Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen countless adverts for casino, slots and poker online games. If you’re like me, you probably avoid clicking these links like the plague. However, there’s a whole world of unexplored gems that are just waiting to be discovered. The truth is, gambling-style games have existed as a form of entertainment long before video games, and they’ve been transforming in sync with the rest of the industry.
This week, I decided to take a bold leap into the uncharted waters of online gambling in order to explore what this multi-million dollar industry is all about. I was certain that my final assessment would reflect my initial opinion — that it’s all a giant scam designed to rob people of their hard earned money. Instead, I walked away rather surprised and enthused by my findings. As with MMOs or any competitive online genres, the gambling industry is structured in unexpectedly similar ways. There’s a whole community of players that engages in active discussions on how to better themselves, just like we see in video gaming. In fact, one of the few major differences is that instead of winning trophies and achievements, players can win cash prizes for their efforts.
Of course, the idea of gambling isn't everyone’s cup of tea, and there’s no denying that a lack of discipline and self-control doesn’t mix well with how these games are designed. Having said that, the advent of digital gaming has opened new possibilities for gambling-style game developers. The online gambling games offer not only better variety than their real-world casino counterparts, there are more low-risk options for those who just want a taste of how these things work.
Secondly, most of these games can be played on a low budget. Slot games can be played for free at slots.info, for example, and sites like Casino Room offer a similar selection to more traditional venues typically reserved for dedicated Vegas patrons. Compare that to the $60 price tag most AAA releases carry, and you realize that the costs aren’t that drastically different.
It’s important to recognize that people who enjoy these games aren’t any different from video game enthusiast. Playing a round of poker against other opponents online is really no different than engaging in deathmatches in COD or Battlefield. Like I mentioned earlier, the only technical difference is that the winner walks away with a monetary award. There’s also the assumption that online gambling requires a large sum of money upfront in order to play. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In most cases, you can get hours of entertainment for just a few bucks. Compare that to the high pricing of DLC content combined with fully-priced video game releases, and it’s easy to see that online gambling, despite its money-oriented gameplay model, is no different than any other form of interactive entertainment.
Shifting to the online platform has also allowed developers to be more creative in their presentation. How about a Game of Thrones-themed round of slots? Or maybe you’re a comic book fan and want to see your favorite superhero presented in this gaming realm — No problem! There’s something for everyone. Heck, even Lara Croft has her own virtual machine ready to be taken for a spin.
Ultimately, the online gambling realm is a rather unexplored and misunderstood area of modern gaming. During my brief experience with the various offerings, I managed to spend only $11, but I earned $18 by just playing around. Whether you’re looking for a quick round of slots or a lengthy game of poker, online gaming offers the same type of diverse experiences seen in mobile and consoles titles — they’re just designed for a different audience. As it stands, the only dividing line is the aging stigma associated with the gaming industry when viewed from a traditional perspective. But, just as video games have become more complex and mature experiences, online gambling has evolved into an intricate web of opportunities for practicing quick thinking, and earning a few bucks along the way.