The largest revolution in casino gaming so far was the advent of online casinos, allowing players access to their favourite games in the comfort of their own home. The first major online casino platform was launched by Microgaming in 1994 and saw them go on to build their network to the point that they are now the largest software provider in the world. Hundreds of thousands of players around the world have experienced games made by them and other major providers such as Playtech and Net Entertainment. This massive growth has seen online gambling become one of the largest industries on the internet, but now the next revolution seems to be on the horizon with the increasing impact of new mobile casinos, which repackage the most popular games for mobile devices.
Online gambling certainly did not explode immediately and it took time for games to catch on with all but the most hard-core players. The same is true of mobile casinos. All Slots Mobile Casino, for example, is one of our most highly recommended mobile casinos and launched in 2005. It has certainly found a niche for itself already, but only now is it experiencing the kind of take up that constitutes a gaming revolution.
One of the major factors affecting mobile gambling is technology. The kinds of classic mobile casinos used on older Symbian devices were certainly functional and enjoyable, but not necessarily the kind of games that could replace the full online experience to a serious extent. However, the latest smartphones such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy are just as powerful as some of the earlier PCs that ran online casino games, and so technology is no longer a huge issue. Instead, the challenge facing the industry is modifying the mind set of casino players to encourage them to acknowledge that their mobile device is a more than adequate substitute for their desktop PC.
Players thinking along these lines are not solely responsible for the somewhat slow take up of mobile casino gaming. Even the largest casino operators would implement a mobile version of the casino because they could. Companies such as Microgaming and Playtech noticed the potential for mobile games long before the casinos themselves and started to add functionality to their main package. With the service tied in to the main casino software, operators decided that they may as well include it, but focused the majority of their promotional efforts on the desktop client. However, mobile casino gaming is now a thoroughly viable alternative to the desktop to the extent that dedicated mobile providers are springing up that have absolutely no connection to desktop casinos. At the same time, casino operators no longer see mobile casinos as a novelty; 7Sultans and Vegas Palms are just two major casino brands to recently decide to enter the sector.
In many ways, all of the major contributing factors required to drive the growth of mobile casino gaming are coming together at the same time. Handset and tablet manufacturers are releasing the kinds of technology that make for an excellent gaming experience, and most of the world now has access to excellent 3G mobile broadband coverage. For players, it is now just a case of understanding that mobile casino gaming is just as lucrative and exciting as the desktop versions.
There are many similarities, but naturally also some key differences that new players should be aware of. We feel the main things that players should expect are as follows:
Choice of Games
The games on offer at mobile casinos will be the first difference that players will notice when loading up their favourite casino on their mobile device. In short, the range is somewhat limited compared to the full versions of the casinos. In the case of Microgaming casinos, such as Royal Vegas, there are more than 400 titles on offer across the full online platform. In comparison, Royal Vegas Mobile Casino offers a somewhat smaller selection of around fifteen games across all devices.
This is by no means the fault of the players. As we have already noted, many casino operators have, until now, treated the mobile versions of their casinos as something as an afterthought. With less promotion focused on mobile games, player uptake has been limited and so there was never much of a need to focus on adapting many desktop games for mobile use. However, players themselves took mobile casino gaming out of the hands of the operators and decided for themselves that they wanted to play on the go, and now the software manufacturers are devoting more and more resources to catching up. Every game has to be coded virtually from scratch to allow it to work across a range of interfaces and screen sizes, meaning that while conversions are slow, they are certainly underway and soon players will be able to enjoy all manner of games on their handset and tablet.
Parts of the driving force behind this conversion are Microgaming’s Spin3 platform and Playtech’s Mobile Hub. Both are designed so that once a game is created, it can be played across any modern platform, whether that is mobiles, tablets or full size computers. For now, players are tending to make do with what is currently available, and there is certainly a decent sized selection. All of Microgaming’s most popular progressive jackpot slots, such as Mega Moolah, are already available for all manner of devices at the likes of 32red Mobile Casino and Platinum Play Mobile. Fans of the true casino classics such as blackjack and roulette will similarly not be disappointed.
Playing the Games
In terms of play style, the majority of mobile casino games are faithful to the original. They include the same prizes, pay-out rates and bonus features where applicable. The difference in controlling the action is generally down to the limitations of the hardware being played on. Most online titles are controlled exclusively with the mouse, but neither Blackberry handsets nor iPhones have such a peripheral. In this respect, software manufacturers have done an excellent job of converting games for use either with the keypad or touchscreen.
The other consideration is the lack of multitasking on most smartphones and tablets. In online blackjack, for example, many players like to have the game itself open in one window with the basic strategy in another, with no need to flick between the two during the course of a game. While it can be possible to switch between windows, some mobile casino platforms consider window switching to be closing the game, which can be a disaster in the middle of a hand. Players would do well to ensure that if they do need any additional information over the course of their game, they either remember it beforehand or print it for handy access, without having to leave the game itself.
Support is often at the core of many mobile casino offerings, although players will often find that in spite of hardware and software advances, they are rarely able to make use of live chat. The issue that casinos have is that live chat is often provided by a third party, taking it out of the hands of both the casino itself and the software developers. As things stand, players can still make use of telephone support – which is handy as the majority will be playing on a telephone in the first place – and email. Naturally, email correspondence takes a little longer than live chat, but is a worthy substitute. The only downside for players is that flash bonuses that are often delivered by support staff over live chat are not available on mobile devices, although some operators are beginning to compensate by delivering such bonuses by text message.
Clearly, while there are differences between playing on a PC and on a mobile device, none of the above should be game breaking for players. Even those with certain favourites among the online game library should quickly find a replacement, with multiple slots and table games on offer at our recommended mobile casinos. Anything that we have not noted above is generally exactly as it is in the online version of casinos. Banking, for example, carries all of a player’s choices from the main site to their mobile devices, seamlessly allowing deposits and withdrawals with all major payment methods.
Generally speaking, we would of course recommend the most popular mobile casinos found on MobileCasino.net. Each adheres to the points discussed throughout this article and offers the most comprehensive mobile gaming experiences available. All have excellent games and support in common, although we would advise players to delve deeper into each review for the latest bonuses and promotions that set mobile casinos apart from each other.