Two decades have passed since the first online casino opened its virtual gates. While its capabilities were limited by the times’ technology (the first casino CDs were sent out by snail mail – I still have one hidden somewhere underneath layers of junk), the idea itself was a major success. Soon more companies followed the pioneer, giving birth to a thriving industry with a market value of more than $40 billion last year. Today more people have access to gambling games than ever, thanks to the parallel evolution of technology and regulations. But is online gambling a lifestyle, or simply a fashionable activity to keep up with the times?
A gaming habit we don’t talk about
Playing casino games at DoubleDown, Slotomania, or Big Fish Casino is a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment. Players spend a lot of money on these games on a daily basis – according to Statista, Playtika’s Slotomania has daily revenues worth almost $200,000 in the US, on iOS alone. We play these games, we share our progress on social networks, and never think of them as games of chance.
If you play top quality casino games at Royal Vegas, games built by some of the best development companies, and if you happen to play them for real money, too, you are less likely to talk about it. Although there are no public stats about how much revenue the Royal Vegas generates for its owner, its age, reputation, and service quality suggest that it’s at least as profitable as a social casino game. Its business model is different – instead of buying in-game currency for real money, like in the case of Slotomania, Royal Vegas players put their money on the line directly. And if they win, they actually get to spend the money they receive – unlike in social casinos, where wins will always stay virtual. Yet nobody talks about progress at the Royal Vegas, as if it was something to be ashamed of.
Real money online entertainment
Those not involved in real money gaming generally consider it a bad thing, thanks in part to the strong propaganda from its opponents. But those involved with real money online games generally consider it to be a form of entertainment, nothing more. According to a series of studies conducted by various universities in 2014, the money spent at online casinos is minuscule compared to the real life gaming industry, and online players are much less likely to experience addictive behavior than their land-based counterparts. On average, these people play online once every two weeks, and lose up to 5.5% of all the money they wager. Compared to the hundreds of thousands spent on Slotomania alone each day, this doesn’t even seem so bad, right?
All things considered, I think we shouldn’t consider online gambling a way of life, but a more special form of online fun embraced by millions of people worldwide.