What’s behind the gambling boom?
Over the past decade the numbers for online gambling have gone through the roof – and they’ve kept on going. From a standing start just over ten years ago the global cash gaming market has become to a $40 billion dollar industry that dominates our media space and is reshaping the world we live in.
But it didn’t just happen out of a clear blue sky, so it is worth reflecting for a moment on how this situation came about. Just what is behind the current gaming boom? Casino sites like 32Red and 888 deserve full credit for the excellence of what they have achieved – 32Red is the perfect example having been serially awarded the title of the best online casino worldwide – it was even announced as the online casino of the decade in 2010. But there is more to the global phenomenon than simply the leading practitioners’ attention to detail – this is a global phenomenon after all.
A big spike in the online gaming market has followed on from the surge in smartphone technologies. The ability to download a single app and immediately access a suite of different games has an obvious appeal – in 32Red’s case over 500 games are available.
Likewise the providers’ speed in recognising that what they have to offer is perfectly suited to the sort of bite-sized attention chunks that contemporary urbanites work with. Waiting for a train or twenty minutes down-time between meetings; it’s those dead spots in modern life that smartphones generally – and the gaming industry in particular – are a perfect match for.
Japan’s world-leading appetite for mobile technology means they are at the leading edge of this revolution. Indeed, Asia generally is seen as a major growth area for established gaming companies who have already achieved significant market penetration in the West. The lack of land-based casinos in Japan is perhaps a further reason why the opportunity to play online is being taken up quite so energetically – it’s a lot more convenient than a trip to Macau, after all!
Although the big numbers that are attached to the global gaming industry inevitably reflect some serious high-spending big rollers, the bulk of the smartphone surge has come on the back of more limited, ‘pocket money’ wagers.
The boom is not the result of a sudden turn to big money gambling, rather it is a reflection of the general public’s appetite for a casual flutter as a form of entertainment in its own right. The short term pick up and put down nature of the technology is balanced by a bits and pieces approach to wagering.
What the smartphone technologies appear to have exposed is a universal predilection for games that balance risk and reward with real-money stakes. In a sense this is as much a psychological revolution as it is a technological one. It appears to span the gaming horizon – casino gaming is surging alongside bingo, sports betting and poker. It almost begs the question – why do so many people feel the need for this sort of a buzz as they go about their daily lives?
That is a big question, but whatever the social scientists come up with as an answer, the blunt fact is that the surge in mobile technologies has exposed a latent appetite for gambling on a day to day basis that is clearly deep-set in the modern consciousness.
In that sense, the technological answer is only a small part of a much wider story. And as the global gaming industry continues its extravagant growth it is a story that is far from over.