The iPhone is the largest selling single mobile handset in the world, and numerous mobile casino fans use it to access the latest and greatest mobile games on the go. Over the years, and in various guises, it has built up a legion of fans like no other and is often the handset that casino game developers have in mind when converting titles from the main desktop casinos to the mobile versions. It is by far the leading choice for players that want to combine their passions for the latest technology and greatest mobile casino games.
A key part of the iPhone’s longstanding popularity is without doubt the App Store. Even the largest competitors cannot boast anything like the Apple ecosystem which offers all manner of software tools and media for use on any of the company’s devices. The App Store was even the catalyst for a whole new industry of developers and programmers that decided to devote their time and energy to creating scaled down software especially for a single company’s customers. The industry grew to such an extent that there are now companies that exist solely for the provision of apps, basing their business models solely on the initial and residual profits of their games and tools. One industry that has been somewhat conspicuous by its absence when it comes to the App Store itself is gambling, with none of the noted major players having a significant presence – something that is made all the more unusual by the fact that the gambling industry is usually a market leader when it comes to new mobile technologies.
The mobile casino industry could have been described as somewhat stagnant prior to the introduction of smartphones such as the iPhone. There was certainly a market and audience for mobile casino games before touchscreen devices and 3G, but it could most certainly have been considered something of a niche pursuit. While growth among mobile casinos took place, Apple’s own rules and regulations regarding what can and cannot be sold via the App Store meant that very few developers or casino brands even went to the trouble of attempting to get a real money gambling app approved.
Gambling as an all-encompassing subject has never been banned from the App Store outright. However, individuals that have searched for gambling apps over the last few years will have only encountered software that falls into three main categories as follows:
- Casino game emulators or simulators. These games function like real mobile casino games but operate in a perpetual “demo mode”, whereby players never have the opportunity to make a deposit and play for real cash.
- Gambling assistance software. These apps could be considered something that players use alongside their favourite mobile games, rather than gambling apps themselves. Much like online poker assistants that calculate the odds of certain outcomes as a game progresses, these games would deliver strategies or track what was happening on blackjack or roulette games in an effort to give the player a greater edge. Indeed, possibly the most famous app in this category assisted card counters in land based casinos through a variety of simple gestures on the touch screen – something that even got players banned from using their iPhone in certain casinos or in rare cases ejected from the premises completely.
- Strategy guides. For as long as the internet has existed, some individuals have been creating and selling the latest and “greatest” strategies for swinging the odds into the players’ favour. Such methods have met with varying success, but the creation of the App Store led to a new sales platform for such information and enterprising individuals packaged their information as apps and then listed them for sale. As they are strictly an informational product, there were no issues with getting them through Apple’s rigorous vetting processes.
Of these three categories, readers will immediately notice that nowhere are full casino apps or any form of real money gambling mentioned, and this is what was banned outright from being sold in the App Store. Apple is well known for deciding what is right and wrong in terms of content it delivers – and in its defence it has the right to make such decisions. In essence, playing casino games through apps was fine, as long as the player was not expected or given the option to use real money. Some players felt that this was a poor decision as they were simply itching to play their favourite mobile casino games through apps. In effect, players had the same gaming opportunities but had to participate through their mobile browser. The likes of Royal Vegas Mobile Casino and Platinum Play Mobile Casino have offered their games in such a way for a number of years.
One reason put forward by some commentators for the unwelcome nature of gambling apps in the App Store is that Apple has linked its policies somewhat to the overall governmental stance on online gambling in the US. Many readers will be aware of the furore caused by many states banning online gambling outright and some of the issues that affected poker and casino sites. In many ways, online and mobile gambling is the same, just performed using different hardware.
However, as the government are considering changing their own policies, Apple has taken the lead and done the same. Apps from the largest names are already starting to pop up, accompanied by various levels of fanfare on the sites themselves. Some mobile casinos are choosing to deliver the full casino experience through apps on the app store, while others are opting to focus on certain games. 32red Mobile Casino is one such example. Players can visit the full mobile site in their browser as before, while blackjack fans can download a dedicated app to their iPhone or iPad which delivers a dedicated, enjoyable mobile blackjack experience unlike any other. It is available as a free download in the App Store right now, and we advise players to have a look through our 32red Mobile Casino review to see why we recommend it so highly. Players can also save time and get started immediately by signing up for an account through the website – they can then use the very same credentials for logging into the app itself and get playing.
The proliferation of mobile casino apps for iPhones and iPads looks certain to increase in the very near future, and this means great news for the industry as a whole. The App Store is an advertising channel all in itself, and the addition of dedicated apps brings casino brands in front of individuals that are already comfortable with the idea of mobile gaming and may well be willing to develop that interest further – into real money games. As more players sign up, the mobile casinos make more revenue, which is subsequently plunged back into the mobile casino industry, driving innovation and promotions and meaning great things for both new and experienced players.