The online gambling industry has been one of the biggest success stories over the past couple of decades and the boom looks set to continue in the future.
Global annual revenues have been forecast to top $92 billion by 2023, highlighting how far the sector has progressed from a standing start.
The growth is being driven across the remote gambling sector, with online casinos responsible for a large chunk of the market.
One of the biggest contributory factors to the success can be attributed to Web 2.0, which gave gambling operators a platform to transform their business models.
With online gambling now established as a massive global industry in its own right, thoughts inevitably switch to what the future may hold.
That is certainly the case where the next incarnation of the internet is concerned, with Web 3.0 widely tipped to be a huge leap forward from its predecessor.
With that in mind, we look at Web 2.0’s impact on online casinos and slots games, and assess what may happen when Web 3.0 replaces it.
The Web 2.0 revolution
While the earliest incarnation of the internet was undoubtedly an exciting development for society, Web 1.0 was also very basic from a functionality perspective.
Web 2.0 was a massive leap forward, allowing for interactive online content to be viewed instantly by billions of people worldwide.
Over the past couple of decades, Web 2.0 has made the internet an integral part of daily life, establishing a culture where digital devices dominate.
This shift towards digital has been pivotal in changing how the gambling industry operates, with online sites becoming the go-to medium for millions of people.
From slots with PayPal deposit to dozens of other exciting innovations, Web 2.0 has provided online casinos with a platform to flourish.
The earliest online casinos built on Web 1.0 lacked functionality, while the limitations of internet connectivity often left players feeling underwhelmed.
By contrast, Web 2.0 opened up a wealth of possibilities, for slots operators with the tools they needed to build increasingly immersive online casinos.
The interactive nature of Web 2.0 technology allows players to dive head first into a world of iGaming that bears many similarities to online gaming.
From funding your account with digital payment software to chatting to other players via interactive messaging software, online casinos offer a super-slick entertainment experience.
The modern feel to online casinos has opened up the games to a much wider audience, making the sector one of the most diverse environments on the planet.
Moving towards Web 3.0
While it is impossible to argue that the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 changed the gambling industry, Web 3.0 may well be even more transformative.
As things stand Web 3.0 has not yet been fully defined, although decentralisation has been widely forecast to be the core construct on which it is built.
This is likely to make Web 3.0 more user-focused than its predecessors, giving people much greater control over their personal data.
The overbearing power of companies such as Facebook and Google should be reduced as Web 3.0 will restrict the influence they currently exercise.
Web 3.0 applications will run on decentralised networks such as blockchains, allowing users to avoid their personal information being collected without consent.
The move toward Web 3.0 will impact several elements of online casinos, with payment methods likely to be towards the top of the list.
Web 2.0 helped to create a shift away from card payments toward digital wallets, and Web 3.0 is likely to see cryptocurrency payments become far more prevalent.
It has long been argued that crypto options such as Bitcoin provide online casino players with greater levels of security than other payment methods.
However, crypto has yet to be fully adopted as many people remain sceptical about using decentralised technology for making payments.
Web 3.0 will highlight the advantages of decentralised technology, which should help to cryptocurrencies cross firmly into the mainstream.
Web 3.0 in action
One of the major benefits of Web 2.0 for online casinos and casino games like slots, blackjack or poker has been its ability to provide gambling operators with simple ways to collect user data.
While Web 3.0 will give users greater control over their information, it will also provide operators with more personalised insights into their customers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be at the heart of Web 3.0 and are expected to fire online casinos into another stratosphere.
The way computers decipher information will be closely aligned to human interpretations, with Web 3.0 using data and algorithms to closely mimic this methodology.
Gambling operators will gain a better understanding of online casino players, which will in turn help them provide more individualised experiences.
This will serve to give players the feeling they are in greater control of their online interactions, thus removing some of the overly intrusive nature of Web 2.0.
While the arrival of Web 3.0 is unquestionably exciting for the online gambling industry, there are some challenges to overcome.
One of the biggest issues presented by the decentralised nature of Web 3.0 is the impact this could have on licensing and regulation.
Governments in key jurisdictions such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been working hard to implement stricter controls on the gambling sector.
Web 3.0 may make it more difficult to identify where operators are based, thus making it trickier to determine which jurisdiction they fall under.
Despite this, Web 3.0 is fully expected to build on what Web 2.0 has achieved and provide a platform for online casinos to flourish even further over the coming years.