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10 Most Important Innovations in the History of Modern Gambling

10 Most Important Innovations in the History of Modern Gambling

Updated 14/06/2023

It is known that the emergence of completely unique online casino solutions is a rare phenomenon. For example, blackjack is played today in the same way as it was in the days of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

Gambling solutions: main innovations

But still, if some new big idea is introduced into the gambling business, it affects the whole work of an enterprise. Our experts prepared a list of the innovations that changed the industry forever and created the modern image of casinos.

Learn more and launch a lucrative casino business with Gaminator.

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Club Cards

For most of the 20th century, table games were the main service provided by gambling establishments, and slot machines were designed only to diversify the visitor's experiences. Therefore, the biggest prizes were mainly received by participants in table entertainment, and users of slot machines were ignored.

However, in the 70s and 80s, technological development made it possible to turn land-based solutions into video slots. A new, more exciting analogue of devices of this type quickly became the main source of income for casinos.

Before the advent of club cards, there was no proper way to reward players with special bonuses. The first digital product was presented in the 1980s in Atlantic City and allowed operators to identify their top players using basic tracking methods.

After a while, gambling companies invented a club card. By inserting it into any device, it became possible to track the player’s history of bets. Soon, every casino in the world introduced such innovation.

Today, a club card is needed to track the activity of not only the users of slot machines but also the participants of table games. In some gambling locations, it also acts as:

  • a hotel room key;
  • a way to pay for food, drinks, etc.

The introduction of the product changed the way of provision of rewards by standardising the process itself. Now, points and gifts are given based on the accurate tracking of game results, and not at the discretion of the casino staff. Accordingly, even players with a minimal bankroll feel special when they cash out the received prizes.

Cashless Gaming System

If you ask people what sound is associated with a casino, the first thing they will think of is the distinctive metallic sound of coins falling from a slot machine when some lucky guy hits the jackpot. However, even though it has been a calling card of gambling establishments for decades, it is rarely heard anywhere today.

It is explained by the fact that the winnings are paid out in convenient tickets with a barcode, which players can exchange for money at the cashier or use in another slot.

This development belongs to International Game Technology and Casino Data Systems. Today, the cashless gaming system is considered one of the most important innovations in the industry, having been implemented in almost all major establishments of this type in the world.

It is much easier for players to collect their winnings in the form of a ticket instead of carrying a bag of soiled coins. Casino visitors can simply print out a ticket instead of waiting for all the coins to fall out.

This innovation allowed gambling locations to:

  • radically change slot machines;
  • create devices with several types of bets;
  • make the payout process much more convenient.

It also improved security and eliminated counting errors, thus ensuring that both players and operators are acting honestly in the financial aspect.

Video Entertainment

Video slots: general info

Typical slots have existed for over 2 centuries. Speaking of them, many still imagine the “one-armed bandits” with cherries, bells, and sevens. But such products belong to a different era.

The biggest problem with traditional machines was the need to integrate a variety of combinations, symbols, pay lines, and bets on mechanical reels. Casinos have been trying to make games more flexible, fun, and visually appealing for many years.

In 1975, a solution was found, and the world saw the first full-fledged Fortune Coin video slot. This event has become one of the most important in the industry. Soon, the IGT brand acquired the solutions and began to actively develop its analogues.

Video entertainment has allowed the manufacturers of slots to do what they never even dreamed of before:

  • increase the number of reels from 3 to 5;
  • install more than 50 symbols on each of them;
  • offer several pay lines and types of bets in one device.

All this positively affected both gambling establishments and their visitors.

The innovation has made games more fun. Original soundtracks and vibrant animations have become the standard of video slots, while free spins and interesting bonus rounds — familiar additions that can be found in all modern online casino solutions.

Slot machines have become incredibly exciting, and their popularity has increased. Today, their revenue share is about 80% of the total casino income.

The ability to customise the percentage of winnings allowed gambling locations to offer cumulative prize pools, which led to the introduction of another significant innovation.

Progressive Jackpot

In 1986, on the crest of the popularity of video slots, IGT made an important contribution with the release of Megabucks, the first progressive game. It quickly became a sensation, initiating a new era.

Prior to the release of this product, the maximum amount that could be won was a fixed jackpot. Even the largest one did not exceed $50,000. The sum of money was undoubtedly impressive but the life of the players who won it could not change radically.

In Megabucks, the size of the prize pool increased with each game. That is why the winner could walk away with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

If the jackpot increased only on one machine during each session, it would not grow significantly. But several slots having the same reward were able to increase it many times over, thus attracting a wide audience to different casinos to try their luck.

The first Megabucks solutions were extremely popular: many people lined up in Nevada and Atlantic City to play. The progressive jackpot was hit for the first time in February 1987. Its size was almost $5 million. After that, the product became even more in demand.

Despite the extremely low probability of winning, the games with such prize pools continue to be among the most sought-after offers of land-based and online casinos: there are almost 24 variations of them all over the world.

Progressive jackpots can also be found in some blackjack and roulette games, and it once again proves the relevance of this concept even 2 decades after its emergence.

Automatic Shuffle Machines

Shuffle machine: main advantages

They have been a dream of the gambling industry for a long time.

The first known attempts to develop such solutions date back to 1878. In the second half of the 20th century, many casinos acquired such devices, despite the fact that they could only shuffle one or a few decks at a time.

Although this invention made life much easier for dealers and speeded up the gameplay, there were still no significant changes in the blackjack game.

