It’s hard to think of something that has had a more profound impact on society over the past decade than mobile technology. There’s almost nothing we can’t do on our mobile devices now. And just like so many other areas of the economy, the gambling industry has been massively affected by the mobile revolution. First gambling moved from land-based casinos and betting shops to the internet.
And now it’s shifting from PCs and laptops to smartphones and tablets. The simple fact is that more and more people are playing casino games on mobile devices. The most recent UK Gambling Commission study into gambling in Britain found that while laptops remain the most popular tool for having a flutter, their usage is falling while smartphones and tablets are becoming more popular among punters!
Increased Mobile Usage
So, why this sharp rise in the number of people using their mobile devices to gamble? The first is simply that more people own such devices and are doing more on them. In Ireland, for example, there are an estimated 3.4m mobile device users to date with that number expected to grow to 4m by 2022. That's astonishing considering there will only be an estimated 4.9m Irish residents, so basically more than 80% of the population.
And it’s not just in Ireland where this is happening. Access to internet and mobile device ownership have increased at remarkable rates in developing countries in recent years, creating a more interconnected world and opening up new markets for operators where people previously weren’t able to gamble online. This is all happening because technology is getting better.
Broadband technology has improved and spread to more places, making it easier to play mobile casino games while on the go or just sitting on the sofa at home. There are still improvements to be made, particularly when it comes to broadband speeds on trains, but mobile players get a good enough user experience for them to keep coming back and for casino sites to make more of their slot games and table games available on mobile.
Mobile No Longer Means Lower Quality
Technology has also improved the quality of casino games, and this has carried over into mobile. The graphics in mobile games are now on a par with, if not better than their desktop counterparts. In addition, the vast majority of online casino providers run their games on an instant play basis rather than requiring download, which again suits the needs of mobile users.
All aspects of the technology involved in casino gaming have improved. New payment technology and fresh ways of paying make it easy for players to top up their funds instantly and securely, without having to take their card out of their wallet in front of a busy train or enter their bank details over unreliable networks.
Mobile is now the primary platform for internet casino gaming, and it’s where developers are increasingly focusing their efforts and resources. To illustrate this, Evolution Gaming, a company that specialises in live casino gaming software, recently reported a near doubling of its profits in the second quarter of 2017, with over half of its revenue coming from mobile devices for the first time.
Convenience and Accessibility
Consumers want to play casino games on mobile, and now they have the technology. Gaming has always been intrinsically linked to handheld devices, from the Gameboy to the PSP to the iPhone 10. People like the comfort and convenience of touching a screen as opposed to having to sit at a computer and click a mouse and press various buttons. You have only to look at the popularity of mobile games for evidence of this.
You have only to look at the popularity of mobile games for evidence of this. Another factor in the rise of mobile in casino gaming is the increase in the number of young people gambling. Those aged 18 to 24 use smartphones more than any other demographic so with gambling becoming more accessible and easier on mobile devices, it’s hardly surprising that it’s becoming more prevalent among the young.
Mobile gaming has reached a mature stage in its development, but the mobile revolution is far from finished. Gambling in Ireland is only going to continue to move to mobile devices, particularly with Google Play now allowing gambling apps in its app store in the UK, Ireland and France. Operators who don’t respond to these trends and fail to deliver a high-quality experience for mobile users will simply be left behind!