Since the beginning of the 21st century, there’s been a monumental shift in how the internet has transformed many parts of London life.

Take the internationally recognisable London black cab, for instance. It has found itself competing against the emergence of Uber's global success – just one of several changes the London economy has had to contend with owing to the rise of the internet and digital mobile apps.

Online casinos are among the market leaders in their field, which is the case in the UK and beyond. Many of the top London casinos have felt this pinch, and it’s to be expected given our society's current climate. Mobiles are dominating, and with cheap internet and smartphones, it’s no surprise to see such a strong switch to online providers.

Online casinos can offer more accessible ways to play as you don’t need to leave your home and there are hundreds of different types of welcome bonuses and promotions you can take advantage of. This combination of factors has put them right at the front of a digital revolution.

Innovations of online casino gaming

It’s not just the litany of welcome bonuses and promotions that are one of the key battlegrounds for online casinos; there are also those looking to provide more expansive gaming libraries than the competition and faster withdrawal times. While there isn’t too much difference between some of the fastest withdrawal casinos, even having a provider that can provide you with your withdrawal an hour or two earlier than the competition can be the deciding factor which causes people to choose one casino over the other.

The rise of digital payments has been a fascinating concept. It is truly the first time in over 200 years that the traditional finance system has had to face genuinely innovative competition. Casinos have spearheaded much of this change, allowing genuine routes for those looking to try out these payments.

While e-wallets have been behind a lot of innovations, casinos are continually moving forward and searching for the latest technological breakthroughs. Many casinos have moved toward blockchain and cryptocurrency gaming following the colossal rise in the price of Bitcoin over the last 12 months. While it’s by no means the most popular route of casino gaming, it highlights that the continued changes in the industry are pushing forward towards digital innovations and not back towards land-based providers.

The future of London casinos

There will always be some market for casinos in London as it is home to over eight million people and is one of the most visited cities in the world. Few cities in Europe or worldwide can boast the range of nightlife and world-class restaurants on offer in the Big Smoke.

Casinos do not make up the backbone of tourism and industry in London as they do in some other places, such as Las Vegas. While there hasn’t been a mass exodus away from land-based casinos, they have definitely started to feel the pinch.

Relative to the industry, land-based casino profits have decreased compared to 20 years ago, before the internet and online gambling truly began to take a stranglehold on the global market. It does appear as though this has plateaued. If you were to walk through any casino in or around central London on a Friday or Saturday night, you wouldn't get the impression that they're on their way out.

Positives for London casinos

There’s no denying that land-based casinos have taken a big hit since the rise of the digital alternative. It’s become even more apparent in cities that might not have as many supplementary nightlife offerings as London does.

For example, big sporting events and poker tournaments can draw huge crowds and entrants in London. However, if you go further afield to more rural parts of the UK, there’s been a far more noticeable shift in those choosing online casinos rather than playing at a land-based provider.

Bettors who are still frequenting London casinos do so for many reasons, but many of them will say it’s down to the social element and the atmosphere. The industry has these advantages over online platforms, and they are almost impossible to replicate.

For this reason, it’s highly unlikely that online gambling will spell the end for casinos in London. However, diminishing returns and numbers could continue, especially if there’s a sharp increase in the sophistication of both artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) casino gaming. Depending on the speed and potential growth in both sectors, online casinos could eat up some ground, but it would take a landmark innovation to prise away ardent land-based casino fans.

Final thoughts

While it can be challenging to honestly say what the future has in store for any industry, it’s probably a safe bet to say that London casinos will still have an audience but that the digital landscape will continue growing in its dominance. Could that eventually lead to an end for London casinos? Perhaps for some.

It’d be a stretch to say that all casinos in one of the world’s most densely populated and bustling cities will cease to exist. It would take something truly significant to convince people to move away from land-based casinos, especially those who prefer the atmosphere and social element that is so hard to replicate in an online environment.

VR casinos have been the latest suggestion from some within the casino gaming industry. Without making any sweeping generalisations, a lot of the gamblers who prefer going to a physical casino are often of an older generation, who aren’t as computer literate and are set in their ways.