It’s been an exciting decade for fans of the casino. In a relatively short space of time they have seen a plethora of new ways to enjoy their favourite games so now there truly is 24 hour gaming and, best of all, it can be enjoyed from wherever there is an internet connection.
From its earliest days it was easy to see that online gaming was set to grow because, as soon as it began to become popular, more and more big players started to move in to the sector. Very soon new games were being introduced and increasingly easier ways to engage with their sites were developed. So what originally started as a PC-based entertainment soon became playable on mobile devices and the big growth area now seems to be in using the boom in virtual reality to help re-create the authentic casino experience.
Already many online casino operators offer a live experience in which players pit their wits against others in what’s effectively a video conference call but VR promises to take this on to the next level entirely.
But what effect is this having on the land-based casinos that, for so many decades, have been the key outlet for those who enjoy the thrill of gaming?
Well from a purely numerical point of view there is evidence to suggest that this is a sector that’s also doing well and increasing its customer base. For example figures suggest that between 2010 and 2015 attendance for land-based casinos increased by 3.6 million.
However there are also clear indications that this has not been a nationwide phenomenon but has been concentrated on London which not only has the highest density of population in the UK but is also by far the most popular tourist destination. So it’s believed that around 80% of this growth of attendance has come from the capital’s casinos while those in Scotland, Wales and the Midlands have seen attendances fall.
What’s more, much of this growth comes from two of the biggest casinos in London, the Hippodrome in Leicester Square and Aspers in Stratford, East London so even some of the smaller London casinos may well not be enjoying this boom.
So the bottom line, according to figures produced from the UK Gambling Commission, is that gross yields from land-based casinos have been on a steady decline over the last few years, falling from over £1.1 billion in 2013-2014 to £998 million in 2015-16.
The same set of figures show that not only does online gambling raise considerably more in revenue but that in period between April 2015 and March 2016 it generated a staggering £4.46 billion in gross yield.
What’s more, it’s a trend that’s likely to continue as more and more people choose to play online from the comfort of their own homes instead of heading out to the casino. Top online casino operators such as 888casino have really nailed their strategy by pushing new trends such as live casino and immersive slots throughout their site showing other operators how it’s done.
With the ever-improving nature of the experience and the online operators’ ability to react quickly to new trends it also means they’re ideally placed to build on this momentum.
But there are always going to be people who will want the thrill of the real casino experience. So, looking to the future, there’s sure to always be room for both of these very different experiences to be enjoyed.