Learn about the rise of mobile casinos and find the best places to gamble on the go.
Modern smartphone technology has facilitated the rise of mobile casinos, and created a global mobile gambling market worth more than $10 billion. But where did gambling at your fingertips all begin, and what’s it all about?
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In 1996, the gambling software giant Microgaming launched the world’s first ever online casino. It was beset with technical problems: frustratingly slow loading times, endless ‘buffering’ and a lack of robust security features. It was, however, a blueprint for the future.
The real genesis of mobile gaming can be found in 2007 when the first wave of smartphones (including the original Apple iPhone) were released onto the market. This was followed in 2010 by the launch of the Apple iPad. These devices delivered faster loading times, crisper resolution, 3D graphics and, perhaps most importantly, touchscreen capabilities. The arrival of 3G and now 4G internet has created seamless player interaction, and responsive web design means gambling websites can now adjust and cater for mobile users.
In the future, mobile gambling looks set to benefit from ‘self-powered’ mobile devices, NFC-based mobile wallets and an increasing number of mobile casino apps.
Nearly every casino that offers a mobile version of their site develops with iPads, iPhones and Android devices in mind. This used to be in the form of dedicated, downloadable apps, but now more casinos are creating HTML5 apps that download ‘temporarily’ in a mobile browser.
This tactic helps casinos to side-step the problems associated with getting their apps on iTunes and Google Play (the latter does not allow gambling apps that permit real money play to be hosted there at all). It’s also good news for Windows Phones and BlackBerry users, as HTML5-based apps should also work on their devices.
Mobile gambling safety and security
There is an assumption in some quarters that mobile casinos can’t provide the requisite level of security, leaving gamers at the mercy of card duplication and identity theft. This, however, is a myth perpetuated by the social taboos surrounding gambling and general technophobia.
Many of us feel comfortable shopping online using our credit or debit card, and that’s because payment gateways are as robust as they come. The same principles apply to mobile gaming, with the most rigorous data encryption imaginable. Furthermore, modern payment methods such as Ukash and Paysafecard don’t actually require users to enter personal information online.
Mobile casino games
The popularity of online slots, mobile slots and roulette has spiralled over the past few years with the release of HTML5 games. Mobile betting has also come to the fore, with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power generating 51% of its total betting revenue in 2013 from mobile devices. ‘Fast-fold poker’ is another modern phenomenon, offering a high-octane poker experience where players are thrust onto a new table every time they fold a hand, thus eliminating waiting times.
Since mobile now occupies around twenty percent of the online gambling market, operators are tailoring their games purely to mobile users. In July 2013, one lucky punter scooped £866,000 at William Hill’s mobile casino.
The move towards mobile
In July 2014, the global information and research service comScore.com released figures that confirmed the increasing popularity of mobile devices. These figures indicated that in January 2014, internet usage via mobile devices exceeded internet usage on desktops and laptops for the first time ever.
This news alerted online casino providers around the globe to think about their mobile-owning clientele more diligently, and to provide them with more agreeable mobile options than just a few slots and table games.
Some casinos started to openly embrace mobile users as much – or even more so – as they did traditional desktop users. One casino which really upped the ante when it came to mobile play was LeoVegas, which offered almost 300 games on the mobile version of its site, out of its total portfolio of over 450 games.
LeoVegas were even the first owners of the new iPhone 6 when Apple’s latest smartphone product was launched in the UK. They then promptly gave the device away to one lucky punter who’d won a promotion on their site.
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