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Mobile Casinos

These days, everything seems to be going mobile, and online casinos are no different. But with a number of different operating systems, and different types of mobile device to contend with, mobile casinos can be very different from one another.

Browser-based vs Mobile apps

You might think the division between browser-based and app-based mobile casinos is quite clear-cut, but you’d be wrong. Originally, mobile casinos were trimmed-down versions of web-based online casinos, and you could visit them either in a WAP browser, or by following a link from a text message.

Now there are slightly more options to consider:

  • SMS referrals to mobile sites are still used by some casinos;
  • Many online casinos offer mobile sites that are almost as fully featured as their main sites;
  • Some online casinos’ desktop sites can be accessed from some mobile devices;
  • Some mobile casino apps are basically a shell that loads their website anyway;
  • Native mobile casino apps are designed specifically for each mobile platform’s features.

In general, when people talk about ‘mobile casinos’, they mean either a cross-platform website designed specifically for mobile devices, and accessible through your handset’s web browser, or a native mobile casino app designed specifically for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and so on.

Benefits of browser-based and native app blackjack

Browser-based Native apps
No software to download and install Guaranteed compatibility with your handset
Can be reached via a link or URL Can be reached via a menu link or tile
Often very similar to desktop version of the site Bespoke interface for your handset’s capabilities
Should support most normal banking methods May support in-app purchases of account credit
Normal account login can usually be used Normal account login can usually be used

It’s worth recognising that on this last point, there is often no difference between app-based and web-based mobile casinos; both should allow you to log in with your normal username and password that you use for the casino’s desktop website. Apps may remember your login for future use, whereas mobile browsers are often set up to ‘forget’ passwords for security reasons – but this depends on your particular handset.

Mobile Casino Features

So, what can you expect from a mobile casino? It depends in part on your handset, and on whether you’re using an app or a mobile site. Mobile sites are typically built using Java or HTML5; some might be Flash-based, but many handsets do not support this, so it should be pretty rare.

In terms of apps:

  • Microgaming launched an Android Air platform in late 2011, with an initial offering of eight games, rising to 20 in the months after launch. Available for Android phones and tablets, the app included ‘connection state awareness’ so any data downloads would only be made via Wi-Fi, rather than eating into the owner’s 3G data allowance.
  • Playtech launched live casino games for bet365 on iOS in mid-2013, building on the earlier release of Playtech Roulette for iOS and including Baccarat and Blackjack titles. The app launched for iOS phones and tablets simultaneously, with the same multi-angle video as desktop live dealer games from Playtech.
  • Some casinos offer bespoke apps too; SuperCasino’s is a good example of this, available for iOS and Android, and delivering live casino games via a sleek lobby interface. Existing SuperCasino accounts can be used with the app, which allows some games to be played for free.

iPad Casinos

iPads are often used for casual gaming by people who might not normally play computer games, or who do not like playing on a small smartphone screen. Mobile casino apps for iPad often reflect this style of gaming, with features that add a little extra fun to the gameplay. You might find you have the option of spinning the roulette wheel yourself, for instance, or greater control over how the slots reels are spun.

As mentioned above, some mobile casino apps are available on all iOS devices, including smartphones and iPad tablets, and many of the biggest brands have an app available. SuperCasino have already been mentioned above, but there’s also Betfair Casino, 888 Casino Games, Spin Palace and William Hill Casino, among others.

Look out for apps that allow you to play for real money, as there are also many casual gaming apps that only allow you to play for fun.