2010 was a year marked by innovation, consolidation and reflection for the gambling world, with online casinos and sportsbooks both reaching out to create new agreements and adapt to new technologies. We take a look at the top 10 casino gambling developments of 2010 and, as you’d expect, it’s a list dominated by technology, partnerships and record breaking feats.
1. Microgaming Launch Lord of the Rings Slot
Back in August, Microgaming announced that they had reached an agreement with Warner Brothers which would mean the software company could potentially create three Lord of the Rings themed slots. In previous years, themed slots such as Cryptologic’s Marvel series have proved incredibly popular and, building on this success, Microgaming spent 2010 forging new relationships with big name brands. Obviously, the fruit of Microgaming’s labour is their impressive Lord of the Rings slot machine, which features 243 ways to win, a gripping free spins round and an unrivalled design.
2. Paul the Octopus Surprises Everyone
Bookmakers were left reeling after Paul the Octopus correctly predicted the winner of eight World Cup Matches, including the final. Paul, who was housed at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, correctly predicted who would win all seven of Germany’s matches – and even went onto predict that Spain would win in the final. While Paul the Octopus was loved by many – most notably the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who offered the octopus state protection after he predicted Germany’s loss against Spain – bookmakers weren’t particularly fond of the aquatic creature. According to a press release issue by William Hill, the bookmaker lost a catastrophic £500,000 over the World Cup period thanks to Paul’s spookily accurate predictions. However, bookies needn’t worry that Paul will predict the winner of the UEFA Euro 2012, as the octopus sadly passed away in October this year.
3. Betfair Announces Initial Public Offering (IPO)
When Betfair announced their IPO in September, the gambling industry was alight with rumours about the future of online casinos and sports betting in the UK. With Betfair now listed on the stock market (although some analysts have speculated there may be a long, rocky road ahead for them), it’s clear to see that the gambling industry has grown exponentially over the past few years and in particular, in 2010.
4. 888 Launches 3D Casino
One of our favourite innovations of 2010 has to be 888’s spectacular 3D casino. While poker fans have been able to enjoy rich, immersive graphics through the likes of PKR, 888’s 3D offering is perhaps the first time online casino players have been able to enjoy fully customisable avatars, the ability to navigate your way around a complete, resort-style lobby and even chat with other players. However, don’t just take our word for it; check out the screenshot of the casino below:
5. Apple Releases the iPad
If you’re not a fan of Apple, then chances are the iPad’s spot in our top 10 developments may cause some bemusement. However, Steve Jobs’ latest invention has (combined with the iPhone) changed the face of online gambling. Many online casinos have been keen to crack into the lucrative app market, with the likes of 32Red and Betfair now offering iPad/iPhone compatible applications.
6. Casinos get Social
While in 2009, casinos merely dabbled in the world of social media, 2010 became the year gambling websites got serious about social. All of the big players in the casino world, such as 32Red and Betfair, can now be contacted directly through the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Even Las Vegas casinos have got in on the act and offer players special discounts directly through social media websites.
7. PartyGaming and Bwin Merge
Along with Betfair’s initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market, PartyGaming and Bwin’s merger signalled a new age of maturity within the online gambling world. According to The Independent, the merger meant that PartyGaming and Bwin would become the world’s largest gambling company, with revenues of a whopping £572 million.
8. Online Casinos and Gambling Grows Quicker than Facebook
Perhaps one of the biggest surprise developments of 2010 was news that the growth of visitors to online gambling websites was larger than the increase of visitors on sites such as Facebook. The report, which was published by Nielsen, stated that 3.2 million extra people visited online casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks, compared with the additional 2.2 million internet users who visited social networking/media sites.
9. Microgaming Release Hellboy Slot
Featuring twice in our list of top 10 developments, Microgaming’s Hellboy slot also proved to be a big hit in 2010. In January, Hellboy first began appearing at online casinos such as Ladbrokes and since then, it’s been a smash success with players. The game features a thrilling bonus round, where you help locate the missing members of Hellboy’s Underworld team. With a top jackpot of 25,000 casino credits and a detailed, comic book design, Microgaming’s Hellboy slot is one of our favourite games of 2010.
10. Bet365 Founder Speaks Out
Finally, our tenth industry development of 2010 has to be eGaming Review’s interview with the founder of Bet365, Denise Coates. Speaking out about Betfair’s floatation, as well as the history of Bet365, Coates revealed that the company has no plans for an IPO and suggested that the team behind the betting and casino website “like running the business”.