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Are online brands making traditional casinos redundant?

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Since the pandemic, when we think about casinos, we now think to play online slots for real money, not heading down to the local establishment. It wasn’t just the gambling industry that lockdowns digitalised, because most services and commerce were migrated to the online world. 

But, the highstreet has been suffering for years now, whether it’s clothes shops, furniture, or bookmakers. This is a trend that has been occurring long before the pandemic, because there is one thing that is increasingly desired: convenience.

Market size

Online gambling and betting as a worldwide industry was valued at $61 billion in 2021 and is set to increase to $114.4 billion in 2028. This is almost a doubling in 7 years, and it’s brought on by a few different factors. First and foremost, though, it’s important to point out the global nature of these statistical reports; they’re global because that’s how online gambling works – we can use websites from around the world. Of course, licensing still exists and grey market sites based overseas should be avoided, but clearly the global nature of gamblers is what’s helping propel the industry forward, as opposed to being limited to your local town’s casino.

What do online casinos offer that traditional casinos don’t?

There are a few factors behind the success of online casinos. Firstly, they’re accessible from anywhere and at any time. This was prevalent during lockdown when physical casinos were closed whilst websites obviously remained open. But it was true even 10 years ago – people enjoy being able to access their entertainment and hobbies with a click of the button.

Furthermore, many people live in areas where physical casinos don’t exist or are illegal, meaning online was the only option. Plus, a trip to the casino feels like an ordeal; it’s a proper night out. Many people just want to play slots for half an hour and then go to sleep.

It’s not just convenience that gives online casinos an edge, though. They truly do offer something unique and of higher quality in relation to the games they offer. Whilst traditional casinos offer the same handful of traditional games in the past century or two, online casinos are driven by innovation. New games are introduced every day.

Moreover, beyond the sheer choice of games, there are interesting new capabilities with an online game. It’s possible to play media, program new dynamics and rules of the game, as well as themes, settings, characters, and story modes. This introduces an element of personalization, where players can really pick a game that appeals to them as opposed to settling for what’s in front of them.

Will traditional casinos go extinct?

Traditional casinos will never be fully competed out of the market for a few reasons. Firstly, they do offer some unique selling points too, such as a real atmosphere with real dealers. Now, online casinos have squashed this USP a bit, as VR headsets can replicate atmospheres with real players, and websites also have live dealer games. But, they will never be as real as the real thing, of course.

Secondly, tourism is still a thing. For as long as people head to Vegas on holiday, casinos will sill get business. Sure, it’s more of a nightlife event than it is a regular hobby, though poker tables are still enjoyed by serious players of course. In fact, it’s thought that poker tables in casinos are easier than online, where everyone seems to be a math wizard.

What can traditional casinos do to keep up?

Something that traditional casinos need to get better at is innovation and games. Many of our favorite casino games are now online games that cannot be played in a traditional setting. This is an issue.

One consideration is for traditional casinos to have an online platform themselves. This way, they can offer the best of both worlds, and focus on integration between the two. For example, sign-up offers often lead to winnings, but the winnings should be able to be exchanged in the physical casino to entice more business. Loyalty schemes could be shared between the settings.

Many traditional casinos will not have the means to start an entire online casino and the subsequent marketing efforts that are involved. But, they could still partner with other online casinos and offer online games inside the physical casino on terminals. This way, our favorite games can be offered in-shop, and perhaps even VR experiences inside the casino too. The point is, any sort of innovation is better than being left behind.

Final Word

The online casino industry is booming at a time when physical casinos hit an all-time low. This is somewhat of a temporary challenge in that tourism and social distancing is only just getting back to normal in most countries. But, the trend is long-term and more substantial than this, as it’s rooted in convenience and game choice. Traditional casinos need to continue offering their USP whilst integrating more of what online casinos offer inside their establishments. Namely, innovation and bonuses.

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