Emerging tech and iGaming have always gone hand in hand, with online gaming platforms utilizing new tech to improve user experience, provide more realistic gaming options and enhance safety and security, but which new technologies are currently the most popular in the iGaming and online gambling sectors in Europe?
European Market Growth Post-COVID
While the COVID-19 pandemic caused a reduction in gambling revenue on the continent, (mainly due to the closure of land-based casinos), Europe has in fact seen 19% growth in the online gambling sector, as iGaming and online gambling continue to thrive at an unprecedented rate. In particular, the German online gambling sector has seen unparalleled growth and is expected to generate gaming revenue of €3.3 billion by 2024, up from €2.2 billion in 2019. In Germany, the most notable growth has occurred in online casinos and sports betting sites, which account for respective rates of 10.6% and 18.6% from 2018 to 2019 – this has been propelled by the signing of the 2021 Interstate Treaty on Gambling, which saw previously prohibited ‘games of chance’ (such as poker and slots) legalized under a new regulatory framework. Under the new legislation, the best online casinos in Germany are accessible not only for Germans, but also for offshore players.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR gaming has become increasingly popular in Europe in 2022, having first made a major impact with the Pokemon GO phenomenon in 2016. Unlike VR (which often requires a headset or separate room space), AR games work by introducing visuals and audio from the game into the player’s physical environment, often superimposing game visuals via a smartphone screen.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR has been around in one form or another since 1968, but recent technological innovations have seen the tech become far more accessible and cost-effective for casual gamers. Virtual reality has
an impact on several aspects of life, but lately has grown in popularity amongst digital gambling platforms in Europe, as they are now offering their members access to a range of VR gaming options, which only continue to grow each year. By playing online casino games via your VR headset, you can enjoy an immersive and interactive 3D experience whilst more easily recognizing physical ‘tells’ in other players when playing table games and live dealer games for real money.
Described as the future of computer gaming, the Metaverse is one of the most transformative new technologies to have been utilized in the iGaming and online casino sectors in Europe and indeed across the world. Essentially, the metaverse is an extension of VR and AR, in which users can move between a potentially endless network of digital 3D environments – as well as experience an immersive 3D world via their headset, players may interact with other users (via avatars), trade, accumulate and buy items thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. There are already dedicated metaverse casinos on the market where players can move through game lobbies and enjoy live table gaming in the parallel metaverse reality.
Blockchain & Crypto
While recent years have seen an increase in the number of online casinos and iGaming sites enabling transactions via digital payment providers like Skrill and PayPal, the rise of
blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies has had a transformative effect on the iGaming sector in Europe. As a type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), blockchain tech is used to record real money transactions made online and assign them with a unique signature, known as a hash. Blockchain provides casinos and iGaming sites with a reliable way to verify individual users and players are able to make more secure real money wagers and deposits when playing online. Blockchain tech has facilitated the current cryptocurrency boom, in which popular coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC), Binance Coin (BNB) and Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are widely used by iGamers to make secure payments and transactions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Although AI technology is still relatively new and in its early stages of development, it has already proven extremely useful for online casinos and iGaming providers in Europe, mainly as a tool for identifying problematic gambling behaviors, implementing ‘cool-off’ periods in aid of responsible gambling and improving safety and customer support. AI tech has become increasingly sophisticated to the point where programs can even beat humans in a game of poker – this obviously holds untold potential when it comes to iGaming and the online gambling industry.
In the same way that smartphones have come to dominate the online gambling industry, gambling using a smartwatch is a big trend in 2022 that looks set to continue in the coming years. While small smartwatch screens may not be suitable for all online games, it’s certainly possible to enjoy a range of iGaming and casino options on your next generation smartwatch, from slot machines to blackjack, baccarat and video poker.
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