The day is rapidly approaching when you could be sitting in a boring staff meeting or waiting on a train platform for your sweetheart to arrive, and win a few bucks in real money playing in an online casino on your iPhone or other “smartphone.” The mobile gaming industry is pushing hard for the day to get here as soon as possible, and it is rapidly becoming reality.
A recent study by Juniper Research estimates that mobile online gambling will be a $48 billion industry by the year 2015, with players enjoying lotteries, parimutuel betting, and the standard casino games like slots and blackjack. The smartphone is the perfect device for online betting, though in the US, users must use various work-arounds to use them successfully while legislation clarifying the legality of online betting churns its way through Congress.
One possibly enormous player in the world of mobile web gaming could be state lotteries in the US. Selling lottery tickets over the counter is not always easy, and many people are embarrassed to buy them. But buying them online is a more private transaction that more people find appealing. Adding apps for buying lottery tickets to phones is likely to draw millions of customers. The technology already exists, and is in wide use in the UK and other countries. For example, China’s VODone Lottery has nine million users, and these apps have proven extremely popular in countries in Africa and Latin America.
Some internet casinos are choosing to concentrate on smart phone users more than on other online gamblers. Surveys have shown that online bettors use their mobile phones in large numbers, and those numbers are only expected to rise over the next few years. If legal issues in the US are resolved, they will likely rise even more dramatically as people go online with their phones to play slots, poker, and other games. Adapting online gaming for mobile devices involves fitting the entire site onto the screen so that players can see the entire page at one time while they are playing.
Internet gambling is, as expected, the most popular on the best selling mobile devices, such as the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPhone Touch. Nokia has recently come out with four new models that make it easy for players to visit web casinos or place online sports wagers. These devices run on the Symbian operating system, which has a reputation for fast connections, making them potentially more appealing to online gamblers.
The worlds of smart mobile devices and web-based casinos are merging as more people choose to access the web with their smart phones when they don’t have their computer or netbook handy (or don’t have a WiFi signal). Web casinos are reaching out to these devices in hopes of making the experience as entertaining as possible for these users.