Mobile internet usage increased by 394% between 2010 and 2014 and, today, mobile gaming accounts for 16% of global online casino revenue, and thanks to something called omni-channel technology, mobile casinos are now equipped with everything from secure deposit options to mobile bonuses.
Because we’ve been around the betting block a few times, both as players and industry insiders, we know what makes a strong platform and what doesn’t. So, to help you choose, here are the qualities we look for:
Quantity. What good is a portable casino if it doesn’t have any games? The more games a platform has, the more points we give it. As a standard, the best sites will have the following: mobile slots, mobile roulette, mobile blackjack, mobile table games and mobile live dealer tables.
Quality. Quantity is virtually worthless without quality. The leading mobile casinos often partner up with a range of developers, so we look for links with big names like NetEnt, Playtech, Microgaming and NextGen Gaming.
Compatibility. Can players get easy access to the games on offer? We want everyone, from Samsung and HTC users to iPhone, Blackberry and Microsoft Lumia owners to ante-up. So, the more broadly compatible a site is, the better.
Variety. If an operator doesn’t offer at least the most popular versions of the biggest casino games, with both low and high betting limits, we’re not interested.
Flexibility. Can you switch? Every mobile casino player should be asking this question. If you can’t move seamlessly from desktop to mobile, then you should ante-up. All the best mobile casino operators use omni-channel technology so that everything you do via your smartphone or tablet is registered on your desktop account.
Usability. We’re looking for well designed mobile sites or apps. The user-interface should be clear and intuitive. The pros of multi-vertical sites such as Sky, Betfair tec is often their weakness as they try and cram all their different sites (casino, betting and bingo) into the same app.
For a bonus point… Finally, if an operator has made provisions for mobile-first players by offering a unique mobile casino bonus that’s distinct from the desktop offer, there might be an extra point or two on offer.
Unsurprisingly, mobile games have evolved over the years. As the likes of the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and HTC One have improved, you can now access the following games and more:
Mobile Slots – Top picks like Mega Moolah, Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst work perfectly on handheld devices because you can also swipe across the reels or even shake your device to set the game in motion.
Mobile Roulette – From low stakes to progressive jackpot mobile roulette games like Age of the Gods, these games allow you to play in a variety of settings using a one-touch betting system. Roulette is a difficult game to port to the smaller screen but the best software providers such as Microgaming and NetEnt manage to pull it off.
Mobile Blackjack – One of the most popular mobile games, blackjack is available in a variety of formats for all manner of devices, including: European, Atlantic City, American, Double Deck and Bonus Blackjack.
Mobile Live Dealer – The latest innovation in the mobile betting world, live dealer tables use RFID chips, HD webcams and one-touch betting software to connect you with real dealers. Although games like blackjack, roulette and baccarat cost slightly more per round, these tables are the closest thing you can get to a real trip to the casino.
What’s Next for Mobile Casino Gaming?
One area of innovation operators are currently exploring is mixed reality. Microgaming has already developed a prototype version of Virtual Roulette, but this is only the start. With Pokémon Go showing us that augmented reality and smartphones are a match made in heaven, we could soon see operators projecting a casino setting onto real objects via our phones!
In terms of access, mobile casinos come in two forms: apps or responsive websites. In the early days of mobile gaming, mobile sites were the dominant force. However, as the industry has evolved, iOS and Android apps have become more common.
In reality, one option is no better than the other. However, there are some subtle differences you need to be aware of before you make your choice and ante up:
Apps are more accessible. The main benefit of choosing a casino app is that it’s always there. The average mobile app only weighs around 10mb-20mb, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much space on your device.
Mobile sites have more games. In general, mobile casino sites have more games. The reason for this is that they are optimised versions of the desktop site and don’t have the same space (memory) restrictions as casino apps.
Apps are easier to navigate. Because mobile casino apps are built for a specific device, you typically have better control over the interface. Moving between bets and games is a simple case of touching, swiping and shaking your device.
Mobile sites are more detailed. Although mobile sites aren’t as ergonomic as apps, they often contain more detail. In fact, some apps will often direct players to certain web-based mobile games because the developers are able to cram more features into the latter.
Both platforms are equally safe. Regardless of the medium you choose, every mobile casino we recommend is safe. Aside from using the latest SSL encryption, random number generators (to ensure fair games) and recognised deposit partners, each operator is regulated by an official licensing body. This means that you, your details and your bankroll are completely secure at all times.
Because operators want you to play on the go, they typically offer a range of bonuses, both deposit and no-deposit, that can be claimed in addition to a desktop bonus and not instead of. So, before we leave you to test out the best mobile casino apps and sites, here are a few pointers on what the best mobile bonuses are and where you can find them:
888casino No-Deposit Mobile Casino Bonus: Sign-up and spin the 888 wheel of fortune for a bonus prize worth up to £888.
bgo Mobile Free Spins – Join bgo and access the operator’s mobile casino site to get 20 free slot spins on the ever-popular Starburst.
Casumo Mobile Deposit Bonus – Get a whopping 200 free spins and as much as £1,200 in bonus cash when you join Casumo and play via your smartphone or tablet.
Betfred Mobile No Deposit Bonus Spins – Download the Betfred mobile casino app and you’ll get 25 free spins on the Lost Vegas slot game.
Jackpot Paradise Mobile Welcome Bonus – Access the Jackpot Paradise site via your mobile device and you’ll get up to £800 in bonus cash on your first three deposits.
Stay tuned to PlayRight for all the latest casino app reviews, mobile slots guides and bonuses. If you’re looking to make a home for a new casino on your phone, check out the automatically updated mobile casino ranking on this page for our top picks and exclusive bonuses.