For over two decades regular gaming and iGaming at online casinos have been kept in very separate brackets. The biggest reason is because in one (PC/console gaming) you play purely for fun, while in the other (iGaming) you play for money. However, it is increasingly looking like casual gamers understand they can have their cake and eat it too.
People are now viewing iGaming at online casinos as more than just gambling for money. They are also seeing it can be plenty of fun, which explains why online casinos are the fastest-growing form of entertainment in the world. There are two games paving the way for iGaming to become a competitor to Netflix and Chill, a PlayStation, or social media… online slots and poker.
Poker is of particular interest because it has permeated the world of popular culture like no other casino game. Sure, online slots are the most similar to video games so can attract a lot of casual players, but poker is arguably the most popular casino game. Online casinos certainly think so, with more than 20 poker games to choose from at some sites.
What is interesting about online poker is that it is perfectly primed as a form of entertainment for casual players. It has become popular outside the realm of casinos thanks to tournaments broadcast on TV. Poker is now viewed as a sport or eSport as much as it is a pure gambling game. People know they can play poker, have a good time, and it does not have to mean them losing huge sums of money.
In fact, it is possible to play online poker for free through smartphones apps or through demo games at online casinos. Let’s be clear though, most gamers know the excitement of playing poker is to have the chance to win cash by taking the risk of losing money. Coupled with playing against other players, the risk/reward of poker makes the game exciting and often dramatic.
Texas Hold’em is the game most casual players love. There’s just something special about playing directly against other players, trying to bluff them, calling their bluffs, and landing that big winning hand.
Online poker is growing year-on-year in terms of the number of people who are playing. Clearly, the millions of people discovering online poker each year are not pure gamblers. Many of them are casual players who may not have much of an interest in casino gambling. Instead, they appreciate the dynamics of poker as a fun game.
People love competition and they love risk. It is these elements that have allowed video games to become so popular… even simple concepts like Candy Crush. Poker – and indeed other online casino games – take these elements further because there is something really at stake. You can play against real people and you can win/lose real money.
By 2023, there expected to be 3 billion unique players visiting online casinos. With over one third of the global population turning to online casinos, it is clear that iGaming is no longer the preserve of gamblers, it is now a pure form of entertainment for the masses.