The online casino industry was valued at around $21 billion USD in 2008 and has doubled in that time. By 2024, it’s estimated the online casino industry will reach more than $94 billion USD by 2024, which is absolutely amazing growth. While web browser technology has certainly helped advance online casinos, it’s another kind of device entirely that is spurring significant growth in the online casino sector – mobile devices.
This is partly because, in the early days of online casinos, online casinos were seen as something older people got involved in. Your grandpa or uncle might have played at online poker sites, on a dial-up modem. But now, the younger millennial and even post-millennial age demographic are able to play all of the latest slot games right on their mobile device, as well as the tech-savvy older generation. This has caused a seismic shift in online gambling, to the point that some online casino operators focus on mobile-first, website second.
In fact, the online mobile casino industry is expected to grow 19% by 2021. So in this article, we’re going to look at where mobile gambling currently stands, and where it could be going.
Real money casino apps
On the other end of the spectrum, we have casino apps that involve real money, which makes them slightly less popular than free casino apps. But of course, mobile gambling apps are a driving force behind the major boom in the overall online casino industry.
Real money casino apps are operated by licensed online casinos, and typically offer a full range of casino games, rather than being specific to any one game in particular. For example, the mobile app for Casumo casino incorporates many of the games available on their main website.
The competition in real money casino apps is obviously much stiffer, as people are playing to win, and not just going “all in” for the fun of it.
Free Casino Apps
Some of the most popular “online casino” apps are entirely free, and in fact, there is no real money gambling involved. This includes apps like Zynga Poker (2.2 million installs), World Series of Poker (1.1 million installs), and literally hundreds of free slot games.
While the free poker apps are certainly fun, there are some striking differences from real-money casino apps. For starters, players are given a large number of chips to start with and can generate more chips just by logging in each day or purchasing more chips with real money. That’s a bit of irony, purchasing chips to gamble with that don’t actually have any monetary value.
And of course, because people aren’t actually playing with real money, you see much crazier antics than you would in real poker games. It’s not uncommon to see people going “all in” on incredibly bad hands, so while you’re certainly playing a poker game with other people around the world, you don’t get an accurate feel for how people would play if they were using real money, making safer bets, etc.
The future of gambling on mobile devices
Now that we’ve taken brief looks at the current state of android mobile casino apps, and the differences you’ll find in free casino apps versus real-money apps, let’s examine some potential future technologies that will continue to shape the mobile gambling landscapes.
Wearable technology that interacts with casino apps is absolutely within the realm of possibility, particularly VR headsets, AR smartglasses, and to a lesser extent, smartwatches.
Online casino operators have been experimenting with VR technology, with varying degrees of success, but AR is the next major buzzword in that technology sphere. The only drawback is that currently, available AR glasses fall into a price range of around $700 to upwards $1,800 USD, which makes them a bit cost-prohibitive for the average consumer.
As the mobile gambling industry continues to grow, we may also see heightened security surrounding secure financial transfer technology. There are still a lot of security issues regarding smartphones, particularly on Android devices where the Google Play market is a bit more of a free-for-all than Apple Store. With that in mind, mobile casino operators may seek to invest in newer, more secure financial transaction technology.