The original way to play at a mobile casino in the smartphone era was to download an app, and while an increasing number of online casinos now offer HTML5 games, apps are still probably the main method of logging on.
For regular players, they offer the benefit of having a standalone application to get to your favourite online casino games, rather than having to launch your mobile web browser and type in the URL of your chosen casino.
There are social casino apps that only allow you to play for fun, but generally speaking, if you install an app bearing the brand name of one of the bigger casino sites, you’ll probably be able to play for real money, often using your existing username, password and account balance.
Your phone’s operating system can have a huge effect on the range of titles available for you to play, with iOS and Android leading the way in terms of compatibility.
A handful of online casinos also support BlackBerry devices, so don’t lose hope if you’re a RIM customer; there are compatible sites out there, they’ll just take some extra searching to find.
Windows Phone is a different matter, and generally speaking, you’ll find the apps you can download are just for fun, or are ‘freemium’ apps – free to install, with in-game upgrades you can purchase.
On all newer smartphone platforms (at least, those with HTML5 support) there’s the instant-play option at any compatible mobile casino – and while apps have ruled the roost for a few years already, HTML5 seems likely to take over in the end.
People talk about HTML5 casino ‘apps’, but it’s really just a mobile version of the casino’s normal website, with normal web-like interaction.
A true smartphone app can be designed specifically for the capabilities of a certain mobile operating system, and that means gesture-based interaction (like shaking your phone to spin the roulette wheel) is a possibility.
You might also simply feel happier having your casino gaming separated away from the rest of your phone in an app, rather than it just being a website saved to your favourites – although that’s a matter of personal taste.
Betfair show off their excellent mobile casino offering.
At any major online casino, look out for a little picture of a smartphone, or the Apple, Android, BlackBerry or Windows logo, as any of these can be an indication of a mobile app you can download, or a mobile version of the website you’re on.
Betfair Arcade is one option for iPhone users – and is compatible with iPad tablets too – it comes with generally good reviews, allows real money gaming, and uses your normal Betfair login.
Another good option is Winner Mobile, available on iOS and Android, which incorporates Winner Sports, Casino, Slots, Live Casino, Vegas, Bingo and Poker in a single secure app.
Remember, if you can’t see any mention of mobile on your preferred casino site, it might be worth searching your phone’s app marketplace to see if there’s any sign of smartphone apps with the same brand name.