The gaming world is almost unrecognisable from what it was in the 20th century. Console and PC games are becoming less popular as more people opt to play games on their smartphones or tablets. Today, mobile games bring in nearly half of global gaming revenue - and it's set to become even more dominant as a platform over the next few years.
Avid consumers live in a world where they can access games like poker in the pub, roulette on the bus and blackjack in the office.
Blackjack is in many ways the perfect game to play on the go - as the games are short and the turnaround so quick. It's a great way to make some fast cash. Some gamblers prefer US blackjack, which offers multiple options for betting minimums and maximums - making your gambling experience even more tailored to your lifestyle and preferences. Find out more about the rules of blackjack games such as Multihand Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack or American blackjack and why it makes for a great mobile casino experience.
How did mobile gaming become such a success? Let's look at the history of this form of gaming and speculate how it could evolve into the future.
Online casino games: the early days
Today you'll see that online casinos are engaging and immersive enough to give gamers an experience that rivals anything a land-based casino can deliver - but this wasn't always the case.
The issue of who created the first online casino is largely disputed, but developer Microgaming is largely credited with building the first ever online gambling software in 1994. However, it wasn't until two years later that the first bet was accepted online.
In 1996, InterCasino opened their metaphorical internet doors and offered customers the opportunity to play 18 casino games from the comfort of their own home. It was a landmark in the industry.
Initially, online casino games represented an element of intrigue for eager players who were keen to gamble within their own environment. However, there were huge challenges to actually playing. The games were incredibly clunky and difficult to use, and the graphics were underdeveloped. At this point, it was still the case that, if you were really keen on gambling, you'd still be going to a land-based casino rather than a virtual one.
Online casinos simply weren't good enough.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges was the lack of access. Not everyone had a computer with the internet back then. The market was small and relied on a dedicated gamblers accessing online services from their desktop - a long way off the accessibility we enjoy today.
How online gaming progressed
The quality and abundance of online casinos have reflected the huge strides made in digital technology over the past two decades.
Early pioneers Microgaming along with Playtech and Net Entertainment started to improve their offerings - and more competitors started to vie for a share of this market. There were 15 online casinos in 1997, but over 200 just a year later - attributed to increased internet speeds and broadband access, particularly in the US and UK. In 1998 the global internet gambling industry brought in £834 million in revenue, and it was only going to grow from there.
As online casino gaming was getting quicker, it was also getting better. Improved graphics with more intense special effects appealed to more gamers. Add to that a broader selection of games - including slots, blackjack, poker and other casino favourites.
In addition, the UK gambling act transformed the image of online casinos. They weren't seen as a seedy, unregulated part of the internet - they were official places to game, just like land-based casinos. Plus, with the legalisation of online gambling, governments were also raking in greater tax revenue and there were more employment opportunities - so everyone was a winner. It marked a massive shift in the industry.
The move from desktop to mobile
Thanks to Steve Jobs and the gurus Apple gurus in Silicon Valley, the world is now driven by smartphones. Online casinos recognised the potential of mobile gambling and quickly developed software to bring their services to the mobile market.
These very first games allowed users to do something that had never been done before - gamble on the go. The in-built processing power of smartphones combined with their displays made the move from desktop to mobile seamless.
Again, accessibility was key to the development of mobile gaming. Improved mobile broadband across the world, phones with better processing speeds capable of handling the demands of high-quality games boosted the user experience of gambling apps - and the user numbers soon followed.
While desktop gambling sites remain popular, the mobile market has allowed betting companies to appeal to a new market of potential customers. Now developers can rake in steady revenues from players by offering in-app purchases and keeping their games free. Those punters previously put off by the exclusivity of betting shops and casinos can now make bets from their phone - anywhere, anytime.
The future of mobile casinos
One of the drawbacks of an online casino is the lack of ‘real feel' that customers get when playing online - but operators are increasingly able to challenge that with immersive gameplay that could accelerate the decline of traditional land-based casinos, which have been struggling to compete with the industry as it is in the last decade.
