As the world grows more attached to mobile phones, it is only natural that technology will be geared towards mobile users. When it comes to mobile casinos, things are no different. These days, more and more players are playing mobile casino games through their device, giving them a way to get in on the action from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection.
As casinos and software developers work together to find the right solutions to users’ desire to play more through their phones, we have seen an upsurge in phone casino games. There have also been more mobile-centric bonuses and offers for players who would rather play through their mobile than their laptop or desktop computer.
One of the reasons why companies are encouraging players to engage in more playing through their mobiles is that they can, play pretty much from anywhere. This accounts for roulette, slots, poker or whatever takes our fancy. It is all in the palm of our hand, quite literally. With more and more players taking kindly to the development of mobile casino games, we take a look at what to expect when we play via a phone casino.
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Mobile Casino Guide
A revolution has taken place in internet use over the last decade. In fact, you could probably say several revolutions have taken place. First of all, high-speed, always-on broadband internet hit the market, becoming the standard in most developed countries. Then, this revolution went global. Then it went mobile.
No-one is happier about this than online gambling companies and their customers. The online gambling market has boomed. In the UK, the Gambling Commission – who licence the sector – recorded that remote gaming income increased by around 10% from 2016 to 2017, while the gambling sector as a whole increased just 1%.
The same is true with mobile browsing. It has already exploded, and it is still increasing. You don’t need to be a business or technology expert to know this. Your own experience will almost certainly reflect this, and it’s not possible to walk anywhere in the world without witnessing the fact that a phone with an internet connection is now a must-have – you may discover it when someone walks into you while checking Facebook on their iPhone.
In some countries – India and Indonesia for example – there is a massive domination of the internet market by mobile browsers. In more established markets – where computers are affordable and widely available – the change has been less dramatic, but in France, Germany and more-so the UK and USA mobile use is now over 50% of internet access.
What is mobile gambling?
As early as 2008, Google was advising web designers and website owners to ride this wave and become “mobile first” companies. The wise ones did so. And as it is true for a double-glazing company or a bank, so it is for a mobile gaming company.
Mobile games now cover the same ground as the more traditional online gambling market. Online video slots make up the bulk of most sites’ offerings, with hundreds of titles. Then there are casino games, models of the classic green-baize games that we associate with gambling. There is also a lively sub-section of this in the live casino market, where rather than playing a simulation of a casino game, players essentially watch a stream of a game being conducted in real life – a roulette wheel being spun, a blackjack pack being dealt – and bet as they would in a normal casino.
The first challenge for mobile casino games designers is screen size. While mobile screens have got bigger, and the “mobile” market usually includes tablet computers like iPads, that are also increasing in size, portability and quality, the screens are different from a traditional desktop computer.
For a start, they are smaller. That is obvious. They are also more usually used in the portrait aspect, while desktop screens are always aligned to landscape view. And they also need to serve a dual purpose as a control interface, so controls on a mobile screen need to be tap-able with a finger rather than clickable with a mouse.
These are all design challenges. And all of them push designers towards simplification. Complex games with lots of on-screen action are that much harder to see on smaller screen. It doesn’t mean that the sophistication is being designed out of online games, but it does mean that simpler games have a better chance of succeeding with players.
There are also functional changes to casino software with the switch to mobile screens. Again, simplicity is key. Long, infinitely scrolling screens are the norm, and menus are kept to a minimum.
Sadly, all the complexity cannot be designed out of casinos, which are inherently quite complex bits of software that require a lot of processes to be integrated into a single interface.
modern slots look amazing on mobile
Mobile Phone Casino Deposits
Payment is a bit issue for players on the go. No-one wants to juggle with a payment card when they run out of balance in the middle of a hot roulette streak on the number 47 bus home.
As yet, there hasn’t been a perfect solution to this problem. Online wallets are great, but paying a mobile casino with one still usually means that a player must open another site and type in another password – typing is never fun on a mobile. Payment by phone or using phone numbers is an obvious solution to these problems and is getting more popular in the casino market.
A simple option for players – many of whom will have a desktop and mobile access – is to do most of their account management on a big screen and keyboard at home and make sure that their account is up to date and fully funded well before they head out with their phone.
Players must also make another choice as they try to choose where to play. Should they use an app or should they browse to a site?
Mobile Casino Apps
There are obvious advantages to app use. Apps are designed for mobile phones. A circle on your homepage that you just tap is much more convenient than using a mobile browser. Apps can also build in more functionality, so they’re often easier to use than even the best designed mobile browser site.
