Since 2008 the online gambling industry has gradually risen in popularity, and in places like Australia and New Zealand land-based Pokies machine revenues have begun to decline as a result. It’s not that people aren’t gambling anymore, it’s that they are changing their methods of gambling.
There are a lot of benefits players get from online gambling, such as the ability to compete against anyone across the world (provided it’s legal in the area), no travel expenses in getting to venues and more diversified playing options. Gamers are also part of the new digital age where the Internet of Things and Culture provides unprecedented convenience, choice and diversity, so entering a virtual platform where things are just a click or tap away is increasingly the norm for people.
This trend is occurring in places that allow online gambling games and is bound to follow in other areas as well, as laws related to online gambling are loosening and competition is intensifying. Amid the change in laws also come more and more gaming opportunities that offer players around the world to engage in man vs. Machine type games as well as multiplayer games, which have been popular for years. Inevitably this trend will grow and make an impact in the market, which online gambling developers will need to address as well as other land-based casinos.
However, this does not mean the industry will completely shift to online platforms. A lot of people who gamble or play games such as pokies go to venues for an experience they otherwise would not get in their homes. A casino is a place where people can take in a show, get a good meal, stay in nice hotels and chat with friends. The experience is much different than from staying at home.
Casinos also cater to other niches such as for the elderly that are probably not even used to using a computer, and are a place to pass the time and provide social settings for people to enjoy themselves.
Casinos will continue to have niches in the market but are likely to take a hit in earnings unless they continue to find incentives to entice players to their land-based facilities. Their earnings may also be affected or at least comparatively smaller to the amounts online gambling will take in over the next 10 years, as online games also pair up with advertisement companies in addition to other various online affiliate programs. Casinos will no doubt have to re-think their strategy.
After all, this is the digital age and many industries such as the newspaper industry are turning away from hardcopy products to digital platforms to meet the needs of current market demand. But as more traditional users are still around and tourism in places like New Zealand and Australia where gambling demand still exists in the market is still an important niche, will the need for land-based venues remain?
There are market observers that predict within another 20-30 years, if not sooner, most gaming facilities will switch to online platforms. This doesn’t mean that casinos would lose their entire industry; rather, switch to developing online games. Venues could be a problem though and it is currently difficult to assess the trend in detail so far away, but it is a highly likelihood.
It is also quite possible that gambling industries instead will further make their way into emerging markets, provided local laws allow such moves. In such places, economies are what they were in Western nations about 20-30 years ago, so it is plausible that if casinos can adapt to these trends as well as meet new demand in local industries they will be able to sustain their business models, avoiding a monopoly of the online industry over gambling facilities. However, this means that empty land-based venues would exist in the casino brand’s country of origin but the hit would be relatively smaller.
In one form or the other the casino industry will manage to find a way to keep thriving overall, but land-based casino facilities may only be a thing of the past if the Internet of Culture keeps developing the way it does. Then again, places such as China do not allow gambling outside of Macau and tourists are increasingly going to places such as New Zealand and Australia where such facilities are a novelty, so in one way the industry could thrive without the demand of local players at land-based casinos.
Whatever happens, change is occurring in the industry and venues will have to adapt just as other industries have. It would be naïve for the casinos to think that land-based venues will be around forever, but then again perhaps we are all naïve to think otherwise as the traditions and social parameters associated with the games go far back into history and culture. Time will tell.