COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the gambling industry as we knew it. It seems like this was just the start of that evolution. Even after the pandemic ends and people are free to go to land-based casinos, things will probably be different. Most people won’t want to mingle and stay too close to other people.
That’s where digital convergence could step in. It is the only way for the industry to exist nowadays and in the post-pandemic period. Let’s take a look at how the industry is preparing for this period.
- COVID-19 is changing the gambling industry as we know it
- Digital convergence is the right way to go
- Online betting’s future will shape according to technology
A Closer Look at Digital Convergence in Online Gambling
What is Digital Convergence?
It is the process where technological advances allow digital media content to be shared cross-platform, cross-device, and cross-network.
How Digital Convergence has Affected the Gambling Scene
Well, to start with, it allowed land-based casinos to go online, back in the day. Then, the whole brick-and-mortar casino experience went digital, with the introduction of elements that created the most similar experience through Live Dealer options.
It also took the gambling experience to mobile devices. All games can be played via smartphones or tablets, regardless of their operating systems.
And, now, during the pandemic, it has permitted the industry to reinvent itself. From the looks of it, this is happening with the (re)introduction of electronic table games, as we saw a few weeks ago.
In the meantime, we have seen examples of blurred lines between gaming and gambling. That’s also a result of digital convergence and developers’ unlimited access to data, information, and other resources. The lines are blurred when it comes to loot boxes, eSports and social casino games, sometimes even lottery.
Darwin L. King, a scholar that investigates the relationship between modern technology and gaming, and has published numerous works on the topic, explained to his colleagues:
Hybrid gambling activities have adopted features of gaming and vice-versa.
Darwin L. King
Examples of Digital Convergence
We just mentioned that Live Casinos, electronic table games, and in-game video gambling have one thing in common: they are all an example of digital convergence. Let’s see in detail how and why.
Live Dealer Gaming
Live Dealer games are the perfect products that bring together the best of both the land-based and the online gambling worlds. You play online, but you feel like you’re at a land-based casino.
What’s more, you can play on the go through smartphones and tablets. It is a direct result of digital convergence. You can gamble wherever you want, whenever you want, thanks to advances in technology.
Electronic Table Games (ETG)
ETG options allow you to play table games and skill-based games on the casino floor, in your own gaming station, and with a live dealer at your disposal. This gambling option is a convergence of digital and live gaming.
The ETGs have a dealer who manages a virtual table and allows the few players to interact with her or him directly.
Video Game Gambling
One of the most popular types of digital convergence is in-game gambling in a video game. Take PlayStation’s GTA Diamond Casino & Resort, for example.
It is a video game that takes you to an actual casino establishment where you can play roulette, slot machines, blackjack, and other popular titles. Clothing, discounts on cars, and virtual GTA dollars are the rewards you can get, but you can also use real money to exchange it for virtual cash if you want to play at the tables.
Technology Will Shape the Future of Online Gambling
As we just saw, technology has been changing the online gambling industry, and it will continue to do so, hopefully for the better, just like it did so far. Going back, it has helped players get closer to a real land-based casino experience while playing online, from the commodity of their homes, or taking their gameplay on the go with mobile devices.
Considering all of that, it is not hard to think about the industry’s future as a bright one, where technological trends meet the players’ demands. With this in mind, we can only look forward to the future.