Over the last two decades, the gambling industry has evolved. The growth of the internet has pulled gambling out of the traditional smoky betting parlours and exuberant casinos, making it more accessible to regular people in the process.
It is not a change that has gone unnoticed. Online gambling accounts for about a third of all bets placed in the United Kingdom, outstripping betting shops, slot machines, and even the National Lottery in the process.
The internet has played a key role in this change. However, that alone has not been the sole contributing factor.
The Early Days
The gambling industry has traditionally taken to new technology fairly quickly. The introduction of the internet saw a quick rise in online gambling sites. These original websites gained popularity, but they hit a ceiling fairly quickly. Online gambling drew punters, however, slow internet speeds meant that websites often couldn’t provide the immediacy of more traditional gambling options. Further, many were wary of security in the early days of the internet, so many who would later go on to enjoy online betting shied away from it in its formative years.
The introduction of broadband internet sparked the evolution of the online betting community. No longer hamstrung by dial-up internet connections, betting sites could offer consumers more choice than ever before.
Gambling sites grew, offering everything from online slot machines through to betting on sporting events. The security issue became less of a concern too. Payment processors, such as PayPal, added that extra layer of security that many punters were looking for and many betting sites implemented various levels of encryption to ensure more direct payments stayed safe.
So, broadband opened the way for online betting to become the predominant form of gambling in the United Kingdom. However, it was the introduction of a new device by Apple that boosted the online industry to the top of the heap.
The Age of the Smartphone
Apple’s first iPhone was revolutionary for so many reasons. Essentially a computer in the palm of your hand, the iPhone offered users the chance to use the internet while out and about in much the same way as they could at home.
As smartphones grew in popularity, so too did the technology behind them. Websites began focusing on developing towards mobile users, with many electing to use mobile apps to capture those who wanted to game or access company services on the go.
As usual, the gambling industry was one of the first to take note of this. As soon as the technology was capable, we saw the first mobile apps dedicated to betting.
Leading United Kingdom bookmakers soon saw the potential of this new wave of technology and adapted to it. Betting stores and traditional websites could not rival the convenience offered by being able to place a bet anywhere in the world and check up on it whenever you felt the need. Today, you can access betting apps from practically any bookmaker, covering all aspects of gambling.For example, you can download the William Hill app here and start placing bets immediately.
It is the instantaneous nature of mobile apps, perhaps more than anything else, that has helped the growth of online gambling. As the internet and its related technologies evolve, it is likely that the betting industry will do the same. It is interesting to see what effect, if any, the rise of VR technology will have on the industry. For now, though, smartphones and mobile apps continue to lead the way.