Mobile gambling is becoming more and more popular with every passing month, which shouldn’t be all that surprising if you consider the fact that smartphones have really gone a long way when it comes to bridging the gap between mobile devices and desktop computers. As a result, many experts were led to believe that the future of the entire real money gambling industry lies in mobile applications, which can mimic the functionality of desktop-based software while simultaneously enabling the customers to play on the go.
This attitude is reflected in the fact that most of the products that are being rolled out by the major gambling companies these days are designed to cater predominantly to mobile users. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that mobile gambling apps have matured enough to replace their desktop-based counterparts. Quite the contrary – despite all the advancements that have been achieved in the field of mobile computing, those apps still have a long way to go. The goal of this article is to give you some insight into the advantages and disadvantages of using modern mobile gambling apps and to provide you with some basic information about the mobile gambling industry in general.
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Top Gambling Apps That Let You Gamble Real Money
There’s no denying the fact that modern smartphones aren’t quite on par with their desktop computers yet, even though the progress in this field has been nothing short of impressive over the past few years. Consequently, developers of mobile gambling apps have been faced with numerous game-specific problems, which unfortunately detract from the exciting experience of betting on a mobile device. As a result, mobile gambling sites differ from one another not only in terms of game selection and the available promotions, but also when it comes to the basic functionality of their apps. This means that picking the app that will suit your needs may prove to be a rather daunting task, so I’ve prepared a brief rundown of the most popular gambling app types, which will hopefully help you in making the right choice.
1. Mobile Casinos
Most of the mobile casino sites available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry users come with no downloadable client of any kind, which means that you won’t have to install any software on your phone in order to join the action. Instead, they rely on browser-based technologies like Java, Flash or even HTML5, which is one of the consequences of Apple’s policy not to offer casino apps in the iTunes store. As a result, playing on mobile casino sites requires a stable broadband connection, since the data necessary to run each game will have to be streamed directly through the browser. What’s more, while most mobile casinos do give you access to table games, slots, progressives and video poker games, the truth is that the library of mobile-friendly titles is still relatively small.
Consequently, you shouldn’t expect more than about 20 slots and 10 table games per site. Even worse, most of those games won’t offer the same production values that you’d expect from desktop-based titles, even though the visuals tend to be fairly impressive for smartphone standards, particularly when it comes to slots. Despite the shortage of games, you don’t have to worry about having difficulties finding well-designed casino classics like roulette or blackjack. On the bright side, the gameplay is usually as smooth and fast-paced as in Windows and Mac-based titles, so if you don’t really care about the visuals and game selection all that much you won’t find any reasons to complain.
Another thing you should keep in mind is the fact that many online casino apps won’t give you access to their full range of banking options, which means that you’ll generally have to visit the desktop-optimized section of the site to fund your account or request a withdrawal. Nevertheless, signing up for an account using a mobile app usually won’t be a problem, but keep in mind that filling all the forms might take some time if you aren’t proficient with typing on your iPhone or Android device.
Last, mobile casino sites allow you to take advantage of the same bonuses and that are available to Windows and Mac users, and won’t have any qualms about clearing them by playing mobile games as long as they don’t violate the playthrough requirements. Even better, a few sites might even offer mobile-exclusive promotions, so if you’re predominantly a mobile player you’ll have a slight edge over desktop-based casino enthusiasts.
2. Mobile Poker
Mobile poker sites are very different from mobile casinos. First of all, most of the mobile poker apps available on the market these days require you to commit to a download, as browser-based clients aren’t really popular with the major rooms. What’s more, those apps offer extremely limited functionality compared to desktop-based clients and generally don’t allow you to take part in multi-table tournaments or play the less popular poker variants like 7 Card Stud. Despite these limitations, most apps handle Hold’em and Omaha cash games extremely well and even come with limited Sit & Go support. Fast-fold poker games are also fairly popular among mobile players, which can be explained by the fact that most sites don’t allow you to grind multiple tables at once.
