Smartphone technology has revolutionized businesses and has played no small part in withstanding the immense turbulence of 2020. It’s also proven the key driving force behind the rise of online gambling, as we explore below.
The Rise of Mobile Gambling
The general trend of online betting, in particular using mobiles, had been on the up for some time before the global healthcare crisis erupted onto the world stage in 2020. Still ongoing into 2021, COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns meant that millions of people had a lot of time on their hands and even regular distractions like the sporting calendar were disrupted. As a result, betting online via mobiles on casinos increased significantly. It’s estimated that 50% of people used their mobiles to bet in 2019, and that number will only have grown in 2020.
This rise due to technological innovation was augmented by regulatory liberalization in a number of territories. The United States, long one of the most puritanical of Western nations, has started to accept online betting (on a state-by-state basis), and now Germany is preparing to broaden the availability of online casinos too.
There’s no sign of the technological train slowing down either. Increasing numbers of online casinos now accept cryptocurrency and the first tentative steps into VR games have already been taken.
Why Browser Games are Safer
Many online betting sites offer players the choice between instant play and download modes for the same games. Instant play effectively means you don’t have to download an app and can just immediately start playing in your browser.
There are a few downsides to going for apps over browser-based games. If your mobile storage space is limited, this will eat into that capacity (for the same games you can just access directly through your browser). There’s also the nagging doubt that some fear when it comes to downloading that there’s a security weak spot. This doesn’t apply to browser-based games which require no download and therefore can ease the minds of nervous players. Plus many casinos don’t even have apps, so if you’re limiting yourself to that style of play then that’s a severe restriction on the range of casinos at which you can play.
Many apps are fine. But the fact remains that voluntarily giving up often fixed storage space for something which comes with a download risk (however small) and the functions of which are completely replicated through browser-based play is entirely unnecessary. In short, browser based games are safer.
Online versus Land
The single most obvious pro of playing online compared to a brick-and-mortar site is absolutely obvious but it’d be remiss to omit it: COVID-19. Close proximity, large numbers of people, and chips, cards, and cash changing hands regularly in an enclosed environment is an obvious problem during a global pandemic, and especially when it’s purely recreational. Playing online, from home, is orders of magnitude safer.
Another advantage that is less obvious is that online casinos actually offer a better rate of return. The reason for this is that the same land-based overheads don’t apply (paying rent, maintaining physical infrastructure etc). This means an online site can afford to be a little more generous with the odds because its costs are lower, and it can still turn a profit.
Last but not least, online players are the subject of fierce competition from sites from all over the world. This has led to the rise of no deposit bonuses for newcomers, who are offered deals to try and get them to pick site A over site B. At many sites, $20 can be claimed and used to play for real cash prizes without any deposit or risk involved, allowing newbies to betting to find out if it’s their kind of thing with no stress at all. Even for old hands, such promos are very useful as they can be used to effectively test out new games or even new betting sites to see what’s what, which is something you cannot do at a brick-and-mortar casino.
Betting on eSports
Mobile casino betting has surged over the last year and more, but it’s not been the only betting trend to benefit from resilience in the face of COVID-19 and corresponding anti-pandemic actions by national governments. In addition to many other areas of business that have been able to adapt to the world of COVID-19 is eSports.
The diversion of eSports (think videogames meets pro sports) has been on the up and in the year preceding the pandemic the winner of the inaugural Fortnite World Cup received millions in prize money, with total winnings exceeding that of the 2019 Wimbledon champion.
Nor is this entirely divorced from the rise in mobile betting, as many engage in sports betting via their mobiles. In addition, increasing numbers of sites offer both sports betting and casino games together, allowing sports bettors to dabble in the casino, and vice versa.
Online betting has many great advantages, from safety in these pandemic times to a range of games that simply couldn’t fit under a physical roof. However, one undeniable downside is the relative lack of atmosphere. Live dealer games are a halfway house that bridges this gap by having players dealt cards by a real dealer, connected via livestreaming and thereby recreating the feel of a brick-and-mortar casino experience and combining that with the comfort and convenience of playing from home.
As VR develops, this burgeoning technology would dovetail perfectly with live dealer games, and is something that many expect to see in the not too distant future.
Technology has driven interest and accessibility in betting to new heights thanks to the internet, and this is only going to increase as new innovations make the betting world more compelling than ever.