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Five Ways that the Online Casino Industry Shaped Web Technology

Certain industries in any sector always manage to find themselves at the forefront of new developments, which they research and implement before inspiring other companies in alternative fields to take the ideas and adapt them elsewhere. With the amount of money involved in the online gambling industry, and the desire from operators to gain and retain customers on a regular basis, casinos were always likely to lead the way in the development of new ideas. In many ways, some of the means of customer retention now prevalent throughout the online world were first seen at some of the most popular online casinos in Canada and around the globe.

Here, we look at various online quality of life improvements that were originally designed for the gambling industry, but now find themselves taken for granted as part of many other online offerings.

Customer Retention – Bonuses and Incentive Schemes

The first on our list of five predates the creation of the first online casinos in the mid-1990s. For many years before the internet itself, casinos were well known for encouraging players to stay at the tables by providing free food and drinks, with particularly high rollers receiving complementary rooms and even event tickets. The online casino industry took this idea and made it into something more suited for online audiences. While food and hotel rooms are not the order of the day, free cash and bonus credits simply for playing over extended periods are the means by which online casinos entice players to spend longer at the tables or on the slots. One of the best known online schemes of this type is operated by Lucky Nugget Casino and was launched at the same time as the casino itself. Lucky Nugget also happens to be one of our most highly recommended online casinos for Canadian players and has a reputation for rewarding high rollers or consistent players with regular bonus cash plus a simple loyalty bonus scheme.

How Bonuses Infiltrated Other Aspects of Web Technology

Everywhere a casino player cares to look online nowadays, there is something or other on offer as a reward for taking certain actions. Many years ago, there were ‘pay to surf’ programs where people could download toolbars to their desktop that displayed ads while they browsed the web and offered cash rewards for doing so. More opportunities spring up all of the time, and there are dozens of cash back sites in Canada that use affiliate schemes to give out money to people who buy products through their links. Even retailers themselves often offer points accumulation on purchases, which can then be redeemed for cash towards other products, with the internet being the perfect vehicle for even smaller companies to do so.

Digital Wallets and Online Payments

We do not have to think back far to a time when people in Canada were still concerned about using their credit card details online for making purchases. Many horror stories arose over the years that continued to make people question the safety of doing so. Conversely, heading to a local store is much more convenient than getting to a casino, and so the online gambling industry almost demanded a shift in this mentality in order to be viable. Some of the largest operators in the industry were pivotal in the acceptance of online payments as a genuine, safe option. This was due in no small part to the fact that they were primarily concerned with attracting and keeping customers. They were responsible for the development of some of the most robust web security systems ever seen, even before some of the biggest banks in Canada offered online transactions. They were also the catalyst behind the development of the likes of Skrill and Neteller, two names that remain closely linked to the online casino industry to this day.

How Digital Wallets Inspired the Financial Transaction Industry

Even when few Canadians liked the idea of carrying out financial transactions online, casinos managed to continue in the face of adversity by developing more and more options and industry standard firewalls and encryption. Canadians now rarely think twice about shopping online or even accessing their bank accounts, all of which draws on this security technology.

Live Customer Assistance

When a player has a problem during their online casino session, they are not sat at the tables or spinning the slots. Therefore, the casino itself is not making any money. It therefore became imperative to make contacting the help desk as quick and easy as possible. This spawned live chat, an applet that can be accessed directly from within casino applications that immediately puts players in touch with trained assistance professionals who can access the customer’s account and make any changes necessary to get them back to the tables. It also works both ways, with many casinos employing operators for the sole purpose of offering bonus codes to players as they are enjoying the games.

How Live Chat Improved the Web

There are now very few online companies of any size that do not offer a live chat support function. In many ways it is more suitable for smaller operators as they do not receive the volumes of enquiries that make the service expensive, although even larger companies such as Canadian banks offer such a service to ensure that customers have easy access to their money. Live chat was quickly identified as being more cost effective than telephone support as single operators can deal with many enquiries at once. The service has even become something of an industry in itself, with services such as LivePerson providing integrated technology for smaller sites to add to their own online stores.

Interactive Multi-Person Activities

The first multiplayer games to make use of the internet to link people together were purely text based. However, the launch of the first fully featured online casino by Microgaming in 1994 demonstrated to the world that it was possible to launch an online service that brought players together using a full graphical interface. This began with multiplayer blackjack, where several players at once could share a single screen and effectively be sat at the same table, viewing each other’s actions. It then became something more, with the addition of slots tournaments and finally poker, both of which are still available to this day at the likes of 32red Casino.

Multiplayer Gaming Across the Online World

While online casinos were responsible for launching the concept of multiplayer online games, they were quickly left behind by traditional video games. These range from games with literally hundreds of players online at once to even simple console games, almost all of which offer some form of head to head play or online services. In many ways, other industries took the inspiration and developed it much further than the casino industry itself, which is now only just catching up with innovations of its own such as the live dealer games at Betfair Casino. Such games were also the cornerstone of the success of popular social networks, with one such provider, Zynga, looking to expand from traditional games into the gambling sector.

Dedicated Client Software

While online casinos were of course not the first companies to develop software, they did lead the way in customised interfaces for a specific user experience. At the time of the first casinos, there were no online scripting languages that could adequately deliver a visual gaming experience and so instead they created and distributed their own branded software packages that contained the games themselves and lobby functions. Even nowadays where players can mainly play online or through their mobile device, many operators continue to offer a software package with increased speed and reliability.

How Specialist Client Software Influenced Other Online Industries

Other companies quickly took note that web users were more than happy to add certain software programs to their computers for use on specific, albeit minor tasks. This began with search engines offering toolbars that added on to web browsers, and then became all manner of programs in a variety of fields. Everything from the marketing industry to banking released desktop clients that accessed web based information in a specific manner and without the need for a web browser at all.

This then developed into the app industry that is extremely popular today. Many apps on smartphones and tablets are simply small bits of software that display web content in a specific format, and many online casinos are getting in on the act by offering mobile apps of their own.

As the online and mobile casino communities continue to thrive, we expect them to continue to launch more and more new products that are designed to appeal to wide customer bases. While 2013 will almost certainly be the year of mobile gaming, there is also much potential for other developments, which will no doubt quickly become mainstream across the entire internet.

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