The Future of Online Casinos

Online casinos have grown rapidly in popularity over recent years, particularly in the UK where the online casino industry turned over nearly half a billion pounds in 2011. The last four or five years have seen a number of companies with big existing brands enter the market and the industry has seen a rapid technological development, unmatched in nearly any other internet economy.

With no immediate signs of slowing down, despite sometimes tricky legal grounding, what will the second decade of online casinos bring us? And is there a limit to how big the industry can grow?

The answer to the first question is probably an evolution in the type of games being offered. Whilst the traditional classics such as roulette and blackjack are always popular, few games can claim the hype and attention that is afforded to Poker. Part of this is to do with the money that changes hands, but a significant element is also the skill involved and the fact that casinos make their money through taking a small amount from each pot rather than playing the customer directly.

Similar games are likely to become increasingly popular as the market grows bigger and prizes can grow bigger too. Still, the current range of games is unlikely to disappear, as casinos cater to two types of player: those on the lookout for serious money, and those who are enjoying a bit of entertainment of an evening.

As with many other things, the deciding factor will probably come from the United States where all forms of online gambling are currently illegal (apart from a couple of States who have just introduced new legislation). The US market is potentially enormous, physical casinos turn over nearly $60bn a year and a huge chunk of that could head online should laws change to permit it to do so.

The size of the market, however, may well prevent online casinos from being legalised as the physical casinos have the resources to run a very effective lobbying campaign against legalisation. Eventually, however, States without successful casinos are likely to legalise online gambling as a way to get involved in the massive revenues that it could generate.

And that is the key, if the US legalises online gambling there could be a massive proliferation of sites and players which will bring in enormous prize money. It’s hard to say what would happen in such a situation, but jackpots could go through the roof.

So, to make sure that there is at least one solid prediction of the next decade: by 2022 an online casino will have offered $100million jackpot. That’ll really get people talking.

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