However, before you download an app do think your choice. Apps can tend to cut down choice in a market where you really need to play the market to get the best deal. If you want to play at a number of sites you’ll soon find your screen filling up with gambling icons if you go down the app route. And the truth is, that new sites are often where the best deals, the best experience, and the best games are to be found.
So, by all means, use apps to access your favourite sites, but we’d very much advise that you continue to check the market for new sites, continue to use review sites like Online-Casinos.co.uk to see who is launching, who is offering what bonus, where the best new games are and so on. Make use of the convenience of apps, but don’t let that choice shut down your ability to choose and to move on – if an app stops being a good deal, delete it!
You must also make sure that you download updates to apps if you want to enjoy the best experience with the latest games and game interfaces.
Mobile gambling has also added a couple of new checks to every gamer’s list, and we suggest you stay right on top of these: Do you have enough charge in your phone, and do you have a good signal or Wi-Fi connection that you can rely on! However good a game is, you’re not going to enjoy it if your battery conks out while you’re playing, and it could even cost you money – check the house rules on outages during games to see where you stand if you need to try to get recompense.
How to choose the best mobile casinos in 2018
The first thing to do when you choose a mobile casino in 2018 is to make sure you choose a legal one.
That actually cuts down the market quite a bit, which is a sad indictment of the amount of scamming and fakery that still clings to the edges of the gambling business.
The mobile casino market in the UK is now all licenced by the UK Gambling Commission. If a site is not licensed by this organisation then you should not play there.
Check the license
You can search the UK Gambling Commission’s register of licences on their website, but it’s not particularly easy to do, unfortunately. You are better served to look at the site itself and check their licence.
This is a slight problem with mobile sites. Desktop sites had a very formalised layout and you knew where to look – at the bottom of the front page – to check the license. This is less easy on a mobile page and you might need to browse to an About page or elsewhere to find a licence.
This is worth doing. It is also worth checking the licence (people aren’t beyond faking these things) is current and genuine by clicking through to the UK Gambling Commission site.
Signs of a good mobile casino
Once you have found a legal site, make sure you have found an honest one. Again, we reiterate that you should only play at sites that are legal, and you should take particular care with sites that seem to offer a way around these legal restrictions, including age limits and so on.
This is particularly true of sites that seem to offer services to American gamblers. While the picture is changing – and changing fast – in the United States, it is still largely illegal to offer gambling services to US-based customers. This has produced a thriving black market in gambling for Americans. And a good way to lose your money quickly if you sign up.
Good baking partners are a great sign. A PayPal badge (check they’re genuine again) is the best sign of all, but Neteller, Skrill and other online wallets are also good to see. We would recommend that you don’t use casinos that offer ONLY Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as their means of doing business. This seems risky – these sites will almost certainly try to scam you.
Once you know you are in a legal, honest space than you can start to look at the quality of the site. Gamblers love to talk and there are lots of online forums where people discuss new sites – word soon gets around on scams. Review sites like ours are also useful but remember that some review sites aren’t all they appear and operate by accepting fees from casinos. That doesn’t render them useless, of course, and good review sites will only partner with good-quality honest sites.
You should also take a browse around any site you like the look of. Does it look and feel good quality? Does it work in the way it should on the device you’d like to use to play it? Are there good help options? If you’re still checking on legality and safety you might want to see if they have a published address, ideally in an EU country.
Check the games
It’d be nice if the site you want to play at offers the games you like to play too, right? Yes! So have a good browse of the game menus. Most mobile casino sites offer slots and casino games at least. There’s a lot more too – instant wins, live casino, bingo, maybe a linked sports betting site.
There are dozens of very good game developers and thousands of titles, so finding the games you like, playing them for free at a demo site, and then finding a good quality casino that hosts them might be a good way to choose your online mobile casino.
Don’t fall for any guides or reviews that tell you a site is “luckier” than another, or it pays out more often. Such things are governed by unsentimental mathematics. There is no trick, there is no way around, and there should be published figures showing the theoretical return to players at any honest site – and they’re all roughly the same.
Choose wisely, and remember our words of caution about apps tending to make you stay at one site too long or too often – which is why sites would like you to download them!
What are some of the most popular mobile casino games?
Casino games are very simple at their heart. A random event is triggered, and if it falls in a certain way the player is rewarded according to the odds against that outcome. The rest is really frills, bells, and whistles. But it’s in those extras that the magic lies for players, who can become fanatically devoted to one particular type of game.
Mobile casino games should work the same as a desktop game. We’ve covered above some of the limits on the mobile designer, but they’re getting cleverer and cleverer all the time and the distance between desk-top games and mobile games are getting narrower.
So what are some of the most popular mobile casino games?
