The rise of smartphones has revolutionized large parts of our lives. Indeed, so swift and disruptive has this change been that many of us haven’t had time to stop and take stock of where we’ve come in a short space of time. It’s now about a dozen years since the first iPhone was launched and in that period about 2.5 billion have invested in a device that goes far beyond being a mere communications device. How many of us now couldn’t be without our devices for a day? Do we even remember what it was like not to have all of the joys of the internet available at the touch of a button?
The rise of smartphones – and ever-better mobile internet speeds – in that period has opened up great opportunities for gambling providers. Where you once had to make a special effort to go to what’s now known as a ‘land-based casino’ – and probably had to live in a big town or city or travel to one – the power of the smartphone has removed those physical barriers.
Gambling websites now offer users a portal into a world of casino games that can all be accessed within a few clicks. Slot games can now be enjoyed on demand – making the casino experience possible on the bus on the way to work, in a café on your lunch break or even, heaven forbid, on the toilet. It’s the same trend that drives the rise in social gaming – with Facebook apps and interactive games proving an attractive way to spend time on mobiles.
Interestingly, while men still tend to be more likely to be gamblers than women, the rise of mobiles has paved the way for increasing numbers of women to gamble. Indeed, Canada is the only country in the world in which women outnumber men when it comes to online gambling. Whether it’s the ease and convenience of online gambling that attracts women – or that they’re put off by the traditional land-based casinos – it’s clear that gambling is increasingly being enjoyed by both sexes and this change shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Technology may well have provided the means, but consumers have shown that there’s a demand for providers to meet too. That’s a heady combination that is predicted to power the online gambling market from being worth $45.8 billion in 2017 to an expected $94.4 billion in 2024. That’s certainly reflected in Canada – where 18.6 million people are now said to be active gamblers and the industry brings in billions of dollars. The numbers are incredible and the serve as a dramatic result of the smartphone revolution.
Yet we shouldn’t now look back and consider ourselves to be at the end of the story. Further technological advances have the power to continue growth – with virtual reality in particular likely to be able to fuse the worlds of on and offline and giving users the chance to recreate the buzz of the casino. As long as technology moves forward, online gaming will too. The last decade-and-a-bit has shown that – and we should all be braced for further change.