iGaming is an umbrella term that encompasses all forms of online gambling. To put it simply, it is an activity where a potential punter wagers money or value on the result of an event or a game online.

The seeds for the iGaming industry, or online gambling as it is commonly known, were sown in 1994, when Microgaming, an Isle of Man-based software developer, developed the first complete gambling program. In 1995, Cryptologic released the world's first branded online casino - InterCasino.

Is iGaming only about online poker or online casinos? Not necessarily. Among the many distinct channels contributing to the booming iGaming industry are sports betting, and daily fantasy sports.

Technology advances have enabled gaming operators to improve the framework and accessibility of their products, which support multiple platforms - be it a console or a mobile phone.

What makes iGaming so popular?

The iGaming industry is all about entertainment, and the ever-changing trends continue to attract audiences on a larger scale. Additionally, the pandemic has played a major role in online gaming taking significant strides in sales and the average time spent by a user.

Here are some of the key factors that make iGaming popular:

Choice of games: While traditional casinos have a limited selection of games for customers, iGaming provides various options to opt for. Furthermore, a visitor can avail bonuses and other rewards whether as a first-time participant or as they continue playing.

Convenience: One factor that can make casinos lose customers is convenience. Time and travel are some of the significant drawbacks for gaming outlets like land-based casinos, considering not all members may belong to a particular demographic region. iGaming, in turn, makes it possible for you to choose and play your favourite game at any time and place, and on any device.

Affordability: Money is everything when it comes to gambling, and one doesn’t only spend it just on games. Travel costs and miscellaneous fees can restrict a potential punter from playing games, but with iGaming, one can avoid the financial stress that might come up.

Rather than spending big in-game, iGaming helps an iGamer only spend on premium games and consoles (laptop/mobile), given that some of the existing titles (games) are now available for free.

Game selection: iGaming sites offer a wide range of games compared to a real casino. And this makes it easier to get one that interests you. If not sure of the best games, you can always check out the game reviews, which helps you make a wise selection.

Privacy: Apart from convenience and affordability, privacy is essential in gaming. Land-based casinos often have a huge crowd at their outlets, which means personal information can be stolen and used for other purposes. With iGaming, there is a transparent policy of confidentiality between businesses and customers, thus enabling potential iGamers to play seamlessly on their devices. 

Availability: For a punter who goes to a land-based casino, nothing ticks them off other than not having desks/slot machines to play with. This adds to the frustration of either missing the time slots available due to travel problems or a long queue. So what is the solution? Go online.

iGaming makes sure you never miss out on the games you love. Besides the choice of games, you can customise your level of difficulty, theme and feel of the game per se to your enjoyment.

With so much on offer, the iGaming industry is extremely competitive with each brand keen to raise their bar. In recognition of their efforts, awards ceremonies are held to celebrate the myriad fragmented digital services on offer. These awards add even more credibility and boost established names further.

What are the top awards in the iGaming industry?

iGaming companies are now investing heavily in projects that help make gambling more enjoyable while creating an environment that limits betting addictions.

We examine how the big-wigs of the iGaming sector recognise and reward the entities that make significant contributions.

EGR Operator Awards

EGR Global - eGaming Review - is a leading portal that provides exclusive content about the gambling sector and is a platform to network with the most influential persons in the iGaming industry.

The company is well known for its ‘Operator Awards’ - which is likened to the Oscars. There are approximately 30 different award categories that reward not just casinos but also betting operators.

Some of the prominent awards at this event include the Operator of the Year award, Affiliate of the Year and Rising Star.

SBC Awards

Sports Betting Community is deemed the largest B2B news portal in the betting industry with operations in the USA and the UK. 

SBC, which organizes the 'Betting On Sports' conference and the 'Casino Beats Summit', will host its eighth SBC Awards in 2021. Here, the organisation acknowledges the contributions of operators, affiliates, and suppliers to marketing, customer service, and IT solutions within the iGaming sector.

The 2021 SBC Awards has 43 award categories – 14 Operator awards, 3 Affiliate awards, 20 Supplier awards, four Payment awards and two Specialist awards.

iGB Affiliate Awards

The iGB Affiliate Awards is hosted by iGB Affiliate, who publishes a bi-monthly editorial titled iGB Affiliate Magazine in the UK.

The event honours individuals and organisations who brought about dynamic business growth in the highly-competitive iGaming market through strategic and ingenious marketing programs.

Some of the top awards include Best affiliate website/manager/program and Best website across Poker, casino, sports betting, bingo and lottery games. 

International Gaming Awards

The International Gaming Awards is by far the oldest name in the iGaming industry, given its 12-year history.

The awards, organised by Infinity Gaming, was first held in 2008, and they acknowledge gambling businesses across all sectors who have made a large impact in the iGaming industry. 

The IGA awards are usually held in London. The 14-member jury panel comprises six IGA employees, while the other eight are CEOs of development companies.

iGaming Idol Awards

The iGaming Idol Awards is unique among the awards on the list, as only individual contenders are eligible to participate.

Nominees for the award show will be required to prove their contribution to the iGaming industry in Malta before a panel of judges. It is important to note that this event, conceived by Michael Pederson, was inspired by BBC's "Phone Shop Idol" in which three industry experts would test 25,000 eligible applicants on their customer service skills and product knowledge over six months.

The nominations and judging process is audited by a third-party organisation (BDO Malta).

Europe Gaming Awards (SiGMA)

SiGMA, one of the world's largest iGaming festivals and leading online gaming authority, hosts its Europe Gaming Awards in Malta.

The Europe Gaming Awards will recognise individuals and companies for their creative projects that have brought new perspectives to the iGaming industry in Europe and Malta, which is among the foremost countries to welcome sports betting.

Malta iGaming Excellence

Malta’s Gaming Excellence Awards is one of the most comprehensive awards events for the iGaming industry. Shortened to MiGEA, the event celebrates the companies and individuals that are on top of their game in bringing innovative changes to the ever-expanding sector in the country of Malta.