Predicting the big online casino trends for 2019
From bigger and better VR to more choice in your online slots, what can we expect from internet casinos in 2019?
The number of players hitting their mobile phones and laptops to play casino games rose in 2018.
With that in mind, what could 2019 bring for online casino players as developers try to make the virtual casino as attractive as possible?
The rise and rise of VR technology
The first truly VR (virtual reality) casino games haven't really got past the prototype stage.
NetEnt showcased a 3D VR version of their hit slot, Jack & the Beanstalk, in 2017, but the game hasn't been developed into a bona fide release.
At the same time, Microgaming have been developing a VR roulette game, complete with customisable backgrounds, where asteroids crash into the players during the game.
But VR technology got cheaper and cheaper in 2018. This year, sales of VR headsets pushed over the 4m mark. In 2019, they are set to grow to 6m worldwide.
VR poker is already on its way. If casino developers can find a way to make VR roulette and VR blackjack quick and seamless, the first games could find their way into online casinos in 2019.
Similarly, AR (augmented reality) technology has a future in casino gambling. Already used to great effect in games like Pokemon GO, AR would allow casino players to play their favourite table games and slots whatever their surroundings.
Take control of your online slots play
For a long time, the advance of mobile phones and tablets threatened to outrun the casino software developers.
Thankfully, HTML5 and native app software have allowed slot designers to keep up. You can now find all the big new online slot releases available across multiple devices like desktop, tablet, and smartphone.
UK households now boast multiple devices under one roof. In 2018, 58% of households own a tablet, and 78% of UK adults use a smartphone. Nine in ten people have access to the internet at home.
With so many devices under one roof, it's important that casino players can chop and change as they play. Some developers are now letting players stop playing a slot on one device and picking up where they left off on a desktop PC.
Players also want more choice on their slots mechanics. We are already seeing customisable online slots where players get to choose the volatility, their bonuses, and how the game looks. Expect more of those types of games in 2019.
And with more players gambling on slots online and on mobile, expect those progressive jackpots to get even bigger. The world record for a progressive jackpot was smashed in 2018. There's no reason why the record won't be broken again in 2019.
Bigger and better live casino games
Live Casino games allow you to play real-life table games against real-life dealers. You can even talk to the dealer in real time using the on-screen chatbox.
Live Casino software has improved over recent years with advances in OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Every card that is dealt or roulette wheel that is spun is tracked by a camera and converted into information displayed on the player's screen.
With swifter live streams and better HD displays, Live Dealer games offer a more immersive experience than ever.
Live streaming to get bigger
And on the subject of live streams, we predict a rise in casino players broadcasting their game sessions online. Streaming platforms like Twitch are already hugely popular with gamers and poker players.
But in 2018, big slots players have also begun using live streams to show off their big winning sessions or to review the latest games. With eager fans willing to pay a subscription, we could see Twitch becoming the go-to place for online casino players.