After a big year in 2012, many industry experts rightly see mobile casino gaming as the future of gambling. While making predictions in such a volatile market is difficult – new and old players come and go all the time – we will have a look at some of the things that are looking likely to dictate growth in the industry around the world in the next twelve months.
- New hardware. The two leading smartphones, the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, will undoubtedly receive their regular annual updates bringing more processing power, with the same applying to their corresponding tablets, the iPad and Galaxy Tab. They will also be joined by almost certain increased penetration of Windows Phone devices and other manufacturers will also be looking to keep up with or overtake the big two with new handsets and tablets. The difficult part of taking advantage of new hardware for mobile casino operators and software providers is that it is a balancing act, whereby new games can take advantage of more power, but still need to work on a range of older devices so as not to limit their potential market share. Nevertheless, we expect software providers such as Net Entertainment that traditionally push the hardware boundaries to continue to do so, meaning that gamblers using the latest technologies may well be in for even better graphics and gameplay.
- Aggressive international expansion from the big players. As time goes by, more and more governments are identifying the fact that if they do not currently allow mobile gambling, then they are missing out on significant revenues. The latter part of 2012 saw Italy open its doors to international operators for the first time and other popular gambling nations such as Australia and Sweden seem to have concluded that regulating international competition could be far more beneficial than hoping that mobile casino gaming may pass them by.
- A greater focus on a mix of social gaming and gambling. Another point that is based somewhat on evidence from last year, many social gaming companies were looking to acquire stakes in gambling companies and vice versa. Zynga is regarded by many as the market leader in social and they have made their plans clear to attempt to combine the two. This will no doubt lead to mobile casino gaming becoming more social which will indeed mark quite a change, as many players currently play alone with the only part of gaming even close to being multiplayer being progressive jackpots. With the likes of BetFred planning to bring live dealer games to mobile devices, gambling games look to become both more social and more interactive.
- A switch from being mobile casinos to casino game aggregators. We originally coined the term casino game aggregator in reference to Virgin Mobile Casino when they announced that they would be adding IGT mobile games to their mobile offering. Both Ladbrokes and Paddy Power have followed this lead, adding IGT games to Microgaming and Playtech platforms respectively. For many years, online casinos offered games from a single supplier, and mobile casinos initially followed this lead. However, in an effort to offer players the best experience possible, many are licencing games from all manner of providers, something that is particularly crucial with many operators offering many fewer games on mobile as they catch up with their online counterparts.
- More apps. Circumstances dictated that the majority of mobile casinos operated within browsers, giving the highest number of players possible access to the games. However, events such as Apple relaxing the rules on gambling apps in the App Store have led to a rapid influx. As the popularity of Blackberry devices recedes and developers only need to code for Apple and Android devices, many are choosing to package their casinos into handy apps, with numerous benefits. For example, the relevant app stores themselves are handy advertising methods, giving the casino operators another avenue to optimise for search terms and capture new audiences.
2012 was undoubtedly a huge year for mobile casino gaming, but the nature of the industry and being in the midst of a growth period means that 2013 is certain to be even bigger. We expect hundreds of significant events over the coming months, and our readers can be sure to find out about them first right here at MobileCasino.net.