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An Overview of Mobile Gambling

The world has come a long way since the Nokia 3310. The smartphone changed the way people communicate, do business and generally consume media. It also led to the rise of the app, making it easier for users to access their favourite sites at just the click of a button.

According to Adweek, as of 2014 mobile users were spending over 85% of their time using apps, with 32% of this spent gaming and 17% on social media site Facebook. With so many more people reliant on their phones, the gambling industry responded, finding new and exciting ways for gamers to get online.

Different Types of Mobile Gambling

Online casinos and game development companies have generally taken one of three approaches to adapting their websites and games for mobile.

  • Mobile Browsers – The approach many brands took was to adapt their desktop website to fit a mobile browser. For some this was more successful than others. Customer dissatisfaction usually sprung from the kind of games that the sites offered; if a game ran on Flash, it was often incompatible with mobiles and tablets. Fortunately much of this has changed after developers switched to HTML5, a code designed for cross-platform compatibility.
  • Custom Apps – The second approach was to invest time and money in producing a specialised app which users could download onto their smartphones. These frequently proved more popular than their browser counterparts as they could be played independently of a mobile browser. This meant that players could enjoy games offline, without need of an internet connection – a big bonus on the daily commute.
  • Social Games – Some developers decided that designing their own app may be too costly. These teams elected to instead piggyback on other, popular social apps, like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Kik. This way, players could download extensions for their existing apps, or open the game via the app’s browser. This resulted in increased popularity for the brand as users started liking their products on social media feeds, and sending in-play invites to their friends.

Mobile Games

Mobile technology has now reached the stage where it can mirror almost everything a desktop computer can do and in some cases, do it quicker. This means that online mobile casinos can offer the exact same games as their desktop alternatives, including online video slots, classic table games, and live-dealer games being broadcast from a dedicated studio.

>Bookmakers have also followed suit, with players now able to cast sports bets from their mobile device on-the-go, whether they're at the pub, on the train or even inside the stadium.

Desktop vs Mobile

While mobile casinos and bookmakers offer virtually the same level of service as their desktop equivalents, one big difference is the user interface. Whereas a desktop involves a standard mouse and keyboard, smartphones rely on a touchscreen. Developers have adapted to these challenges in inventive ways, as with the likes of NetEntertainment and their Touch technology. With the simplified navigation system, players can use their finger to swipe through various options, and tap buttons to play games.

Companies like Playtech, through their mobile subsidiary MoBenga, have also sought to make the experience seamless from one platform to another, developing new user interfaces that allow multiple actions, such as playing a game and chatting to players in a message tab in the same window.

What's Next for Mobile Gambling?...Wearable Technology

Just as mobile provided a challenge for games development companies, the emergence of new wearable technology will require further innovation. So far smartwatches such as the iWatch, Samsung Gear and Motorola Moto 360, are the main pieces of wearable technology to come to market. Some companies and casinos, such as Royal Vegas, have already developed games for these devices, although it's still early days.

Another type of wearable technology on the horizon is eye-tech. Google debuted its Google Glass prototype in 2013, but shut the project down two years later due to a number of issues including usability and privacy. However, the company is now actively developing its sequel, with other big firms such as Microsoft and Asus working on similar projects.

Microsoft also debuted its HoloLens technology in 2015, which uses augmented reality to play games in the real world. Although their example was a version of popular game Minecraft, it could easily be adapted to project an augmented reality casino in a player's living room, offering an infinitely more immersive gambling experience than current technology allows.

Although it's not yet clear which wearable tech will win out, it's exciting to see how gaming companies will adapt to this ever-expanding range of cutting-edge platforms.

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