Gambling in the UK is firmly on the rise, with a recent report finding that Great Britain’s gross gambling yield has almost doubled to just shy of £15 billion in the last decade. This success has been caused by the popularity of online gambling, with over a third of all gambling in the UK now done online. A large proportion of the UK’s online gambling revenue is coming from the casino gaming market, with millions of people now regularly playing online casino games in Great Britain. As such, online casino gambling has seen a huge boom amongst the early-20s demographic in recent years, but why is this? And can this early promise be maintained?
Modern Technology a Gambling Gamechanger
84% of UK adults now own a smartphone, and this has undoubtedly been a huge factor in the recent successes of online casino gambling. With over 95% of 18-24-year-olds now said to own a smartphone – and just under 6 million people currently falling into that age demographic in the UK – it represents a huge market for online casino sites to attract.
To encourage this fresh demographic to their sites, online casino companies have focused far more of their attention onto their mobile and tablet apps, as opposed to their desktop sites. As well as this, sites are now offering a variety of free bets and bonuses to entice new customers - as can be seen on this website which provides reviews of the most popular online casinos in the UK, as well as details of their individual promotions and bonuses.
With a large proportion of young people in the UK playing video games of some capacity, online casino sites are looking to slot gaming as an angle into enticing new customers. Slot gaming provides gamblers with the opportunity to play games for real cash, and the visual quality of these slots is rapidly improving. In addition to improving graphics, online slots are looking to further the gamification of these titles by introducing challenges, further cementing their place amongst mobile entertaining.
What Particularly Attracts These Demographics?
Social media has revolutionised the way that online gambling companies market their product, with a recent study finding that Facebook is now the second-most used form of media in the UK behind only television. This has resulted in online casinos investing far more of their marketing budgets on social media advertising which, in turn, has resulted in attracting players who are more prevalent on social media joining their sites.
When asked why they are likely to play certain online casino sites ahead of others, the same study found that gamblers are attracted to bonus offers and free bets, with over 40% nominating this as their main reason for choosing a site. With this in mind, expect online casino companies to focus their social media posts on these types of sign up and in-game bonuses as a way of enticing new customers in the coming years.
Whilst free bets and bonus offers were seen as the premier way to attract new customers, however, poor site quality (40%) was given as one of the biggest reasons that players would stop using the site that they gamble with most frequently. In short, this shows that despite offers and bonuses being something that casino sites will need to continue producing to attract customers, this should not detract from the overall quality of their sites. Players are likely to become uninterested if the standard is below par, and this looks particularly prevalent for 20-somethings, who tend to pay closer attention to overall site quality and in-game graphics when compared to older gamblers.
How Online Gambling Sites Have Adapted
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter now play a leading role in how young adults socialise, and online casino sites have picked up on this, adapting their sites to allow users to play in social groups – allowing users to interact with each other via in-game chatrooms. With 70% of online gamblers said to do their gambling at home, online casino sites have had to look at how they can recreate a traditional casino. One of the ways they've done so is by introducing live-streaming technology as an industry standard. Using live video, they can stream a real dealer in a live casino, emulating the experience of sitting at a real table. As competition from the biggest online casino companies to attract new customers is now greater than ever, expect casino apps to continue to adapt to changes in technology.
Poker remains one of the most popular casino games and, in the last decade, behaviours have somewhat shifted from hosting poker nights at one another’s houses, with people instead deciding to start up poker nights online. The obvious benefit to gamblers is that the casino sites can do the hosting in these events, whilst the players can continue to socialise as normal. Poker apps pull in revenue from these nights that would ordinarily be lost or – at a push – go to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos that host their own poker nights at regular intervals.
Fellow casino favourite roulette has also seen an online revival in recent years. Roulette was long seen as a game exclusive for brick-and-mortar casinos, with the equipment needed to play often difficult to come by and, when available, fairly expensive. Now, however, roulette is played online by millions of people around the world. Alongside state-of-the-art computerised tables, online casino sites and apps are, as mentioned before, providing live streams to various casinos from around the world, allowing gamblers to play live roulette in the comfort of their homes.
With societal and technological changes leading to more and more people socialising from their homes, this has clearly resulted in an increased number turning to online casino sites as a preferred form of entertainment. The challenge to online casino sites is to maintain this upward curve in the coming years, but should they pursue current marketing strategies, futuristic in-game graphics, and enticing sign-up offers, there is no reason that the current demographics of online casino games will fold.