Starburst Touch is made just for mobiles
Slots dominate the front pages – called the lobby – of most casinos. They are super simple to play and understand and offer a quick fix gambling hit. You can also win a very large amount of money and enjoy a sophisticated gaming experience on a mobile slot.
Check out games on demo mode if you can, and be sure that you understand the rules fully before you start to play for real money. This can be a little tricky on a mobile casino interface, where you might have to read quite a lot of text on a small screen, and it’s why mixing mobile and large-screen browsing can be the best option for players.
Mobile slots typically offer a simpler game screen, with reels at the heart of the action and less space devoted to design flourishes in the background and fringes of the screen.
Classic online slots have in the past tended to simply ape the appearance of classic slot machines, with a row of buttons across the bottom of a screen.
Mobile slots have made a break from that image and now you’ll often find a large floating green button to trigger the game. The need to make things simple means that you’ll often find only one more control easily available – the bet amount control. Facts and figures usually run along the bottom the screen in a simple strip.
Stripping things down is good for players who just want to play, but don’t let simplicity tempt you to neglect your usual quality controls and checks when you pick a game.
The granddaddy of casino games is roulette. It’s not the oldest – it’s not quite simple enough to match the primitive origins of dice games, say – but it’s beautifully designed and carries an air of sophistication and style to it that’s hard to beat.
A game that started in 18th century France – in its modern form at least – has stood the test of time. Players love it! Casinos love it too – and that’s because it tends to make a good profit for them, which is something players who get overconfident about things should always bear in mind.
Although the real-life game is relatively complex and requires a big hunk of machinery and an expert member of staff, you can play the game very simple. In fact, lots of people of a certain age will remember miniature roulette wheels as a kids’ game from their childhoods.
On a mobile screen, this can also work very well. While there are a lot of options for customers the gambling sequences can be represented very simply and diagrammatically. It works well on a small screen.
The same is true of a game – which is kind of like an ancestor of a slot if you like – which, at the end of the day, consists simply of a spinning wheel.
Live mobile roulette
Live mobile roulette is relatively new and may be more demanding of your phone and your contract. Essentially, you’re watching a live event when you play live roulette, and to get the most out of it isn’t easy on the smallest screen.
For that reason, while we love live casino games, we’d say make sure you check out how a live casino set-up is presented on the screen you want to use before you jump in.
There’s a lot of choice in the mobile roulette market, with three variations of the game commonly available. Of these, European roulette, with just one zero, is much more popular, because in a global market who would want to let the Americans get away with their added house edge?
The most popular casino card game is a great one for gamblers. It demands thought, skill and great nerve to play blackjack successfully – 21 is another name, pontoon one of several variations.
Like most gambling games, the basics are simple, but you can also get very involved in techniques and strategies.
Blackjack is played by a single player or sets of players against a dealer.
The simple aim of the game is to get a higher score than the dealer without exceeding 21. Sounds easy, right?
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a whole world of sophistication and superstitions that really bears some deep exploration.
Your mobile casino options are to play either a simulation of a live game. Big developers like NetEnt, Blueprint Gaming, and Extreme offer versions of the game.
Live games are usually limited to a certain number of players – often seven – so you may find yourself itching for a game of blackjack and unable to find a seat. That’s why it’s good to keep your options open and keep shopping around.
There are a number of rule variations of blackjack, including Las Vegas and European-style, so make sure you know what you’re playing and what the deal is.
Baccarat is the sophisticated casino player’s game of choice. That’s not because of any particular sophistication to the game itself. It has relatively simple rules, and after a couple of hands and – we emphasise again – READING UP ON THE RULES properly you should be a competent and even confident player.
It’s commonly offered at mobile casinos, and the sophistication and long-established link to real-life casinos make it a favourite at live casinos.
Like most of these games, there are rule variations. And like most of them, there is a European version and an American version that is less generous to players – almost like America is built on ruthless profiteering or something, who knows?
Seriously though, there’s a lot of choice in the mobile baccarat market, not just between single-player, and multi-seat games, but also between mini versions, speed, “squeeze”, no commission and many more. You owe it to yourself to understand the system.
Side betting is also an option on mobile baccarat. Again, while you don’t need a degree in mathematics to understand the game, it takes some getting used to the terminology and layout of the betting interface, so study up first.
Mobile Video Poker
Poker is the iconic gambling card game. That’s probably because it’s just about the easiest game to set up in the real world, but online it’s much harder to get a multi-player game set up. And it’s harder still to get one set up on a mobile screen.
So, most mobile poker is still video poker, which is kind of like playing a slot machine.
When it comes to game variations, poker has a dictionary full of them. You can fill whole libraries with poker rules, variations, psychology, betting strategies and more.
