We're going to put our conspiracy hats on here and come out with something that not many people will agree with… Okay, you might agree with it one hundred percent but still, nobody seems to talk about it which we think is odd. That's why we've decided to come out with it and ask: has online gambling become too homogenized?
This question, never uttered by anyone, is the elephant in the room when it comes to mobile gambling: people notice it, think it's weird but never acknowledge it or do anything about it. We want to change that by examining in what ways, if any, mobile gambling is too samey and whether anything can be done to improve this.
Casinos! Casinos Everywhere!!
Let's just get this out of the way. We think that many mobile casinos are extremely similar. Shock, horror, blasphemy! Actually, you've probably noticed this yourself if you've visited enough of them. Even if you haven't, it's a known fact that the online gambling industry is a saturated market that's full of so many mobile casinos that sometimes it's hard to distinguish between them. This isn't helped by the fact that many of these casinos borrow the same software to use on their websites, most likely a cost-effective move seeing as it takes time and money to develop games in-house.
And while we don't think paying to use NetEnt or Microgaming software is exactly cheap (or a crime, so cool your boots!), it does cut time off on making your own slots from scratch. But this is exactly the problem! It's almost impossible to come up with anything new because once you do that, you're in danger of being swallowed up by the dominant slots that are on the market. Players are more likely to play a slot made by NetEnt than they are to play a slot from a developer they've never seen before; NetEnt just have too good of a track record! That's the simple truth of the matter.
It's not only that, either. Several mobile casinos may have very similar promotion schemes or may even look the same thanks to a template they can buy and use that employs the same games, the same promotions and the same layout. One example we can think of include casinos powered by Nektan. While we enjoy Nektan casinos, there's no denying that many of them are just the same (at least, they are in layout) with just a different colour scheme.
The Nature Of Gambling
Okay, some people may think this argument is redundant. After all, gambling is an industry that's very slow to change. It may pioneer some technological advancements (such as mobile, 3D and VR) but at its core, it's a very conservative entity. Not only have the games that you find in every casino across the world changed very little, but the customers don't want it to change. At least, not too much.
Because think about it: how many real-life casinos have you walked into and thought, “Wow, this casino is just like every other!” Because of course it is! It's not like it's a café where it has to compete a hundred other cafés in the local area. This casino is probably the only one closest to your house within a ten mile radius. Of course you're not going to complain if it's just like that one you visited in London one time.
But here's the thing, it's different for online gambling and there is one core reason why that is: because you don't even need to leave your house in order to visit one. And because of this ease-of-access, it's much easier to notice the homogenization because you could visit three different ones in the course of one afternoon. Real-life casinos (though not exactly rare) aren't as common as betting shops and have less reason to have a USP. The experience of entering a casino itself is an event. Being mobile cuts that uniqueness out of the equation and that's why many casinos feel familiar.
What Should We Do About It?
What can you personally do about it? Speak using your wallet. Only visit smaller, more unique mobile casinos and pay the popular ones no mind. If you communicate to a company your disinterest to their content by not paying for it, they're more likely to listen to you. Any companies, even online gambling ones, like to pretend they know what a customer wants but really they have little idea. They go off figures and charts and what sells.
But what would they do about it? Hopefully they'll make different games that will entice our interest or they'll come up with far more creative promotion schemes that'll be both generous and inviting. While we wouldn't go as far to say that the online gambling industry needs a hard reset (things certainly are changing, just look at VR!), we do think it could do more to help players distinguish the uniqueness of each casino.
On the other hand, despite practically monopolizing the market, companies like NetEnt at least try to come out with different slots and by that we don't just mean different themes. They actually make games that challenge the basics of slot-playing and make use of their extra features in any way they can. We just hope the rest of the industry gets the hint and follows their example.