Access to your favourite casino games has never been easier. There’s no heading out to the local casino or planning a trip with your mates to enjoy the thrills of the games. Instead, blackjack, roulette and slots are only ever a click away on your smartphone. Whether you’re on the bus to work or have your feet up on the sofa, you can play 24/7.
However, it wasn’t always this easy. Whilst kids today will grow up with technology around them, we all know how far it’s come in the past few decades. Here we will look at how smartphones transformed casino gaming, starting from when it all began – and it wasn’t that long ago!
The start of mobile gaming
The start of mobile gaming can be traced back to 1997 when Nokia introduced the world to Snake. Its popularity meant that mobile gaming would be a consistent part of any new phone, although the technology wasn’t available at the time.
By the early 2000s, games were improving and it saw the choice of games increase for mobile users. That was down to Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), which enabled downloads of your favourite games. Whilst there were more variations when it came to the games, in terms of casino games, it was still very limited.
It would take until 2005 until that would change.
Java games offer a new dimension
Whilst WAP games were new and exciting initially, the quality of the games available was average. Of course, that was down to the software available but by 2005 we were starting to see significant improvements, thanks to Java games.
They provided us with the first casino game, a traditional pub fruity which proved very popular with players. However, it didn’t follow the same format that we are accustomed to today. Instead of winning cash, players would receive virtual rewards. Not long after that, with poker rapidly attracting public interest, a Texas Hold’Em game was released and went down really well, although the rewards were similar.
With technology advancing at a significant rate, it meant that the quality of games could grow in a matter of months. In 2007, we saw the first opportunity for players to wager and win real money. Spin3, associated with Microgaming, launched Baccarat that was available with various mobile casinos. Later on in the year, 3-card poker and a selection of slot games would be available to play offering real-money wins.
The introduction of apps
Even though major strides were being taken in improving the mobile casino games we could play, it was the introduction of the iPhone and then their app store that paved the way for the games we see today.
The app store arrived and opened up the possibility of a range of games to players. Not only that, they were instantly accessible and more importantly of a much higher quality. The graphics, sounds and gameplay had evolved, taking mobile casino gaming to another level. It shifted the need for casino fans to head out to their local land-based casino and ensured they could experience the same thrill from their phone without compromising. Not long after Apple unveiled their app store, Android mobiles arrived, offering a similar service through what we know now as the Play Store.
From there, we’ve seen consistent gradual improvement. Thanks to 3G the internet speed improved, which had a serious impact on games. There was a lot less buffering, waiting and the gaming experience was a lot more real. Since then, 4G has taken it one step further.
With app stores providing the perfect platform for games to reach a wide audience, the popularity and demand for games continued to increase. So, whether you wanted to play poker, slots, blackjack, roulette or any other type of casino game, you could find the apps to your favourite casinos, which had those games in abundance.
How this has changed gambling
As mentioned, the need to go to the casino to fulfil your gambling needs has long gone. The online platform has presented everyone with a chance to play in a different environment. Visiting a casino may not appeal to some people, whether it’s the distance you had to travel or wanting privacy when you play and that’s what online gambling allowed.
However, the big impact of online and mobile gambling comes in the form of the number of young players it attracts. Figures from the US show that 40% of gamblers in the country in 2013 were aged between 21 and 34. Meanwhile, in the UK 10.6% of 18-34 years admitted to gambling in 2008. By 2014 that figure had reached 17.6% with the obvious introduction of online and mobile platforms seen as the key reason.
There’s nothing to suggest that these figures will slow down either. With most youngsters perfectly comfortable using the technology that offers these games, they will be able to identify them quicker. Perhaps more importantly is the exposure they receive to online and mobile gambling. From sponsorships on football shirts to high street stores and social media presence and TV adverts, younger people will become used to seeing and reading about where they can gamble.
What does the future hold?
It’s hard to envisage how things could improve with mobile gambling as there’s not a lot you can’t do at the minute! The speed and range of games will continue to increase, which may become more noticeable over the years. Implementing live dealers to offer more interaction could be a way to improve the mobile aspect, as the feature is very common online now.
Essentially, the mobile casino industry has majorly changed the way we play. Everything is available on the move and it certainly represents the future. Casinos will focus their gaming to be compatible with online and mobile platforms to ensure they can reach the biggest audience possible.
Ultimately, we won’t know for sure what the future will hold, but we do know that mobile gaming has revolutionised the casino industry. The initial signs began in 2000 but the real breakthrough was 2007. Since then, the way we play has just improved all the time, with all our favourite games held on our smartphones. So, next time you’re playing blackjack through your Lucky Nugget Casino app, you will realise how much things have changed!