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The Subtle Differences Between Gaming and iGaming

It is important to remember that gaming is a different industry from iGaming, even though both terms sound similar. A video game is a traditional video game, whereas a gambling game is an online game involving odds and chance.

There has been tremendous growth in the gaming and iGaming industries in the last decade. The two have intertwined over time, with each mimicking a few aspects of the other despite the differences (e.g. the use of real money). In this article, we’ll discuss what each term means, as well as why they’re similar and different.

What is iGaming?

There are two ways to define iGaming: narrowly and broadly. In its narrowest sense, iGaming can be defined as betting online on the outcome of a game of chance. Thus, ‘i’ stands for internet in iGaming.

In contrast, if an individual bets online, it falls under the broader umbrella of gambling, which includes a wide range of games, such as casinos, sports betting, sweepstakes, lottery games, bingo games, and card games. By iGaming, we mean an industry encompassing multiple online verticals and the various entities that make up these verticals.

The iGaming market includes, for example, companies that create online casino games software (game providers). Similarly, gambling software platform developers fall under the iGaming software supplier category. A game of skill differs from a game of chance, where the outcome is heavily influenced by chance or RNG.

Casinos, online sportsbooks, sweepstakes, lottery games, bingo, fantasy sports, and eSports are included in the first category. Among the latter are card games (e.g., poker, blackjack, bridge) as well as chess, backgammon, and other games where players’ mental skills are more important than chance. However, the best new casinos offer both games of chance and skill so a player has a wide range of options to choose from.

What is Gaming?

Whether playing on consoles, computers, mobile phones, or other mediums altogether, gaming refers to playing electronic games. The term gaming is nuanced, suggesting regular play that may be a hobby. The popularity of online multiplayer video games has transformed gaming from a solitary to a group activity. Several “golden ages” have marked gaming’s rise in popularity, each viewed as a peak. New technologies and games, however, have steadily increased the number of people playing games. 

Several new technologies have spawned new types of gaming, including smartphones and motion sensors. “Casual gaming” is now used to refer to intermittent gaming, whereas “hardcore gaming” describes people who play a lot.

iGaming and Gaming: Similar but Different

The main difference between online gaming and iGaming is that one involves gambling. While online gaming involves recreational multiplayer games, iGaming involves online gambling sites, poker rooms, and bookmakers. The gaming industry has seen a shift in recent years with new elements like “loot boxes” encouraging gambling. However, online games are still not using “real money” in terms of buying all elements of a game with real money rather than with in-game currency.

On the other hand, we have seen iGaming elements and mechanisms that are inspired by the gaming world. Gaming technologies like VR and AR are making their way into online casino games, such as online slots.

For players at least, the line between what can be considered gaming and what can be considered iGaming has blurred in many ways. In the legal sense, however, we are likely to see the divide continuing in the near future because iGaming regulations are usually much more strict than gaming regulations.

While iGaming does take a lot of inspiration from gaming, the two are still worlds apart. It is not certain however that sometime in the future they will become one and the same.

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