The world we live in today is one that’s moving constantly toward new innovations and greater tech dependency. We’ve seen the rise of services that allow you to place orders for meals and groceries, experienced ride sharing’s transition from horror story to everyday utility, and watched as streaming services took over television. It’s not the first thing we think about as we consider these changes, but in all of these instances physical venues and product stand to suffer as a result of innovation. And when we think of things this way, another industry comes to mind as one that’s approaching a crossroads of sorts in its ongoing digital revolution. Internet-based casinos have become so sophisticated, and so widely available, that it’s become fair to wonder if in-person alternatives can continue to survive.
That’s an open question, but thinking of it from a creative engineering standpoint, there’s more than a glimmer of hope for these traditional commercial venues.
The Expansion of Online Casinos
Online casinos are nothing new, but they do seem to have grown both in number and audience as of late. And while this seems in an overarching way to be a sort of natural evolution resulting from better software on gaming platforms (in some cases it really is that simple), there would appear to be a few more specific explanations for what we might call the second rise of online gambling.
For one thing, the best games on the internet are easier to find than ever before. Fifteen or 20 years ago, finding the best online gambling opportunity meant testing out different poker sites – essentially to find the one that was least annoying. Now, it’s as simple as going to one of a handful of trusted, aggregator platforms hosting well-reviewed games from top genre developers. Furthermore, these same platforms and games can now be accessed easily via mobile, putting the best online casino games in history right in people’s pockets.
There’s also the legal side of things to consider, and this is actually where we’re seeing the most evidence that the surge in online casino popularity could continue in the coming years. Specifically, new online casinos in the U.S. are beginning to expose the American market to the industry. It’s going to take state-by-state legislating to make the games legal to play with real money, but the first steps have been taken, and tens of millions of U.S. gamers could add significant revenue and attention to the market.
It’s these developments that seem to be at least opening the door for physical, in-person casinos to see a decline in popularity. But as alluded to above, this is where creative designers and engineers can come into play.
How Casinos Can Survive
Casinos have long attracted crowds of people all over the planet, for a number of different reasons: bright, exciting visuals, a positively charged atmosphere on location, and of course, the dream of earning boatloads of cash. But with online gambling opportunities improving so rapidly, some of those attractions are becoming decidedly less special. Exciting visuals? These are easily replicated by modern casino gaming graphics, if not improved upon. The chance to risk and win real money? This is, if anything, more convenient online, and with more options at hand. This doesn’t mean people won’t continue to enjoy in-person casino floors, but it does mean casinos that want to continue thriving may have to emphasize other aspects of their appeal. And the things not even the best of the best online platforms can compete with are atmosphere and physical impact.
To some extent we’re already seeing casinos acting on this. There does appear to be more emphasis being placed on live attractions, from shows to restaurants run by celebrity chefs. And some of the newer casinos in places like Las Vegas are clearly built with beauty and luxury as the first priorities, and gaming merely a feature. These trends, subtle though they may be, are likely to continue, and the thinking here is that they can be enhanced significantly by bold and exciting engineering projects.
To explain this idea, look back at a previous post you may have seen here regarding Dubai’s push to attract more tourists. The famously innovative city is constructing the world’s largest ferris wheel, adding yet another engineering marvel to an impressive list that’s been amassed over a relatively short time period. Now think about this in the context of attractions like The Venetian Macau’s artificial canal network, or the miniature New York City at the New York, New York in Las Vegas, or even the sky-scraping infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. All of these are effectively engineering and design achievements that have come to define casinos already, and in some cases entire towns!
This, given all of the digital takeover potential described above, is what casino owners and operators will need to be thinking about in the next five, 10, or 15 years. Just another casino resort – even a beautiful and luxurious one with a massive gaming floor – is unlikely to offer much specifics appeal to the modern gamer who’s used to digital convenience and sees nothing special in an in-person slot machine or poker table. However, what if a new Vegas establishment hired an engineering team to beat out Dubai’s new ferris wheel? What if a major European city challenged the highest skyscraper in its country with a new casino resort? What if a country built an artificial island incorporating ferry service to a faux-tropical casino venue? These features and attractions can still make an impact that online gaming can’t match.
It’s for this reason that we might expect a significant push toward innovative and daring engineering in this particular space.
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