Not all that long ago, playing casino games meant walking into a brick-and-mortar establishment and sitting at a table game with a real live dealer, or pulling the lever of a mechanical slot machine. Since then, technology has vastly altered the way we gamble, and it seems the broad majority of casinos are now fully on board with the latest technological trends.
We’ll take a look at some of the most significant ways technology has enhanced the average player’s gambling experience.
Casino Games Take to the Internet
The most remarkable and widespread change of all was the rise of online casino games. The movement first started about 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until the early 2000’s, when broadband internet speeds made the games a lot more enjoyable, that internet wagering really took off. Now, from just about any region in the world, players can log onto an online casino, move money into an account and spin the reels or aim for 21 to their heart’s (or bankroll’s) content.
In the beginning, the convenience of playing from home was a huge incentive for players, but more recently, there’s been a string push into mobile gambling. Now, with Smartphones in the pockets/purses of millions, online casinos can be accessed from virtually anywhere.
Ticket Vouchers Replace Cash
For land-based casinos, the most notable change in gambling is the way we get paid. I still remember sitting in front of a slot machine, feeding it nickels, pulling a lever and hoping upon hope that the hopper would spit out enough coins to fill the bucket I was handed upon entrance. Now, machines don’t pay instant jackpots, and a win of any size is cashed out by pressing a button and grabbing the little slip of paper printed by the machine.
These types of games are known as ‘Ticket-in, Ticket-out‘, and as the name implies, players can use that same ticket in another machine to keep playing other casino games. When your done for the day, all tickets are taken to the cashier cage and exchanged for cash.
Slots aren’t the only gambling devices that operate on a ticket voucher system these days. Just about every wagering options there is, even live dealer table games, have been electronically altered to receive and issue tickets.
No More One-Armed Bandits
It’s very rare to see an old-fashioned slot machine these days – you know, the ones with pull-down levers that earned them the nickname ‘one-armed bandit‘. Now, slots are dominated by digital screens that operate on computer programs infused with an RNG (random number generator).
In the old days, the number of mechanical reels and different symbols on them decided the odds of actually winning a jackpot or any other prize. Today’s technology allows a programmer to decide how often we can expect to win. While the odds haven’t really changed much, there’s definitely something to be said for nostalgia.
Electronic Table Games
In my experience, this is the one big technology-driven change happening in land-based casinos all over the world that bothers gamblers the most. Every day it seems another live dealer is being replaced with an electronic table game.
When I sit at a blackjack table, I want to see a real person smiling back at me. I want physical cards shuffled, dealt and in my hand. I do not want to stare into an LED screen depicting a blonde in a fire-engine-red dress going through the motions of dealing cards that are nothing more than digitally rendered imitations.
But alas, the need for electronic table games goes beyond saving money on hiring staff. Genuine dealers are still alive and well in Las Vegas, but the laws in some regions only allow electronic tables for banked casino games. As for any casino that uses them, but doesn’t fall under those restrictions, shame on you!