Emerging Technologies Powering Canadian Online Casinos
The online gaming world is expanding at a rate of knots – and technology needs to keep up with the demand.
16:24 02 February 2021
If Covid19 has shown us one thing, it is that people have had to find new and interesting ways to keep themselves occupied at home. The online gaming and gambling world has seen massive growth in 2020 as new players entered the fold, and those who frequented land based casinos felt safer playing at home in the digital environment.
Canada leading the tech charge
When one thinks of Canada, one thinks of beautiful landscapes, cold winters and pleasant people. One does not think of a highly advanced technological leader in the online gaming space. Nothing could be further from the truth. As much as the creation of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has created a fertile environment for casinos to thrive, where the Canadians differ is their insatiable quest to create better and more efficient tech systems to continuously improve the quality and gaming experience for their online casino customers.
There are over 43,000 registered companies in Canada within the ICT sector, of which a whopping 39,000 of them operate within the software and computer services industry.
The tech sector in Canada, with an investment of $9.1b in 2016 alone, was by far the largest private sector investor in R&D.
E-commerce is the future
Although most online users are comfortable with online transactions – especially newer customers who are native digital adopters – as new systems are put in place it creates two specific challenges for technology platform creators. Firstly, any innovations in the e-commerce environment needs to be underpinned with a strong educational drive so that customers always feel safe and secure when parting with their personal details and money.
Secondly, as much as security technology has gone a long way in improving the safety of customers’ information, being an industry leader means being technologically advanced – and that unfortunately also rings true for fraudsters who are always looking to innovate. Canadian companies have managed to stay ahead of this curve by forging strong relationships with the banks and financial services providers by integrating their security software into their online casino back-ends. This has enabled Canadian casinos to offer numerous payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, vouchers, EFT, Instant Debit, Web Wallet and Bank Transfers.
With so many new casino entrants – even more so in 2020 – competition for share-of-wallet is fierce. Canadian casinos are now deploying much smarter marketing tools that combine a range of data points to ensure that the right message meets the right customer at the right time. Gone are the days where broad messages are sprayed to everyone in the hope that customers will click. There are very distinct differences between hard-core online poker players looking for high stakes games, and newbie slots players looking for a few hours to pass the time on a 1c machine. Predictive analytics and continuously-enriched and cleaned databases allow Canadian online casinos to gain a competitive advantage over their peers who operate outside their borders.
The hard side to software development
Although there are any prohibitive laws in Canada around how and where casinos may operate, this complexity is not passed onto the customer. By employing sophisticated technology that ensures seamless gameplay and high end graphics, Canadian online casinos are able to offer a world-class experience to their players.
When developing software, it also needs to be easily adaptable to integrate new games, rules and even legislation. Online casinos need to be able to update their platforms while still being able to operate so that customers do not encounter any lulls in their gambling time and end up signing on at a competitor site.
Game development specifically is a highly sought-after skillset, with developers having to be proficient in programs such as Turbo C++, and Windows SDK. These games need to be developed to be compatible with platforms such as Windows and .Net.
The one issue that online casinos – and not just in Canada – have struggled with is to simulate a land based casino experience. The first online casinos were introduced in 1996 and were rudimentary at best, using basic platforms such as Flash to serve their games. Fast forward to 2020, where compression rates have evolved to such a degree that live video streaming in HD is now a basic factor. This is due to massive investment in Game Control Units – which is in essence the brain of the online casino – which allows massive amounts of data to pass through in nanoseconds to create a virtually seamless video experience, be it in-game live dealers or customer service requests.
Furthermore, the technology also allows identical game play, no matter which device the customer is playing on – from desktop computer to mobile phone.
Next on the horizon
Nobody can quite predict how the pandemic issues of 2020 will impact on online casino customer behaviour going into 2021. However, it is a safe bet to make that the Canadian gaming tech industry is poised to further build on the culture of innovation to ensure that the industry remains competitive well into the future.