Gambling enthusiasts are given the opportunity to gain quick access to their favorite casino games via portable devices like smartphones and tablets. This enables them to play on the go, anywhere and any time they like – while they’re waiting for the bus or are standing in line, for example. As the demand for mobile games increases, so does the number of gambling operators that are available in mobile format. Most gaming software providers have developed mobile applications, compatible with the most widespread portable devices like Apple’s iPhones or iPads and those working on Google’s Android.
So, how do mobile casinos function? Are they a good, reliable alternative to the standard casino sites that we access from our desktop and laptop computers? Depending on the technologies involved, the app developers, and the overall mobile compatibility of casinos, some of them perform even better on mobiles than they do on desktops. In this article, we have tried to explain the differences between standard online casinos and their newer versions, created specifically for smaller screens. Players who wish to access their favorite gambling sites from their phones or tablets may also find useful information about the current mobile games and mobile-specific payments.
- How Do Mobile Casinos Work
- Mobile Apps vs. Web Apps
- Mobile Games
- Mobile Payments
- Pros and Cons
How Do Mobile Casinos Work?
The first mobile casinos started popping up a decade ago when probably very few of us had imagined how huge the mobile market would become. Today, mobile gaming produces around a third of all winnings from gambling worldwide and it is expected to grow even more in the near future. Thanks to the rapid evolution of the apps, our mobile phones are much more than a communication tool today – we use them to buy books and clothes, to order pizza, chat with friends, take photos, and even pay our taxes.
We also use them for entertainment and playing casino games, in particular. Mobile casinos allow fans of slots and card games to load their game of choice on their phone. But that is not all – in order to be fully functional and to provide a gaming experience comparable to the one we get from casinos available on desktops, mobile casinos must be so much more. The best mobile-friendly gambling operators today incorporate their customer account database, cashier systems, and bonus schemes within their mobile offerings.
As a result, casino patrons can create and manage their player accounts from their smartphones, they can carry out financial transactions for both deposits and withdrawals, and they can claim various bonuses and promotional offers. Moreover, an increasing number of casino operators are including their live casino offerings in their mobile applications. However, there is a huge difference between mobile-compatible and mobile-optimized casinos. In addition, whereas some casino apps have to be downloaded and installed on the device itself, others load directly in the web browser of the phone or tablet.
Mobile Apps vs. Web Apps
Mobile applications usually referred to as just apps, are a specific type of application software designed to run on smartphones or tablet computers. These apps are a condensed, lightweight version of the fuller desktop applications that come with much more features and functions and resemble actual computer programs. As desktop apps work with a larger computer system, display, a mouse, and a keyboard, they are extremely complex and heavy, requiring a lot of processing power, among other things, to run.
Their mobile counterparts are stripped of everything that is deemed unnecessary and non-essential for working with a touchscreen and a smaller device. Mobile apps are developed for a specific type of devices and the operating systems they work on. This is why casinos’ native apps can be for iOS devices, Android phones and tablets, and sometimes even for Windows Phone or BlackBerry. These applications must be downloaded – for free from Apple’s App Store, Google Play, or Microsoft Store, or directly from the casino website. After they are installed, they give access to the mobile casino but often, additional downloads must be made for new games.
There is another type of application, however, that differs from the desktop and mobile apps – the web app. Some casinos rely on responsive web design to allow the web pages to render and function well on all kinds of devices and screen sizes. With the introduction of HTML5, single-page web apps that load in browsers but store data locally (and even function in offline mode) now have improved content, design, and functionality.
In the past couple of years, some casinos also presented their progressive web apps – a new breed of apps that loads like web pages but offering enhanced functionality such as access to device hardware. In addition, there are hybrid casino apps that combine different aspects of the web and native apps to create an even better user experience.
Typically, casinos’ catalogs of mobile games are more limited as far as the number of games is concerned. But that’s about to change, as the demand for casino games on the go continues to increase. Many casino operators frequently update their mobile collections, adding more and more titles by various software providers. Casino fans surely won’t be disappointed by the games that are on offer – all-time favorites like slots and traditional table games such as roulette, blackjack, and poker are available in a mobile format.
With modern apps, the differences between native and web apps are hardly noticeable but there is one aspect, in particular, that is quite different between the two – the games. While native apps are, indeed standalone software products and are expected to perform and function better, they need to be constantly updated. The number of games within them is usually small and players sometimes need to download additional software to their devices in order to access more slots or table games. Those casinos that have chosen browser-based apps, on the other hand, often offer hundreds of games to their customers.
Another thing that is typical for mobile casinos is that they allow their games to run in fun play mode and even without registration. The majority of mobile games – slots, table games, and even live dealer games, have similar design and work almost the same way as they do on desktops. Of course, they are usually available in landscape rather than in portrait orientation, while convenient menus often “hide” various settings and functions. The main actions and functions in the game, however, are usually enabled with large buttons such as Bet, Spin, or Deal.
