Online casino gaming has completely changed the way we gamble, with everything from online poker rooms to virtual slot machines transforming how much we play and at what times. With over 30% of the UK’s gambling revenues now coming from online casino gaming, we could soon see a gambling industry that is dominated by virtual casino gaming played on smartphones rather than in physical casinos.
One of the biggest contributors to this huge surge in online gambling has been improved access thanks to the smartphone. Instead of waiting until the weekend for a trip to the casino or logging onto a laptop in front of the TV, casino gamers are playing on the way to work, during lunch-breaks and even when they should be working.
What does the smartphone market look like?
With 9 out 10 people in the UK now owning a smartphone, the opportunity for online gambling providers to reach new customers has never been so big. Faster internet connectivity, better memory and storage and things like miniaturised processors and graphics cards have made the latest phones more powerful than some personal computers.
At the moment, about 99% of the market is dominated by Android and Apple phones. Devices running an Android operating system are made up from different manufacturers, including big names like Samsung and Sony, and follow an open-source ethos that allows for more development from third parties.
Apple devices only run Apple software however (unless they are jailbroken) and are severely limited when it comes to downloading ‘unsupported’ software. Android currently has a market share just under 65% across all devices and it’s no surprise that this was achieved thanks to Google being the driving force behind the Android operating system.
Are Android devices restricted thanks to Google’s policies?
Pretty much everything found on Android has been influenced by Google. The pre-installed search bar uses Google, Gmail is often the standard mail app and Google Play is the go-to for games, productivity apps and things like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The only trouble for digital gamblers is that online casinos used to be a strict no-no on the internationally focused Play store, but Google decided that real-money gambling apps would be allowed for the first time in July this year.
This massive change is an open door for online casino providers who had to rely either on downloadable native apps hosted away from the Play store, or hope that players would use their browsers or save web apps to their home pages to access 24/7 online gaming.
Now, online casino gamblers with Android devices can download gaming apps directly from the Play store, with full app support, reviews and of course updates that don’t need to be found manually, 888casino are one company that have taken advantage of this, they carry a very advanced mobile casino section. This relaxed stance on online gambling cements Android’s liberal stance on tech and software control, the complete opposite of Apple devices.
Dedicated mobile website vs. Responsive design
Getting the design of a mobile site right and maintaining a solid mobile presence can be a tough task. There must be a dedicated mobile version of their website. The webmaster must ensure that the site is easier to navigate than a standard web page, this often involves using a reduced layout which saves data. Mobile sites usually include fewer pages and content. However, there are downsides to mobile sites. It requires a lot of time, money and effort to maintain both the mobile and desktop versions of the site.
The responsive design compared to a mobile website
There is another option, a similar website to a desktop version can be deployed, this relies on a responsive design. The site is identical to the full version from a HTML perspective, Google declared that it makes more sense to have a single HTML code in terms of resources. The down side to this is that it increases the amount of time it takes to upload.
In order to counter this, Google designed Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP in order to solve the problem of the speed that pages are uploaded. These pages have stripped down versions of the HTML page delivered straight to the device, AMP pages are designed to be lightweight and they encourage quicker loading. Responsive design is the choice of many due to it often increasing page hits.
Examining the advantage of AMP
Native Apps vs. Web Apps
Native apps vs Web apps
A native app is written in a language that’s specific for an operating system, these apps are available via the various online stores, such as the Apple App Store. A Native App is installed onto the device directly and it is developed for one particular mobile operating system.
The popularity of apps
QR technology and online applications
We’re now seeing more engaging uses of QR codes, which are helping to advertise, create offers and bonuses and allow the connection between the offline and online worlds, all applications which would benefit online gambling with better engagement and a more ‘realistic’ online gaming experience. QR codes provide the player with the opportunity to scan and play, being as no two codes are the same, online casinos are able to implement them and uniquely identify their service. The QR code can be scanned so the mobile casino is downloaded directly on to the device, saving the user lots of time. Once the mobile casino is downloaded, the user is ready to play and potentially win online.
QR code statistics
- 30% of the UK’s gambling revenue comes from online casinos.
- 9 out of 10 people own a smartphone.
- 99% of the market is dominated by Android and Apple phones.
- Google have a major influence over Android.
- Due to improving technology, the future is bright for both online casinos and Android.
- Google now allow online casinos to have native apps, they can be accessed via the Google Play Store and players can compete for real money.