Only a few mobile poker clients feature multi-tabling support, and even then you’ll be limited to playing on two or four tables at once. Despite all the differences in terms of functionality and gameplay, mobile poker apps connect to the same network as desktop-based clients, which means that you won’t be playing exclusively against iPhone or Android users. Quite obviously, this means that finding opponents shouldn’t be an issue, especially since most apps allow you to play only the most popular poker variants and stakes. However, this also means that you’ll be facing the tough regulars swarming most of the desktop-based poker sites, so if you’re a novice player you should seriously consider improving your skills by playing in a mobile-only poker room first, such as mFortune.
Unfortunately, much like mobile casino apps, most iPhone and Android poker clients won’t give you the access to the full range of banking options or won’t even allow you to access the cashier at all. As a result, running out of funds mid-session might put you out of the action until you’re able to access your desktop, which is something you should keep in mind if you can’t make a deposit or withdraw through the main website. Thankfully, mobile poker apps allow you to grind the loyalty points just like their desktop-based counterparts, which means that playing on the go will allow you to take full advantage of any site’s loyalty program. Furthermore, many mobile-only poker rooms offer interesting promotions and features that aren’t available to desktop users, such as on-site no-deposit bonuses or the ability to fund your account via phone bill micropayments.
3. Mobile Sports Betting
Unlike mobile poker and casino apps, mobile sports betting software generally offer the same functionality that you’d expect from desktop-based clients, as you gain access to the same sports, propositions and even live betting options. As a result, real money sports betting apps for iPhone and Android are pretty much equal to their older, Windows PC and Mac-based counterparts. The only major shortcoming is the lack of any kind of live streaming support. The vast majority of those apps are browser-based, but that doesn’t mean that they suffer from the same shortcomings as similar mobile casino packages. Quite the contrary – sports betting sites don’t require you to stream massive amounts of game data, which means that you can place your wagers even without a fast internet connection.
About the only downside of using a mobile app instead of desktop-based software is the limited screen real estate you’ll have to deal with, which means that reaching the bets that might be of interest to you might actually require a lot of scrolling. Nevertheless, even this minor shortcoming becomes irrelevant if you decide to use a tablet instead of a smartphone, so all things considered mobile sports betting apps are probably the most complete mobile e-gaming apps available on the market today, at least from a technical standpoint.
When it comes to doing your banking on the go, sports betting apps for iPhone and Android tend to be somewhat hit or miss, but this rarely turns out to be much of an issue since most online bookmakers will allow you to access the cashier menu via the main website anyway. Mobile users can also take advantage of the full range of promotions offered by the sports betting sites, which shouldn’t be all that surprising if you consider how similar mobile apps and desktop-based clients are.
History of the Mobile Gaming Industry
Just a few years ago, the gambling industry was pretty much all about desktop players, as the mobile devices available at the turn of the century simply didn’t allow for the visual user interface necessary for real money casino games and online poker. Consequently, the mobile gambling apps available for traditional cell phones offered extremely limited functionality and never became very popular.
This situation changed with the release of the first iOS phones and the Android Market – and many gambling industry giants were quick to notice a perfect opportunity to reach out to mobile users. The new devices offered everything gambling companies could ever need: fast internet access, high resolution displays and easy to use touch screens which offered mouse-like precision. As a result, the market was flooded with numerous browser-based and downloadable gambling apps. Since then, those apps have been responsible for the overall increase in traffic on all the major gambling networks, and that’s despite the fact that both Google and Apple have a rather strict anti-gambling policy due to the restrictive laws recently enacted by the United States and a few crucial countries in Europe.
Mobile Gambling Statistics
As mentioned above, the mobile gambling boom is closely tied to the amazing popularity of iPhones and Android smartphones. Consequently, it is highly unlikely that this turn towards playing on the go will be a temporary phenomenon, especially since the worldwide sales of smartphones exceeded the sales of traditional mobiles as of 2013. In fact, 90% of mobile device sales these days are attributed to iPhone and Android smartphone purchases. These figures can help in explaining the increase in traffic noted by all of the major online gambling operators who decided to go mobile. For example, one of the most popular sites belonging to iPoker Network has recently reported that more than 40% of its online gambling revenues were generated by mobile users. Obviously, one could argue that the iPoker Network is the third largest poker network in the world and as such isn’t representative of the entire industry, but the emergence of numerous mobile-only poker and casino sites seems to prove otherwise.