In the last couple of decades the online gambling scene has gone from strength to strength. At the same time, mobile usage has soared. It’s perhaps no surprise that the two have come together, with increasing numbers of casinos offering mobile platforms and apps.
The Rise of Mobiles and Online Gambling
Technology has advanced at a great rate in recent years. It’s not so long ago that instant mobile communications were part of Star Trek’s fictional universe. Almost concurrently, the technology used for the internet and mobile telephones (and, more recently, devices such as tablets and smartwatches) has developed at a rate of knots.
It’s hard now to imagine a world without the internet, or mobile phones. The Pew Research Center think tank found that, in 2019, 96% of the American population has a mobile, with 81% possessing smartphones and just over 50% owning tablet devices.
The online casino industry is fiercely competitive, and with such a strong adoption of mobiles, (more than four in five people owning smartphones), it’s no surprise betting sites have been quick to try and get a slice of that very large pie. This is also catering to the desires of players, who already own mobiles and find them very convenient. Between casinos wanting to attract new players and consumers already owning mobiles, the dovetailing of these mutual interests with casino apps was always going to happen.
Mobile gambling’s rapid rise is no particular surprise given how popular online casino betting is now. To an extent, the proliferation of online betting sites has created a bit of a problem for potential gamblers, who can see just how many casinos there are and might wonder where to start. Fortunately, there are places where you can find out the basics of gambling as well as reading many more reviews of Canadian online casinos, to help find the best sites, and steer clear of rocky waters.
The rapid rise of casino app popularity in recent years is well illustrated by the statistic for year-on-year growth for Apple iOS mobile casino game sessions, as of January 2016. Growth in Italy, China, and Denmark rose by 98%, 112%, and 143% respectively. And in Taiwan the growth rate, over just a year, was a staggering 271%.
Advantages of Mobile Casino Apps
Some of the advantages of casino apps are pretty obvious. Being mobile, (whether a phone or tablet) players can gamble on the go without having to boot up a PC and being chained to a desk. You can dip into games for half an hour if you find yourself at a loose end, and because so many people have mobile devices anyway there’s usually no extra cost getting the hardware.
Another upside is that many mobile apps are as well-developed as the more traditional browser-based platforms. This means players can enjoy bonuses, a wide variety of funding methods, and ongoing promotions.
Mobile Casino Apps Now
At the moment, dedicated mobile platforms are pretty common for online casinos but they are not ubiquitous. Major casinos very often have their own particular apps, and these provide access to a broad but not totally comprehensive range of slots and table games. Going forward, the leading software developers are increasingly designing their games to be mobile compatible, but there are still some that can only be played through the old-fashioned (as it were) browser-based instant play and download options.
One significant difference with casino apps and playing via a browser is the greater variance of operating systems (OS). Just because a casino has a mobile platform doesn’t mean that it’s compatible with every type of mobile OS.
Today, the two biggest mobile OS by a substantial margin are Android and iOS (for Apple devices). Behind these come Windows and BlackBerry. It’s worth noting that Windows has a peculiar advantage because its software is essentially that of a desktop, so a Windows mobile device can play at a casino without needing an app or mobile-specific platform. Because iOS and Android are far and away the most popular OS many casinos with apps design them with these two in mind.
In the UK, figures from the Gambling Commission for the year to 2018 indicated that 51% of men and 41% of women had recently participated in some form of gambling. In addition, 40% of people were found to have gambled online recently (within the last four weeks). Considering the very high rate of mobile ownership and 40% of people gambling online (per the figure above), it’s no surprise that casinos have been quick to develop apps to cater to a very large global market.
In the future, I’d personally expect online betting sites to increase the range of app compatibility and for more casinos to offer mobile platforms. Betting sites have been quick to take advantage of new technology and adapt their offering to increase convenience for players.
We’ve seen that with the rapid rise of mobile platforms to date, and elsewhere, with cryptocurrency (most notably Bitcoin) becoming accepted as a banking method at an increasing number of casinos.
VR – the Future?
Virtual reality (VR) has been a staple of sci-fi for a long time. But then, so were mobile communications. Recently, VR’s taken off in gaming, but it also has many other potential uses, including training surgeons, touring the ancient past, watching sport, and, perhaps, playing casino games.
On the gaming side of things, which is likely to be the most popular usage of the tech, VR remains a small proportion of the market compared to traditional PC, console, and mobile gaming. But its use is increasing, and we’ve seen with cryptocurrency and mobile platforms that casinos are swift to evolve and embrace new technology. There are already different VR headsets which have different PC/mobile/console requirements, but casinos have had no difficulties handling multiple OS for casino apps.
If VR, through gaming or perhaps sports coverage, reaches a high enough adoption rate then I think it near certain that the online betting industry will be keen for a slice of the action.