Possibly the most exciting thing about the iGaming industry in the USA is that it was possible to bet online at all. It was not very long ago at all that it was impossible to do so.
Online Sports Betting
So, the fact that online sports gambling of some form or another is now legal in 30 US states (if you include horse racing) is, in itself, great news for players who like to place a wager. Since the 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court to strike down the 1992 federal act that banned commercial sports betting in most states, there has been a massive shift in what is and is not legal across the USA. The 1961 Wire Act is still in place, however, and this means that online betting can only be extended to residents of the state where the gambling is happening.
It is an ever-changing scene as regulators seek to capitalize on the opportunities that iGaming can bring to their state. The big news last year was New York; it could be California or Nevada this year.
It is still amusing to many people that Nevada, which was the only legal place to gamble for so long, has been slow in legalizing online gambling. Its reluctance might be due to a fear that it will affect the land-based industries, but New Jersey has found that the two can work side by side.
New Jersey was the first state to make online casino sites legal back in 2013. These sites pull in huge revenues (up to $80 million a month) for the Garden State, and the figures are increasing. While iGaming covers every aspect of online gambling, some of the really exciting innovations are taking place at the new online casinos. The definition of a new online casino is very much newly arrived in the USA rather than necessarily a brand-new start-up. Many platforms and games providers have been operating in other countries worldwide and are now bringing their games and platforms for Americans to enjoy.
One of the most exciting options that is becoming available to residents in some US states is to be able to play against a live dealer. Evolution is the big name in this market. They have production studios around the world, so it is always possible to find a live game of roulette, blackjack, or whatever you fancy any time of the night or day. Rather than visiting a bricks-and-mortar casino, the player can get the same experience from their home. They are not playing against a machine or an algorithm but a real dealer alongside other players in their homes. There is not just one fixed camera, so players get the impression of actually being there. The production values are high, meaning this is a hyper-real experience. Evolution also offers corporate rooms where companies can set up private games for their staff or clients.
Virtual Reality is going to make for an even more immersive online casino experience. VR has been promised as being the breakthrough tech for many years, but now Virtual Reality’s time does seem to be here. VR accessories are now readily available for people to buy, and the price is no longer prohibitive. While VR casinos are still low in number, it is only a matter of time before they will become the new normal. The accessories are becoming smaller, and there are now stand-alone headsets. The Apple headset is expected to shift the market, which is due to hit the shelves sometime later this year. They are also promising a smaller, sleeker version in 2023. Once the hardware is in peoples’ hands (or on their heads), the software developers will be ready to whisk gamblers to a virtual online casino from the comfort of their own homes. Net Entertainment, one of the industry’s leading software providers, has recently demoed a VR version of one of its online slot machine games. They have created a VR version of Jack and the Beanstalk, and players loved it. It cannot be long before they release more VR versions of their other popular slots.
Betting on a smartwatch is now totally possible. Not long ago, placing bets or playing games on a cell phone or tablet seemed incredibly ‘out there.’ With the introduction of clever apps, smartwatches are set to take over as an even more convenient and easily accessible option. It has been predicted that the worldwide smartwatch industry will be worth $33 billion in 2022. Wearable technology is popular because it is convenient and has multiple uses.
Gaming software developers are creating new games and apps that can be integrated across all devices. While the smaller smartwatch screen may take some getting used to, having a slot machine or games table on their wrist is an irresistible option for some players. The trend will be to combine the best interactive gaming systems with the traditional charm of a land-based casino with wining and dining options available. In addition, there is talk of third-party tie-ups between casino and restaurant brands to give the user the full take-away, home casino experience.
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