Gambling and technology are closely intertwined. As technology develops, the casino industry changes and it’s been that way for longer than many people realize. That’s because the history of gambling goes back further than most people automatically assume.
The earliest six-sided dice we have a record of came from Mesopotamia and date back to 3000BC. These dice, however, were based on astragali (knucklebones used in games), which were already used in games for thousands of years before then. Gambling houses and betting on fighting animals were popular in China around 200BC, and around the 10th-century lotto games and dominoes appeared, followed by playing cards in the 9th century. Far from being the scourge of the modern era, gambling can be traced to 14th century Japan; poker derives from a Persian game As-Nas from the 17th century, and the first known casino, the Ridotto, opened in Venice, Italy, in 1638.
Gambling houses, saloons and betting shops were and still are established, banned, and legalized again at different times and in different countries throughout history. Changing social attitudes and changing technology always affected the gambling industry, but the invention and the rise of the Internet altered the game more profoundly than anything before then. Fast forward to the years proceeding 1995, when the internet became truly widely used, at least among mainstream businesses – internet accessibility altered many industries, from music to retail, to publishing, and travel. Adequately, the gambling industry has also adapted to technology and moved online.
The development of smartphones helped to popularise online gambling, especially when mobile applications for casinos, betting, and lottery became available and easily accessible from the Playstore, Google Play, or websites like Playcasino. Easy access to online gambling was expedited even further when tablets came on the market. Technology doesn’t only improve the devices people use for gambling, it also plays a role in the development of new games, as well as casino websites themselves. Online poker dominated the scene of online gambling for years, but hundreds of new games entered the market since then.
With these developments driving competition, land-based casinos and betting shops faced and still face challenges. How do they safeguard their own relevance? The brick and mortar structures already hold a small advantage over online gambling in that players can physically touch the chips, cards, or the table and truly experience the atmosphere of a casino. Embracing technology in the form of betting kiosks for placing bets, for example, means that gambling in land-based casinos is still comparably convenient, but it also provides an opportunity for socialization.
Security is another area where technology is affecting the gambling industry both online and on the ground. Cryptocurrency is a good example of a technology that is still in its infancy among the average user, but which creates the potential for increased transparency, which is very important in online gambling. Having to use a credit card while gambling online has long been considered a disadvantage because it is often associated with cybercrime like data theft or incorrect payouts, both of which can be solved with the use of crypto. Despite these advantages though, many players still stick to using credit cards instead. Both online and land-based casinos benefit from other developments, for example, software like NORA (Non-Obvious Relationship Analysis) is used in both online and land based casinos because it is able to flag any suspicious activity to the operators.
Many more developments have taken place and have an impact on our gambling experience. New technology appears almost daily and the changes in the gambling industry follow it closely so we are likely to see significant changes in both spheres over the coming years.