Gamification is the new marketing weapon of choice for many online gambling websites today as competition stiffens and options for users inundate the Internet. Not only does it help in enhancing user experience, but it also keeps players entertained for longer – and coming back for more. Information-rich online gambling forums and websites like GambleRock.com highlight how this trend of gamification is catching on.

Another noticeable trend that’s developing in today’s gambling and casino market is the expansion of offerings like augmented reality. From classic online casino games to AR gaming, several top casino and gambling sites now offer a wide range of virtual gaming entertainment to suit every player’s palate and wallet.

This not-so-subtle shift from traditional casino games like slots and poker is seeing rapid adoption, validated by strong growth in traffic and user base across all gaming categories. Data from Coherent Market Insights reveals that “the global online gambling and betting market was valued at US$ 46.9 billion in 2017 and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 11.4% over the forecast period (2018 – 2026).” Within the next decade, it could well exceed the $100 billion mark.

What is Gamification?

One of the drivers of this double-digit growth is gamification, which is the simple yet complex art of infusing elements of traditional gaming into virtual casino, gambling, and betting environments.

Gamification can be as simple as offering power upgrades for achieving specific goals like reaching a particular level; or, it can be a complex ecosystem involving a social element.

AI & the Role of Gamification

The emergence of artificial intelligence has accelerated the development of gamification as a key growth driver for casino and gambling websites. Operators of such websites can now employ AI to ensure a more consistent and fair gaming experience, not to mention the fact that it saves them a ton of money that would otherwise be required to operate a complex gamified environment.

But the real question we’re addressing here is this: how do online casinos become gamified and what are the benefits?

In an article called Why Many Online Casinos Have Been Gamified, the author highlights the monetary challenges of gamifying a casino site. However, gamification doesn’t have to mean expensive coding or tools. There are several ways in which a casino website can leverage the power of gamification. A basic example would be to reward players for liking the site on Facebook. Alternatively, the site could introduce special bonuses for certain actions executed by the player; for example, a time-limited competition within a game is likely to increase player time because they want to earn the reward and are willing to wait it out.

The implementations are numerous, but they all have one goal – to help the site earn more through increased player engagement.

The benefits are equally numerous from a player’s perspective. From being able to win more free loot to engaging in more activities than normal, today’s online casino player is frequently and handsomely rewarded for spending more time and more money on the site. Those rewards don’t always have to be monetary. For example, a simple leaderboard in a social-media-integrated game allows give the winner some tangible rewards, but it also gives them boasting rights. Sites leverage this by allowing players to post their wins on Facebook and other social platforms.

One benefit that we can’t afford to ignore is that these trends lift the entire industry. Although new players are a strong driver of growth on any gaming platform, it is the phenomenon of players increasingly spending more money on the site that makes that growth sustainable in the long run. And without the element of sustainability, any initiative – including gamification of casino sites – will tend to die a natural death.