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How casino games became digital

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  • Digital Team 

Casino games have a long and storied history, many of them dating back to before the creation of brick-and-mortar casino establishments. Once gaming began to move online around the turn of the millennium, casino games followed suit, transforming to fit their new medium.

These days you can find all of the iconic casino games in the digital space, whether you’re looking to play Roulette, Poker or Slots online. But how did these games evolve to adapt from land-based casinos to online ones?

Slots go video

The first major move in the direction of digital casino games came in the 1970s and 80s, when slot machines began to shed their mechanical origins. Physical reels had become increasingly outdated and were liable to issues and external influence, prompting developers to explore alternative options.

Video Slots replaced the traditional reels with a screen, swapping them out for an entirely digital representation of the reels. This allowed developers to explore further innovation, freeing them from many of the constraints attached to a physical slot machine.

It was at this stage that the random number generator (RNG) was introduced to the equation. The RNG is a complex computer algorithm that generates strings of random numbers at a rate of hundreds per second. These numbers correspond to each of the positions of symbols on the digital reels, allowing the algorithm to determine the outcome of a spin.

These more advanced slot machines soon became the norm, with purely mechanical Slots turning into a rarity as more casinos adopted the new technology.

The rise of the Internet

As with pretty much any other industry, casinos were affected by the Internet’s rapid rise in prominence. During the 90s, many casinos began to make the move online, with the earliest appearing in 1994.

Initial offerings were a little limited in nature, given that graphics and internet connectivity were still rather rough at the time. Still, even the small early selection of games proved popular as audiences started playing on their own personal computers.

The rapid advancement of technology allowed games to quickly start evolving, becoming far more fleshed out and visually appealing in the process. This allowed developers to experiment and begin pushing the boundaries of some of these classic games, creating fresh varieties for players to try.

Online slots also evolved, with new slot games incorporating even more detailed theming, mini games and alternative game mechanics.

Fusing online with offline

A big leap forward for the digital format came about with the increasing strength of broadband connections and livestreaming technology. Casinos could fuse the digital gaming interface with elements of live play, such as a human dealer and physical game components, creating the concept of live casino.

With multiple high-quality cameras capturing gameplay, as well as tech like optical character recognition (OCR) converting physical cards into data, the format brings together online and offline elements seamlessly.

Digitalisation has helped to push casino games into the modern age and expand their audience. As technology develops further, where could digital casino games go next?

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