In a 2019 survey that looked at the reasons visitors give for a visit to Las Vegas, just 14% of respondents cited “gambling” as the purpose of their visit. While it sells Las Vegas a bit short, as it has much more to offer than casinos, it might surprise some to see how far down the pecking order gaming came. At the top of the list was vacation & pleasure, which might also take in a bit of casino play considering how prevalent it is around the city.
Nevertheless, it’s worth wondering whether online casino websites, which have aimed to mimic the excitement of Las Vegas for 25 years or so, can also attract players for reasons other than playing the games. Much of the activity on these sites will be casino-related, of course. But the evolution of online casinos in recent years might surprise some as to how they have changed. Below we look at some of those areas:
Online Casinos as Social Platforms
Perhaps the starkest evolution of online casino is the change from a solitary experience to a social one. These days, the best online casinos put emphasis on community. This can be found on the live dealer section, where there is a big focus on interaction with dealers and other players. But there are other elements too, with many casinos running tournaments, missions and challenges. Usually, these promotions are free to enter, and they will again foster that sense of community among players. It’s easy to understate the importance of this change, but we are seeing a shift from players playing online against software to competing against – and interacting with – each other.
Online Casinos as Learning Platforms
If you want to learn the rules of blackjack or find the commonly used terms when playing slots online, then an iGaming site is your first place to check that out. Often, you will find tutorials on how to build a strategy for skilled-based games like poker and blackjack. Where it’s possible with community forums, players will also share tips. Due to the fact that you can bet ultra-small amounts and play demo games, it’s a good option to learn before you make that big trip to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Indeed, some casinos now offer a bet-behind feature for live games. This means you can bet on the hand of skilled players in blackjack, and learn the ropes of the game from copying experienced players.
Online Casinos as Fandom Platforms
Are you a fan of Rick and Morty? Perhaps you like the DC Comics characters? Maybe Star Trek is your thing? Casinos have been making a big effort to create games based on popular culture, often striking up partnerships with movie studios and artists to launch officially branded games. The design of these games feeds into the ideals of fandom, often featuring clips from the movies (or audio clips from the musicians) they are based on. This idea of crossover appeal is obviously a marketing ploy, but remember that you can play many of these games in demo mode without spending a cent.
Outside the Casino: Social Media Platforms
Like all major industries, the iGaming sector has harnessed the power of social media build and sustain its presence online. But away from social media for direct marketing, there are more organic community platforms linked to online casino. A case in point is the massive community of casino streamers present on sites like YouTube and Twitch. They play games to an audience, which serves to underline how entertaining some modern games have become. Many of the viewers have little interest in playing themselves, but simply wish to be part of the community that has sprung up online.