Our gambling habits are changing. Online gaming now accounts for 33% of all gambling in Great Britain, taking in £4.5 billion in gross gambling yield (GGY) between April 2015 and March 2016. What does this mean? Online gambling is the industry’s largest sector for the first time. What does this really mean? It means that MOBILE CASINOS are about to rock your smartphone, your tablet and your palm pilot.
Think back over the last week or so. You were at work. There was a weekend. Perhaps you were travelling. Buses. Airports. Planes. If you work in an office, chances are you sit in front of a computer for much of the day. Let’s assume you take your job seriously and weren’t surfing silly on the web.
How were you browsing the internet? How were you interacting on social media? On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? If you were reading the latest news digitally, how were you doing it?
Obviously, there are plenty of people who still fire up their trusty desktop computer at home, and laptops these days are sleek, portable and incredibly useful today.
However, the answer to my not so rhetorical questions is, (probably): my mobile – or tablet if you have chunky digits. Frankly, the stats back this up – research shows that over we spend over 65% of our digital media time on mobile devices these days. And one would imagine that this figure will only continue to increase.
Mobile First Approach
Google announced in October 2016 that a brand new, discrete mobile index would be introduced for searches. It didn’t end there. Google even suggested that this new mobile index would in fact become their primary index. This is recognition that mobile internet searching is now considered to be the most important way in which to determine people’s online consumption habits. Mobile is no longer the afterthought – a mere nuisance appendix to the desktop world. Some casinos are starting to come to terms with this reality:
The mobile casinos should be just as important if not more so than the desktop equivalent. The mobile experience that a casino produces must be smooth, exciting and entirely instinctual, slotting seamlessly (no pun intended) into the already seamless smartphone experience to which consumers have become accustomed.
Let’s look at this logically: if online gambling is now the industry’s largest sector and growing, and the majority of people use the internet on a mobile device (also growing), then the mobile casino experience must be prioritised now.
New Statistics from the Gambling Commission about Mobile Casinos
Throughout 2016 the UKGC conducted multiple surveys, interviewing over 8,000 participants to chart the nation’s shifting gambling behaviour. On one hand, the reticent, slightly backward-thinking casino operator, or software developer, would take comfort in the conclusion that 55% of online gamblers do so on a laptop. That is still some way ahead of the 43% of online gamblers who use their mobile phone or tablet. They could argue quite comfortably that, as long as a decent majority of online gamblers are doing so on a desktop platform, then what is the harm in focusing on the largest demographic?
Those businesses need a new pair of specs because damn, that’s short-sighted.
All you have to do is compare the recent figures to those from the year before: the 55% of laptop gamblers is a 6% decrease from the year before. The 43% of mobile wielders in an increase of 10% from 2015.
My rudimentary maths informs me that if those patterns hold going into 2018, then mobile gambling will overtake desktop gambling. By next year.
Funnily enough, the Gambling Commission’s statistics also state that men are more likely to play on their smartphones and women are more likely to play on their tablets. This, perhaps, thwarts my previous theory that the chunkier digited are the primary users of tablets. I stand corrected.
Social Gaming vs Mobile Casino
The first thing that comes to many people’s minds when they think of slots and table games on their mobile phones is often social gaming. These games, often found on social media like Facebook or on various mobile app stores, can look like roulette, or poker, or even slot machines but do not involve the wagering of real money or even virtual currency per se. You can play for free, win credit or even buy credit for the game with real money but none of these quite fall under the Gambling Act’s definition of gambling and therefore do not fall under the remit of the Gambling Commission (though, as you can see from their various studies and white papers, they have looked into it quite considerably).
But the development and proliferation of these games, made possible through the usability and lightness of today’s mobile touchscreen interface, means that online casinos that are migrating more seriously to the mobile market have a considerable base, and precedent to work from.
How to get started in Mobile Casino
Now that many of our favourite online casinos have mobile counterparts, it is not difficult to sign up. Download the app version of your casino of choice (many will have a bar code on their desktop site to download the mobile version) and log in to start playing.
However, as we’ve discussed, some casinos have done better with their mobile platform than others. Therefore, you may want to try a few casinos out and equally test the games, some you will know and some you won’t, to see which work best on a mobile device. As with the best desktop casinos, you can play free versions of the majority of games on your mobile so you can very much try before you buy, and see what all this mobile first fuss is all about.
Downside of Mobile Casino
There are no profound downsides in my opinion. Mobile casinos offer as many perks as their desktop counterparts and are just as protected in terms of financial security and privacy. And of course, they are completely portable and connected in the age of almost complete 4G mobile coverage.
The Gambling Commission’s research also highlights that even in this portable, digital age, 97% of online gambling is still done within the confines of one’s own home. Equally interesting; there is no change from the year before.
So, there seems to be no rampant appetite for online gambling on the move, and if you still prefer that larger screen experience, that’s fine too. It’s mobile first, not mobile last (mobile everything).