While most online and mobile casinos offer games in fun mode, in order to win actual funds, you need to make a deposit and play for real money. When playing in a mobile casino, players have access to all payment methods usually available when opening the site from a computer. There is practically no difference between the payments we are making from a laptop or desktop computer and the payments we authorize from our smartphones.
A wide variety of banking methods are available, including debit and credit cards, digital wallets, and online banking. Due to their security, ease of use, and wide availability, prepaid cards and vouchers are also a preferred way for many players to deposit funds into their gaming balances. They cannot be used for withdrawing their winnings, however.
In addition to these standard payment processors and cards, there are also specific mobile payment methods such as pay-by-phone or similar services, which allow customers to fund their gaming accounts using their pre-paid mobile balance. The amount can also be credited to their existing phone bills. This method of payment is extremely fast, convenient, and easy to use but players need to be aware that it is usually restricted to a certain country and mobile operator. In addition, withdrawals cannot be processed via services of this kind.
SMS payments and mobile wallets are also available and many of the traditional payment processors have also developed mobile apps that allow you to shop and make various other payments directly from your phone. Popular mobile payment services right now are Zimpler, Ukash, Boku, PayByPhone, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Innovations That Improve the Player’s Experience
Many casino players still believe they cannot enjoy the casino experience from their mobile devices as fully as they do from their computers at home. And this is partially true for some gambling operators who are still struggling to provide a functional, comprehensive mobile product. But the vast majority of the large online casinos have already taken care of their mobile users with massive gaming collections for touchscreens, responsive design, and convenient, easy-to-use interface for mobile platforms.
Furthermore, some of the leading casino operators are now introducing innovative solutions that immensely improve the mobile player experience. With the development of faster apps, better graphics, and mobile-only bonuses, players can enjoy live casino streams to their smartphones, customized gaming experience, and many other exciting things that did not even existed only five years ago.
Mobile Casino Bonuses
To attract new players and promote their mobile apps, casinos sometimes offer specific mobile bonuses alongside their standard promotions. Usually, players who register an account via the mobile casino are eligible for a welcome bonus that is twice as high as the regular one. In many cases, after releasing a new application for Android or iOS, casino operators offer free spins to everyone who installs the app and signs up or logs in through it.
Mobile Live Casinos
Many large casino operators also add a Live Casino section to their mobile offering. Players should know that streaming a live game to a mobile device is not as easy as it sounds. In order for the stream to be smooth and with no glitches, users need to make sure their Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection is stable enough. In addition, more and more casinos are now trying to offer their customers live dealer games in HD quality, so that the gaming experience can be as authentic and as immersive as possible.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Casinos on Mobiles
Last, but not least, we must mention the recent entrance of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies in the online gambling industry. These innovations, which look as if they are coming from a sci-fi story from a few decades ago, are already here and are slowly being incorporated by some online casinos. And while Augmented Reality options are available at some Las Vegas casinos, there are only a small number of online gambling platforms using Virtual Reality.
With this amazing technology, players can enter the VR Casino and choose from selected games – roulette tables that look almost real, and online slots with reels that “float” in the air in front of you. The experience is truly one of a kind as bonus rounds happen around you, free spins are triggered in the Vr environment, etc. In order to access VR casinos of this type, however, players usually need to download and install some specific software on their device and use a virtual reality headset, which is absolutely necessary. Popular VR goggles include Oculus Rift, Sony PS VR, HTC Vive, and others.
Pros and Cons of Mobile Casinos
The main advantage of playing in a mobile casino is the flexibility and convenience as you can access your favorite games anywhere you want, as long as you have a steady connection to the Internet. In fact, recent research revealed that more than 70% of Internet users today prefer accessing the web from their phones or tablets rather than their computers. The share of mobile gaming within the gambling industry is also quickly rising and some researchers believe that this trend will never stop. To meet this demand, mobile casinos are becoming even better, bringing constant innovations and revolutionizing the sector.
But that is not all – mobile casinos are just as entertaining, rewarding, and functional as standard casino sites that work through a web browser. From gaming lobbies and bonuses to mobile payments and customer support, mobile casinos are fun and reliable, offering everything a casino player would need when looking for a place to enjoy online slots, card, and table games, video poker, live dealer games, or even bingo. However, there are a few setbacks they need to take into account when deciding where to play for real money.
One of the biggest disadvantages of playing in a mobile casino is certainly the number and variety of games. Unfortunately, many casinos still have quite limited collections of slots and games, especially when we look at their native apps. Another issue for real-money players should be online security as smartphones are still more vulnerable than computers, for instance. To protect themselves, mobile players should have anti-malware software installed on their device and to always access their casino of choice through a secure private network.