Over the past few years modern technology has had an increasing influence on our everyday lives, both in the workplace and more importantly in our leisure time. Most of us have not yet seen much in the way of increased leisure time, apart from perhaps more holidays, but many experts are now predicting that future developments in areas such as robotics will ensure that many of us will benefit from a significant increase in our leisure time over the next few years. Where current technological developments have undoubtedly already had an effect on our leisure time however is in the much greater range of options we now have in how we spend our leisure time. Whether you are a sports fan or prefer to read a book, satellite television, the internet and e-readers have all had an effect on how we enjoy our favourite leisure pastimes and the choices we have. There are of course a large number of us here in Ireland who would consider gambling to be a significant feature of our choice of leisure activities, and we here at gambling.ie are of course particularly interested in how this technology has changed our gambling habits and our range of gambling options. The biggest influence of modern technology on the gambling sector is clearly the internet and all the devices we now own which provide us with access to the internet. It really is not that long ago that our leading bookmakers decided to follow the lead of the big high street retailers and invest in the equipment and software necessary to enable their customers to access online gambling. Clearly those large bookmakers targeted their online gambling sites at their existing sports gambling customers, but even then it quickly became apparent that those new online sports gambling sites were able to offer us a far greater choice of gambling options than we ever had at the high street betting shops. It was of course a brave decision by the bookmakers, particularly those such as Paddy Power and Ladbrokes both of which already owned a large number of betting shops on our high streets, because they were effectively competing with themselves as much as with their rivals. The introduction of online sports gambling has as expected reduced the footfall in the bookmakers’ high street outlets, but the overall effect for most of the bookmakers has been positive as far as turnover is concerned. Most of the big bookmakers now realise that online gambling is becoming more and more important as a growing proportion of their total turnover, and likely to continue to be so. One of the most obvious reasons why sports gambling enthusiasts were so willing to start gambling online was of course the much greater range of sports gambling options available online. All the online sports gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers published odds on a huge range of different sports and sporting events, including many taking place elsewhere in the world. We were no longer restricted to gambling on horse racing, greyhound racing or football, we had easy access to gambling on other so called minor sports such as snooker, golf and even our own GAA sports. The increase in gambling options through online gambling was not restricted to sports gambling however, the next stage in the development of online gambling probably provided even greater choice. Having proved that the concept of online gambling was popular, the bookmakers who were operating those first gambling sites decided to try and improve the returns on their investment by adding a few gambling games to their sites. Once again it was the enormous range of gambling games they were able to offer online which proved to be the catalyst for the success of what we now call online casino gambling sites.
When the leading bookmakers decided to introduce gambling games to their already successful online sports gambling sites, they were clearly more confident in the potential returns because by moving into the area of casino gambling they were no longer competing with themselves on the high street. Their rivals were the real casinos, bingo clubs and the slot machine arcades, none of which were owned by the bookmakers. As it happens there is no evidence to suggest that any of these gambling outlets have been particularly hurt by the introduction of online casino gambling, so the success of the first casino gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers has to be put down to our revived interest in playing games. There is no doubt that playing games online or on games consoles is now big business all over the world, so we should not be very surprised that the introduction of online casino gambling has resulted in more people playing gambling games than ever before.
All the major bookmakers now operate large online gambling sites which offer a huge range of gambling options covering a very wide range of sports and sporting events, whilst also incorporating up to two hundred different gambling games for casino gambling fans. Log on to any of these sites and you will see that there is actually very little difference between them in terms of the sports and sporting events they cover, nor indeed is there much difference in the odds they offer. Where there is a difference is in the range of gambling games they feature, and this is also where the influence of the casino software suppliers is most important. All the slots games featured on any online casino gambling site are designed and supplied by specialised casino software companies, so the main difference between the casino gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers is which of these software companies they chose to supply their gambling games. Playtech for instance currently supply slots games to William Hill, Ladbrokes and Betfred among the big bookmakers, whereas the Irish based Paddy Power features games supplied by Wagerworks. There is no doubt that Playtech is the dominant company in the casino software sector, but by choosing Wagerworks software Paddy Power is able to offer more exclusive games.