Most people interested in the areas where tech and business collide will be familiar with the term digital disruption. It’s perhaps the most important commerce-related phrase of the last 25 years, and it increasingly dictates our economic and social lives.
If you weren’t aware, digital disruption is an easy concept to understand, although the specifics can differ. It is effectively the replacement of a traditional industry by a digital-based alternative. So, for example, you might talk of Netflix replacing a video store, or Spotify replacing CDs, Uber replacing taxis, PayPal replacing traditional banking, and so on.
But one of the most interesting cases of digital disruption never really played out in the way people expected. Online casinos started to appear online in the mid-1990s as the internet era began, and many expected physical casinos (resorts) to soon be a casualty of online alternatives. You can see the logic in this prediction, particularly as mobile internet allowed anyone to have a casino in their pocket by the 2010s.
Casino sectors co-exist peacefully
And yet, the predicted disruption never occurred. Both the land-based casino industry and online sector co-exist peacefully together, and both – by and large – are profitable. Sure, there is more growth in the online sector, but there is a sense that it does not eat into the land-based casino marketplace, or at least not significantly.
So, why did online casinos not do to casino resorts what Netflix did to Blockbuster Video? The reason, it is argued, is based on the model of online casinos that was relevant all the way through the 1990s up until the 2010s. Namely, the online casino sector tried (successfully) to mimic the experience of the ‘real’ casino.
Games of chance were designed in such a way that anyone playing online would not feel that the the games were inferior to physical alternatives. This was even down to the real-world probability mimicked by the software-based games. But as a consequence of this, the online casino could (broadly speaking) not offer anything truly different from a land-based casino.
Evolution has transformed live gaming
And yet, there has been a sense since the late 2010s that this is changing. Online casinos are now evolving to offer something you can’t find in Las Vegas or anywhere else. And the company at the heart of this is aptly called Evolution Gaming. It is considered the world’s best supplier of real dealer (live) games. You can see Evolution’s titles in action at Genesis live casino and other top sites, and it is quickly becoming one of the world’s most important gaming software developers.
As hinted, what Evolution has achieved is to create new types of casino experiences for live gamers. So, instead of just offering live roulette and blackjack, it also creates games like Crazy Time, Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal Live. These games would not be easily recreated in a physical casino, even if they are played live. They require bespoke technology that is only able to be delivered, logistically speaking online.
A good example is Deal or No Deal Live, which is based on the tv game show Deal Ya No Deal. It plays out like a game show, with the croupier acting like a host, and the players (almost) like an audience. Monopoly Live, too, has this game show theme, but it has a bonus round that plays out on a 3D Monopoly board. These games have become insanely popular, and they are beginning to challenge the traditional conventions of casino games.
Rivals beginning to develop new concepts
Of course, in business there is cause and effect. So, Evolution’s rivals have also tried their hand at creating new games for the live casino: Sweet Bonanza Candyland (Pragmatic Play), Quantum Roulette (Playtech) and Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt and many others have challenged traditional ideas of what a casino should offer.
So, what happens next? Will we finally see the disruption of the land-based casino industry? It’s difficult to say, particularly as many people see a trip to a casino resort as a special occasion, whereas online players see internet casinos as more of a hobby. But, we might argue that this is only the beginning of a new wave of games. Once new technologies like VR/AR gaming roll out, the danger to land-based casinos is likely to increase. We can already imagine games like Monopoly Live incorporating VR experiences into the gameplay. Yet, for the moment, Evolution has started a new vogue of gaming, and we might see huge repercussions further down the line.