Imagine an online bookmaker and its odds on that you’ll picture something static and largely based on numbers with some more numbers alongside them… In many respects it would be the antithesis of what you might expect a gaming experience to be all about. More like work than play in fact.

But times are changing. As  Generation Y grows up - however reluctantly - our interests are maturing too. That is not to say that animated characters and fantasy adventure have been left behind like our parents might have abandoned some old Action Man in a toy box - clearly they haven’t. Rather, what is happening is that online gaming is becoming a more heterogeneous, multi-genre phenomenon.

It used to be just a coincidence that ‘online gaming’ meant different things to different people - whilst it suggested virtual reality in one form or another to some, to others it was a euphemism for online gambling.

As time has gone by the semantic overlap has been matched by a crossover in the audience as well. The kids who grew up with Lara Croft and Michael de Santa are now also playing ‘grown up’ games of poker and roulette and backing their sporting judgement with real cash.

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And just as those people grew up developing gaming strategies to negotiate the intricacies of fiction-based games, they are now developing betting strategies that maximise their chances of success. The only difference is that a win at somewhere like bet365 or returns cold hard cash rather than mere game credits.

But that movement in terms of where gamers are playing and what sort of games they are playing is also a reflection of developments in the way those online cash-oriented games are being presented. Increasingly, they look less like some sort of sports nerd’s scrapbook and more like immersive, visually engaging play rooms. The similarities don’t stop at that ‘online gaming’ description.

Sports-focussed sites like bet 365 will carry live streaming of games, so that you can see the drama unfold before your eyes - sound familiar? At the same time there are online casino facilities that involve real life croupiers interacting with remote players. Needless to say these human figures tend to be of the photogenic and ‘attractive’ variety.

It all builds to an immersive gaming environment that is every bit as recreational as the fantasy products that we are familiar with. Naturally the betting aspect means that there is an age cut-off which makes these sites are for adults only. But that is where generation Y is at now.

As the business analysts behind both ends of the online gaming industry look to the enormous potential that tapping into each other’s revenues might mean, expect to hear more about the crossover between the sorts of stand-alone games and those which bring in a cash element. Online bookmaking and casino providers who are able to offer the thrill of a game with real cash rewards are increasingly providing sites that are tailor-made for gamers who expect something more dynamic, more engaging and above all, more exciting than just a few numbers on a page.


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