Popularity of mobile gambling
The gambling industry has always been quick off the mark to adopt new forms of technology. It was quick to embrace the internet when it went mainstream in the 1990s. It was also quick to get on board with smartphones when they became able to support the play of online casinos. The capabilities of these devices and online casinos has only gotten better over the years.
Gamblers love being able to play their favorite casino games on the go, no matter where they may be. They don’t have to go to a physical casino or use a desktop computer in order to gain access to a variety of games. While for a number of years the selection and quality of casino games on mobile were subpar, the technology is are now rapidly catching up and even surpassing in some cases what is seen when using desktop devices.
Many developing countries are embracing mobile gambling, as a large portion of their populations do not have access to desktop computers. In many African countries, for example, more people have mobile devices than bank accounts.
You can buy a smartphone for less than the cost of a desktop PC, and it will look after most of your standard needs. Internet networks are so strong in most areas these days that you can play your favorite games seamlessly through 4G and 5G networks.
Gambling companies understand this and are putting increasing resources into their mobile offerings. While some offer a dedicated app, the majority of online casinos also have an option to play through a web browser on your mobile device. All of these factors are leading to the rise in the number of gambling transactions on mobile devices.
The 2019 Iovation Gambling Industry Report reveals an increase of 95% in the number of mobile gambling transactions in the most recent recorded period. The report analyzes more than 518 million transactions across over 100 of the top gambling operators in the world. The rise is a continuous trend since 2012, when only 6% of all gambling transactions were made through mobile devices. In 2018, this reached 50% of all transactions.
The gambling industry is currently experiencing significant change. Many countries are expanding gambling laws, such as in the US, Japan and across Europe. New markets in Asia and Africa are opening up that hold massive potential for operators. India and the US alone have massive populations that these operators will be able to target through new gambling legislation.
Regulators globally are cracking down constantly on errant online operators. This gives more confidence to people when they are making transactions through their mobile devices. The capabilities of mobile devices to make all sorts of financial transactions have never been quicker, easier or cheaper.
Protecting problem gamblers
There is increasing emphasis on the need to protect and help treat those struggling with gambling problems. The popularity of mobile gambling makes it easier for addicts to gamble. For example, in 2018, almost a million people with gaming accounts who are on self-exclusion lists tried to access one of the gambling operators on the list of iGaming clients at Iovation. Therefore, it is vital that these self-exclusion policies are watertight to stop addicts slipping through the cracks.
The operator 888, for example, was hit with a hefty fine of nearly £8m in August 2017 as it was failing to stop people on their self-exclusion list from accessing other platforms under the 888 brand.
Key drivers in 2019
The report also notes the areas that will see serious growth in 2019. While new markets are opening up in India, the US and Singapore, there will also be increasing levels of competition among operators. Therefore, operators will find it more vital than ever to be able to attract and retain players who have a lot of experience using online platforms.
There will also be greater convergence of players’ online and offline identities. This will better allow the platforms to fight fraud and keep their customers protected without taking away from the players’ experience.
Finally, there will be further emphasis on managing the regulatory uncertainty that exists. The UK Gambling Commission, for example, increased the amount of fines it dished out from £1.6m up to £18m in the latest yearly period.