News, Culture & Society

What is iGaming Technology & How Does it Affect Asia?

iGaming is a multi-billion-dollar online gaming industry that is specifically related to online games that accept real money bets i.e., ‘Bingo’, ‘Poker’, ‘Lottery’, and ‘Casino’ games!

It is not only one of the most competitive industries in the world, but also one of the most diverse. In regions such as Asia, it is exploding exponentially as one of the world’s most tech-driven continents boasts some of the fastest internet speeds and widespread internet connectivity on the planet. Plus, gambling for real money is also ingrained into many Asian cultures due to the concept of ‘luck’.

Now to be specific, iGaming is ‘only’ online gaming played on a betting terminal/kiosk connected to the internet, a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, or played on a laptop PC, or Mac. There are also plenty of modern gaming consoles that connect to the internet and have web browsers built to do this, and therefore some players connect to online bingo, poker, lottery, and casino games this way too!

Examples of iGaming

Video slots are the most obvious place to start, and then you have blackjack, roulette, baccarat, Caribbean Stud, 3-card poker, video poker, craps, sic bo, keno, online scratch cards, and game show games—the latter usually being live casino wheel of fortune games.

All these games are accessible to an online casino where players can top up their balance and bet real money just as they would if they visited a land-based casino a.k.a. brick and mortar casino. One of the largest iGaming companies that support this industry with multiple events is iGaming Asia. You will find events such as Sigma, ASEAN Gaming Summit, and the G2E.

  • Video Slots
  • Virtual Table Games
  • Live Casino Games
  • Online Bingo Games
  • Online Lottery Games
  • Online Scratchcards
  • Fishing Games
  • Arcade Betting Games

Video Slots: The Most Popular Form of iGaming

There are thousands of online video slots and hundreds of software developers designing the games. Playtech, Pragmatic Play, Microgaming, and NetEnt are some of the market leaders in online slot development. You may see these games referred to as mobile slots because you can play them on your mobile phone, while the same slots can also be played on a desktop device.

Another name for online slots is HTML5 video slots which are by and large played using an HTML5 enabled web browser. As opposed to downloading an app to play slots, players can open their web browser, log on to the casino, and then play slot games without the need for a download. However, in Asia, the most popular video slots are the mega888 slot games!

Now video slots are also popular inside land-based casinos. As such, you may see the term ‘video slots’ and ‘online video slots’. Video slots in a land-based casino are the slots you see with a TV screen and buttons to spin the reels. In essence, these are modern-day slot machines which is the direction the land-based casino and slot industry is heading. No more electronic slots or one-armed bandits with mechanical reels as computer graphics take over creating slots that are effectively min-arcade games.

Live Casino: Land-Based Casino Games Played Online

Live dealer casino games are hosted in land-based casinos or purpose-built live dealer casino game studios. The most popular games you will find in this iGaming niche include roulette, blackjack, and baccarat.

Land Dealer Studios: Live dealer studios are basically buildings full of live casino games. There are no players that visit the studio. Only dealers and croupiers who sit at live dealer tables stream via a webcam to a live casino software platform such as Evolution’s, Microgaming’s, or Asia Gaming’s interface. From here, online, and mobile casinos connect to this platform so they can host the options to play live blackjack, baccarat, poker, sic bo, roulette, and other games.

Land-Based Casino Webcam Games: Tables with a webcam rig set up so the action can be streamed back to a live casino software platform. Players access this software platform via an online casino or mobile casino membership and then connect to the live dealer webcam interface. Neatly integrated into the screen is the ability to place bets on the live casino table via the webcam and online betting software, while players sitting at the tables can also bet.

Grey Areas of iGaming!

eSports often falls under the iGaming arm, but it is not exactly iGaming. In fact, this type of gaming falls under ‘sports betting’ if you happen to stake some of the professional eSports games. All that being said, because eSports is wholly online and you are betting on an online game, it often falls under the iGaming label, which is semi-correct depending on how strict your definition of iGaming is.

Another grey area is virtual sports betting. Many online sportsbooks have virtual tennis, football, horse racing, greyhounds, and other sports that play out using a virtual game interface. It is similar to eSports betting in many respects, except for one key difference. With eSports, a team or player controls the outcome of the game, while virtual sports betting it is a random generator that plays out the match, race, or game.

With both virtual sports betting and eSports, you could certainly class these as iGaming activities. There are plenty of arguments for and against the classification, but in general, these real money betting niche markets are not strictly iGaming!