Gambling online has long been a strong alternative to betting in person. But until recently, brick-and-mortar casinos had one advantage that their online competition just couldn’t match: a visit to a casino was a social event in a way that online gambling was not.
Well, so much for that.
A new generation of gambling websites and apps is turning online gambling into an interactive social experience that in many ways mirrors the one you’d get at a brick-and-mortar casino. And, as a result, a whole new generation of gamblers is viewing gambling with friends as something to be done online just as much as in a brick-and-mortar casino.
In retrospect, this change seems inevitable. Thanks to the rise of smartphones, we now carry powerful little computers with us everywhere we go. It didn’t take long for online casinos to tap into this mobile market with clever gambling apps. Just as gambling on a computer swiftly became as normal as gambling in person, gambling on a phone has quickly become as common as gambling online.
The trend, of course, is that gambling is happening in more or more places – and, as a result, more and more people are gambling. Gambling was once done only in casinos; then it was done only in casinos and within one’s home; and now it is done everywhere. And that’s to say nothing of gambling’s increasingly friendly relationship with local and national laws, which has opened up the hobby to new groups of people.
Gambling isn’t the only app that has gone mobile. The massive social networks that have become indispensible to our daily lives have also jumped on the smartphone trend. People use Facebook and Twitter on the go as a matter of course. And, thanks in part to the success of these apps, more and more non-social apps are adding social features.
Social features: the new normal for apps
In the early days of smartphones, observers lamented the loss of social interaction. “We’re all buried in our phones, now,” they said, “and we don’t talk to each other anymore.”
Already, these early fears seem laughable. Humans are social creatures, and apps with social aspects have become massively popular. Aside from the social networks – which have an obvious social focus – we’ve seen the rise of social interactions of apps designed for everything from reading to banking. Apps that track running routes and favorite foods have opened up users to each other’s opinions, inviting comments and other types of interactions.
Gambling is following suit. Once a very social activity, gambling added a new side to its appeal thanks to online casinos. Now, online casinos are bringing the games back to their social roots. New apps allow gamblers to interact with friends, meaning that a group trip to the casino is no longer required for group gambling.
This was arguably the most important element missing from online casinos, and now it’s here. Online casinos have always been more convenient than their brick-and-mortar cousins, but they haven’t always offered a comparable experience. With each new advance, online casinos are making a better case to gamblers and would-be gamblers. And while brick-and-mortar casinos will never be obsolete, their grip on certain aspects of gaming is certainly loosening.