The game is split into two big schools – stud and draw – but almost all of them revolve around the same set of rankings: knowing these inside out should be the least of your achievements before you start playing online for real money.
Caribbean stud, joker poker and others are very popular with mobile video poker players. Really, you’re looking towards games that are simpler, require fewer cards, and fewer changes.
When it comes to gambling it doesn’t come a lot simpler than bingo! The game has suffered in the UK from having a rather old-fashioned image that’s linked more to its history as a rare legal game of chance enjoyed in traditional working-class communities than the realities of what can be an exciting playing experience.
The game is just this: you are given a card with a set of numbers on, random numbers are drawn, and you match them against your card, winning prizes for lines, shapes, or completed cards. There are many variations, so check the details at the site you’re playing at.
Bingo is usually played as a simulation, with even the marking of the cards handled automatically by the site. You will find the odd live version though, and the art of the bingo caller has been a big part of the success of traditional bricks-and-mortar bingo halls.
There’s something missing in mobile bingo though. The best sites are successful because of their communities, which thrive in chat rooms, and bingo tends to be the most social of the online gambling games. That’s harder to maintain on a mobile, but if you’re a quick finger-tapper you might be able to enjoy that too.
Keno is simple too. It’s a Chinese-origin version of a lottery, with players betting on the fall of a set of numbered balls. It’s simple and, to be honest, low on sophistication, but it’s also very easy to understand, very straightforward in terms of the chances of winning (9 million to one for the biggest prizes, but much lower for smaller prizes), and with a set-up that actually works well on small screens.
Played on a big frame in casinos, the keno board is an 80-number rack from which players can choose up to 15 numbers, which are compared against a random pick of 20 numbers. Prizes start at 3/1 in most standard set-ups, but as with all these games, we’ll repeat the advice to check where you’re playing and what the rules and odds are.
Tips to play real money mobile casino games
In such a crowded market there’s a lot of choice, and a lot of apparently very good offers.
So the first tip for any real money mobile casino player is to keep your wits around you: always read the small print, always read the rules, always check the site out, always make sure it’s legal, safe, and you know what you’re doing.
We also recommend you follow safe gambling advice. Gambling can be great entertainment, but don’t let it get out of hand. You should find good advice at the sites you’re using, including setting yourself time and money limits that you stick to and to never play with money that you can’t afford to lose. Gambling to make negative feelings go away is a bad sign and could lead to bad decisions.
As far as you can survey the market. Read reviews and look around sites before you sign up. There’s plenty of time, and plenty of other places to go if something doesn’t look or feel right.
Play for free
Play for free first where you can. A confident player who knows the ropes is much less likely to make costly mistakes.
Live mobile casino games have brought a new terror into the market and one that isn’t often discussed – attractive young women! (And to a lesser extent attractive young men). You don’t have to spend very long around the live casino scene to start to suspect that dealers who look a certain way are more likely to get hired and that they are encouraged – or perhaps forced – to dress a certain way. This isn’t to denigrate the skills of any online casino dealer, most of whom do a great job, but it is a reminder that sex sells and if you’re choosing to play at a site because you like a dealer, or love their low-cut dress then you’re not making a rational choice based on the site’s primary service.
Some of this is on you!
If you lose your internet connection or you run out of credit or electricity while you’re playing on a mobile device then you only have yourself to blame. Don’t start a session without a juiced up phone and a safe connection.
Why claim dedicated mobile casino bonuses?
Over and over again we’ve emphasised the amount of choice there is in this market. This even applies if you’re very careful, and stick to licensed, safe, high-quality sites as we suggest. There’s always somewhere new to try and sites are launching all the time.
That means competition! And competition means trying to attract players. And trying to attract players usually means big bonuses for new players.
These will usually take the form of a big dollop of free money in your account. Now, free money sounds great, but don’t plan on buying that Ferrari on the strength of a casino bonus. It’s still a good deal, but there will be restrictions on how you can use that money. These are called gambling restrictions or play-through requirements and usually specify how much of your own money you must spend at a mobile casino site before you can cash out with winnings from the bonus funds.
This isn’t to say that mobile casino bonuses aren’t fantastic news for players, but it is to say that when you check out mobile casino bonuses you should check out the deal that is on offer – not the one in your head or in the headline advertisement.
Free spins are another common bonus item and they’re less likely to come with conditions.
So cash in mobile casino bonuses wherever you can, but when you check out a site look for an ongoing promotion of events and promos for players – you don’t want to be involved with a business that’ll throw shiny lights at you to tempt you in but then forget you.
Remember to get a good deal, to enjoy your mobile casino bonus safely, and to have a great online gambling experience.