As ever, the industry is always looking for new ways to adapt and the most talked advancement at the moment is virtual reality. The industry's biggest developers and betting companies are investing heavily in software that will allow users to explore a completely interactive virtual casino.
Virtual Reality has seemingly been in the pipeline for the past decade, however it finally looks like taking off with the success of traditional gaming VR headsets and ‘live beyond live' casino technology on the horizon.
Another big step forward could be the relaxation of online gambling restrictions in the US. If this continues, the World Wide Web could become the new Las Vegas.
Since the very first appearance of slots, players have always been tempted to cheat at them. The reason is simple - slot machines offer the biggest jackpots, both at land-based and online casinos! And who wouldn't want to hit the jackpot? The only problem here is that breaking the bank at slots is not that simple as it may seem - because the chances are rather rare.
So that's why some players take the risk of cheating at the machines in order to get a chance to win big. But is it actually possible? Well, let's take a look at some techniques professionals have used to beat slots, and then see how you can do it today!
Slots, pokies or poker machines, or are casino games of chance with an inbuilt computer program to help generate random outcomes. Once you spin the reel (or press the button in online slots), the machine randomly picks one of the many possible results, and depending on the outcome, you either win or not.
The most important thing you should remember while playing slots at most secure online casino is that each spin on the machine is truly random, and there's actually no possible way of cheating them. However, we can still check how cheaters have tried to beat the slots and to combine their experience with today's reality to finally find out the best way to play and win at slots.
Back in the early days of slot games, when they were mechanical instead of electronic, cheating was quite easy. The most popular method was the Monkey's Paw, which was invented by Tommy Glenn Carmichael, the famous American cheater. The device had a hook on end, so when the player slid it into the coin chute, it would hold the coin hole to release all the coins. However, this tool wasn't hard to create at all - any player could make one. But once the casinos noticed that the slots had been completely emptied out, they learned how to prevent any unwanted fraudulent actions.
Stringed and Shaved Coins
Attaching a coin on a string, also known as the ‘yo-yo trick,' was another way of cheating way back then. This technique required the player to attach a piece of the fishing gut to a coin and then pass it through the slots, making a credit registration. Once this had been made, the player had to "fish out" the coin and continue playing. This meant you could have potentially won a significant amount of money without even investing a single penny!
In the 1980s, a Nevada hardware manufacturer sold out a line of coins that, just by some curious chance, were exactly the same weight and size as American coins. That's when the slot cheaters took full advantage of the situation, eventually leading to these coins found in machines all over the state.
After that incident, fraudsters attempted to use coins from other nations to play slots. For instance, the Mexican peso issued in 1985 was worth about half an American cent but was accepted as a quarter in some American slot machines.
When the Nevada Gaming Commission employed Ronald Dale Harris as an engineer to work on monitoring and auditing systems for gaming devices, he instantly used it to his advantage. He knew some slots' source codes and used them to win more than $100,000 on video keno!
Cheating at Online Casinos
While fraud is mostly common in land-based gambling venues, there are some techniques to beat online slots.
The power of the Internet offers you hundreds, if not thousands, of different software programs to help you cheat the slots. For instance, some hackers offer engines, similar to those in video games, that (in theory) are able to scan the whole game and trick the slots into delivering you bonuses. However, using them to cheat at slots will probably lead you to being fooled.
All slot machines, as we mentioned before, use RNG to define the results of each spin. However, they are actually Pseudo-Random Number Generators (PRNG), as they pre-define the value and combine it with other inputs. There were several cases where players find out bugs in PRNG and make good money from it. Although some really profited, this only shows that the algorithms are somehow not secure at all.
While there isn't any actual technique in existence that can help you cheat, we can provide you with some principles to profit from while playing
for real money:
● Don't get too emotional
● Set budget limits
● Know when to quit
Plus, while choosing the slot to play at, remember to take the RTP and payout table into consideration. These numbers will show the probability of a payout and the winning combinations.
On top of all these tips, don't overthink the game. Always remember that slots experience should bring you only fun and relaxation, no matter how profitable it could be. Don't let worries about payouts distract you from the pleasure.