR casino sites could revolutionize the industry. While live casinos already promise immersion, VR takes the experience to a thrilling new level by making the player feel as if they really are there at the table.
Land-based casinos have suffered in an era when they already faced stiff competition from the online marketplace. Undoubtedly, some will not survive the damage caused by COVID and will be forced to close. However, there are opportunities for land-based casinos to make changes and prepare for a new market in which physical distancing will be crucial. Here are some changes that could emerge to a great extent:
- Cashless systems – Pre-COVID, there were physical casinos that players could enter and exchange cash for chips. Some casinos could ditch cash entirely and require users to pay by credit card or apps, including the likes of Apple Pay and Google Pay;
- Loyalty accounts – Online casinos find ways to reward players and one of the best examples would be loyalty clubs. While some land-based casinos will let players create accounts that track their progress and provide rewards, expect this to receive a more widespread embrace;
- App launches – Expanding on the previous point, land-based casinos can invest resources to develop apps that can help players manage their loyalty accounts or to arrange bookings with other resorts that are managed by the enterprise;
- Online casino partners – As mentioned, there are US states that require land-based casinos to share their licenses with operators that want to provide online services. In these cases, users can continue to play games from their rooms once they leave the casino floor.
The internet is filled with technological innovations and the gambling industry continues to serve as a shining example. While casino sites have already rolled out new developments, the onus is now on land-based establishments to fight back and prove that they can survive in a new marketplace.