The next big thing, some would even call it revolutionary, in gambling is expected to be the Internet of Things (IoT), which is forecast to change the gaming industry, particularly slots.
One of the key drivers for the popularity of slots is their entertainment value; integration with IoT could set the stage for a massive boom for virtual and online slot machines.
What is IoT?
Briefly, IoT can be explained as a development where electronic devices such as sensors, monitors and cameras are connected to each other through local and global networks.
This especially applies to devices that are not traditionally connected to local or internet networks.
For example, a connected refrigerator can order milk, if it senses that you are about to run out and it does all this without human input.
The Ignite Outsourcing website further explains that IoT is designed to be an interface for machine-to-machine communications, allowing small embedded electronics to send data to other devices without requiring input from a user.
It is projected that by 2020 there will be more than 20 billion devices connected.
This is a tantalizing prospect for the gambling industry, because software developers will then make more advanced games with high-class features.
Personalization of the gaming experience
In addition, IoT developers have been able to gather analytic data to help shape and improve the gaming experience to make it more attractive to players.
New high-class features will no doubt improve the user experience and entertainment value and this will certainly improve the entertainment appeal for slots.
The Power Up Gaming website says one of the more easily predictable outcomes of the intersection of the IoT and slots is the personalization of the slots experience.
Every device a player uses to access mobile slots – from smartphones to tablets and laptops – is packed with sensors capable of tracking how the player interacts with the game being played.
Personalization of the gaming experience could be one of the biggest drawcards, because analytics can tell what version of a game a player enjoys, right from the theme to the style of graphics and the type of bet they can place.
“By tracking and analyzing the right data sets, online gaming platforms can learn over time how customers interact with and respond to online games.
Much like how casinos can an analyze player reactions through facial expressions, speech, and nonverbal cues, mobile devices provide a variety of ways to measure player satisfaction during the course of a game,” it was reported.
Analytics to help expand reach
The depth of analytics and data that developers have is expected to increase the reach and reception of mobile slots.
This will in turn enable casinos to increase their popularity to an even greater extent.
“In recent years, online casinos have experienced a significant shift from desktop games to mobile games.
IoT advanced devices will help players play their favorite games without a hitch and deliver another dimension to the online gambling sphere,” it was reported.
What IoT offers, is the intersection of the physical gambling experience with the mobile experience.
Currently, casinos can only generate money from slot machines when a player is physically present, but IoT offers a chance to overcome this barrier.
Thus, casinos can collect data without needing to have a player physically present. This is a big win for the gaming industry.
Engaging and reaching out to players
“The magic of mobile gaming is that it provides an environment for players that’s comfortable, convenient, and always connected.
Game operators can keep players engaged through periodic notifications, loyalty rewards that can be redeemed immediately, and by receiving consistent feedback from players and devices.
Expanding the realm of online gaming to wearable devices and other Internet-ready devices gives game operators even more opportunities to keep players engaged,” the Ignite Outsourcing website further explained.
The potential for IoT in slot machines is truly limitless. Smart watches have made it possible for users to have micro casinos on their wrists, while augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) literally bring the casino into a gambler’s home by providing a real life-like experience.
What about privacy?
As with all conversations about data collection and analytics, there is the matter of privacy.
Questions will linger about how online casinos will balance data collection with a user’s privacy.
Touting recent reports, the Power Up Gaming website argues that “consumers of all types are willing to forgo a certain amount of privacy in return for a better experience.”
The website says research by Vanson Bourne found that 71 percent of 22 to 35 year olds may be willing to share personal data in return for better TV content.
Other research by Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association reported that 63 percent of consumers were willing to share their data in return for benefits such as exclusive deals and offers targeted at their personal interests.
“The same logic will apply to the development and marketing of online slots, with the technology of the IoT used to gather the data needed to shape an ever more personal offer,” the website said.
Online gambling set for massive boom
Online gambling is set for a massive boom, with a study by Juniper Research suggesting that a combination of increased uptake in digital products, coupled with new, positive regulation, will push the total amount placed in wagers to reach a total of $1 trillion globally in 2022.
In 2018, it was expected that online wagers would amount to $700 billion, up from about $620 billion in 2017.
“We believe new channels, such as chatbots, have the potential to drive customer engagement, through delivery of personalised offers, alongside 24/7 player support,” research author, Lauren Foye, said.
It is further forecast that by 2022, the total revenue of the gambling industry will reach $635 billion, while by next year online slots will occupy a larger section in the gambling market with revenues at 45 percent of the total income.
IoT could be the foundation for the growth of slots and the whole casino industry.