The online casino business brought a lucrative new side to gaming, as well as attracting a whole new demographic that is a world away from the archetypal “gamer” image. Suddenly, innovative games, and variations on ones that are centuries old, were being developed for a middle aged, high income target market – or in other words, the kind of market that you might ordinarily see in a bricks and mortar casino.

It is a market that is growing annually, and the recent legislative changes relating to sports betting in the USA are broadly expected to herald a more general relaxation in the rules related to online gambling in general across many states. This will open up a still larger market and see the sector grow even more rapidly over the coming years as more and more people learn how to play casino games using online tutorials and guides from providers such as Online Casino BlueBook.

The market itself seems at first glance to be dominated by the big multinational corporations – the kind of companies you see sponsoring the world’s largest sports teams. But this doesn’t preclude indie developers from taking advantage of the global gambling craze within their games. Here are some examples of how they go about it.

Games within games

It’s something that we’ve seen since the dawn of gaming – back in the1980s, fledgling game developer Firebird created an adventure game called The Wild Bunch in which you could take time out from the gunfights and bar brawls to play poker and win in-game money for supplies such as food, ammunition and medicine. Many found the poker to be more fun than the game itself.

Years on, and we see a similar phenomenon in games like Shenmue, where you can gamble to win in the Lucky Hit game.

Loot boxes

Loot boxes provide a way for players to acquire random rewards, either through gameplay or by investing real money into the game. They have attracted an enormous amount of media attention over recent months and have even been declared illegal in some parts of Europe, but there is no disputing that loot boxes have become increasingly prevalent in games of all genres.

Interestingly, the whole loot box concept is one that has been pursued more vigorously by the major players, and the indie developers have remained largely unaffected by the whole loot box controversy. On reflection, perhaps that is for the best until the whole furor has died down and the major markets have got their legislation in order.

If you can’t beat ’em….

We suggested earlier that the online casino sector itself is dominated by large companies. This is true, but many smaller players and indie developers are finding room to thrive in this ever-growing market through taking new and innovative angles.

These include adding more skill-based aspects to traditional games of chance, such as slots, or using AR and VR technology to create a casino experience that is closer than ever to the real thing.