That was the case before 2000 when Shuffle Master introduced its latest release and the world's first automatic shuffle machine — The King. It looked like a bottomless deck. After each distribution, the croupier could place the folded cards in a device that shuffled them for the next round. This machine has greatly affected the blackjack sector.

The innovation reduced the possibility of miscalculating to zero if not completely excluding it. Even though there were not so many players who were well-versed in this task, they could still influence the outcome of sessions.

Shuffle machines put an end to this, turning card counting into an outdated trick. They have become one of the few inventions that had an impact on table games and also had such additional benefits as speeding up the game by 20% and an opportunity to save on card decks.

Online Gambling

Throughout the existence of the niche, its legality has remained a complex topic. Most countries and jurisdictions all over the world have banned entertainment for money (and continue to do so). Thus, even if you have the right to legally visit casinos in your country, the nearest location may be hundreds of miles away.

However, iGaming innovations have made such solutions publicly available. In 1994, Antigua and Barbuda became the first region to allow operators to obtain the relevant licences. Just 2 years later, the first online bet was placed at InterCasino, after which the industry took a completely different path.

Despite some obstacles, such as the tightening of digital gambling regulations by the United States in 2006, the sector has grown into a $35 billion niche. Today, with more than 1,000 virtual casinos operating in 85 countries, they are available not to a limited circle of people but to millions of users worldwide.

Live Dealer Games

Even with the fact that online gambling has become incredibly popular, many still doubt the decision to participate in entertainment where bets are placed using real money.

Some players are not sure about the reliability of iGaming solutions and the security of financial transactions. But for the majority of people, the reason why they avoid such a type of pastime turned out to be much simpler.

Offline casinos could give an unforgettable experience thanks to the following aspects:

  • lighting;
  • sounds;
  • music;
  • vibe;
  • possibility of communication.

The feeling of playing blackjack, roulette, or baccarat on a computer is completely different.

Online casinos have realised that to interest those who like classic table games, it is necessary to recreate an atmosphere of a real gambling establishment for them.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Web connection and PCs were too slow to implement such ideas. However, with the advent of new data processing technologies and high-speed Internet, it became possible to develop games with live dealers.

In the case of live roulette, blackjack, or baccarat, the real croupier is located in some studio. Cameras and sensors keep track of his movements, as well as cards or balls, and allow players to observe everything that is going on around them and interact in real time. There is also a chat function, thanks to which participants can communicate with dealers, satisfying a social need.

Online games with live croupiers can be fully reproduced and give players the experience of being in a real casino, thus attracting even the most conservative customers. The ability to recreate the same atmosphere at the gaming table is one of the innovations that have changed the way people think about casino solutions.

Mobile Gambling

Mobile casino platform: key benefits

The phenomenon appeared just a few years ago. But given the increase in the popularity of personal gadgets and the current global trend of moving from PC to mobile format, this type of gambling will be in trend for a very long time.

With the beginning of the boom of digital mobile phones in the early 2000s, the development of the first casino games for such devices was launched. At that time, these were the simplest black-and-white products where one could never win good prizes.

But with the advent of an era of smartphones and the iPhone in 2007, iGaming brands began to seriously consider creating entertainment with real bets.

The mFortune developer initiated this process by introducing 11 simple games. Today, many casinos offer hundreds of different slots and table entertainment optimised for the small screens of smartphones and tablets.

Gambling platforms have embraced the innovative solution so quickly that they even provide full banking services on mobile devices, thus eliminating the need to log in to PC versions of casinos.

Currently, almost half of their revenues come from playing in this mode. Experts predict that the figure will grow with the gradual disappearance of the traditional computer format.

Social Games

They have been provided on the internet for a long time and involve some form of interaction with other people. While social entertainment is often referred to as Facebook games like Farmville and Candy Crush Saga, their variety goes far beyond these options.

Social gambling has been extremely popular for the past 10 years. The most in-demand ones were:

  • online poker with fake bets;
  • blackjack simulators;
  • bingo halls;
  • slot machines.

This trend continues to this day.

In the majority of games, players cannot win real money. Instead, they can launch for free or buy spins/credits/chips and try to earn extra rounds by winning. Many solutions have chat rooms or spaces where people can communicate with each other while playing for a real social experience.

In almost all jurisdictions, it is illegal to offer real funds as a prize in such entertainment but the casino industry is not planning to abandon this sector. Games like Zynga Poker have proven that it is possible for operators to get good returns from social gaming without even offering cash rewards.

Many entrepreneurs see social gaming as a means of influencing the industry. Even though the direction is still being formed, its potential is huge.

Virtual Reality

Another innovative development is VR products. With the release of the Oculus Rift VR headset and other similar devices, interest in this format of playing casino games was immediately aroused.

The niche is considered one of the pioneers in VR entertainment thanks to such companies as NetEnt and Microgaming, which are actively creating realistic virtual platforms.

The SlotsMillion brand has already launched its VR resource, and this may be the first step towards a radical change in the user experience.

The Main Thing about the Most Important Gambling Innovations

You can learn about the latest releases and trends in the casino niche from the Gaminator studio.

From us, it is also possible to order the following useful services:

  • development of unique HTML5 slots;
  • creation of a turnkey platform;
  • drafting a business plan;
  • promotion of an already existing project, etc.

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For all questions, please contact our managers.
Artur Zimnij
Artur Zimnij
Gambling business specialist
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