Where previously you had to wait until you got home to play your favourite slot or table game; now mobile casinos allow you to do that wherever you are.
The likes of Microgaming, Playtech and Net Entertainment have turned their attentions to making their existing games mobile while casinos are constantly developing new mobile bonuses and promotions. With all of this activity taking place, while the current range of mobile casinos and the games are impressive enough, you get the feeling that there’s a lot more to come.
Main attractions of mobile casinos
It doesn’t take too much to work out why mobile casinos are becoming so popular. Payments are becoming easier, there are more choices than ever before and they’re so much more accessible than ever before. Aside from those broad benefits, there are lots of other reasons to play at a mobile casino. Below are just some of what we believe to be the key factors.
The impression that most people have of mobile casinos is that you need to be some kind of technical wizard in order to be able to get to grips with them. However, we promise that’s not the case as casinos have placed an emphasis on simplicity and usability. But there are still a few things that you need to take into account before beginning your time in a mobile casino.
Five things to consider about mobile casinos
- When possible, play through a WiFi connection. It’s much quicker and won’t eat into your usage data.
- Casino lobbies and games that come as native apps are much more convenient to use once downloaded and use less bandwidth.
- Some older phones may not display games properly. Most casinos have a list of compatible devices on their website or in the FAQs section of their mobile site.
- The best way to contact mobile casino customer support is by calling them straight from your phone. Most casinos should provide freephone numbers.
- Native apps are created for iPhones, iPads, Android and BlackBerry devices allowing for push notifications, syncing with other apps and even the ability to move your phone in order to control what’s going on on the screen.
Mobile Casino Bonuses
Mobile gambling has provided players with a lot more options. It means that you can now play a few hands of blackjack or spin the roulette wheel with much more convenience.
But to really entice players away from their desktop and on to their phone, mobile casinos also offer a selection of bonuses. These can come in a variety of shapes and sizes with a selection of what you can expect listed below.
These bonuses are the same as the ones that are offered in the instant and download casinos. For more information on what these bonuses entail we recommend heading to our Bonuses section.
- Those already with accounts at online casinos who want to spread their play across desktops/laptops and their mobile phone.
- Players looking for a bigger bonus and therefore happy to deposit more.
- People who want a more varied selection of bonuses.
Mobile Specific Bonuses
- Players who only want to play on their mobile phones.
- Those looking to try out mobile casino gaming.
- Anyone looking to not deposit too much.
Having examined all of the mobile casino bonuses on offer at the casinos featured here at Jackpot.co.uk, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are four main types that you can expect to find.
Where you go in order to find these is up to you but, as mobile casinos continue to develop, there can be quite a difference between the amount numbers of mobile bonuses on offer. Some casinos, such as 32Red and the PartyCasino-powered Casino Las Vegas, have three different mobile bonuses while plenty of others have none.
Mobile Welcome Bonuses
Mobile-specific bonuses predominantly come in the form of welcome bonuses. When compared to welcome bonuses for download and instant casinos they usually have smaller deposit limits but are worth a similar percentage. This means that you can expect cashable 100% or even 150% bonuses with fair wagering requirements of around 30x your bonus and deposit.
Mobile Casino No-Deposit Bonuses
All digital casinos see no-deposit bonuses as a great way of bringing in new players and mobile casinos are certainly no exception. They give you free money and invite you in the hope that you’ll choose to hang around and play regularly.
As they are no-deposit bonuses, the amount which that you are given tends to be quite low – perhaps no more than £10. Wagering requirements can be around 50x your bonus, which is actually the same as 25x your bonus and deposit.
Mobile Casino Game Bonuses
Mobile casinos often provide special bonuses on specific games. These mobile game bonuses can vary from cashback to extra cash when you deposit and are certainly worth looking out for.
The most common games to be the subject of these bonuses are blackjack and roulette. As blackjack is quite a player-friendly game the wagering requirements attached to it are often pretty large – sometimes as much as 50x your bonus and deposit.
Regular Casino Bonuses
All casinos like to reward loyalty and those that operate on mobile phones are no different. So in order to keep you coming back, monthly bonuses are often made available.
These usually come in the form of a deposit bonus that can only be collected when depositing from your mobile, or as free chip drops that simply appear in your account. You can expect 100% deposit matches with wagering requirements of no more than 30x.
Mobile Casino Games
In the short time that they’ve been around, the quality and quantity of mobile casino games has increased immensely. Many casinos now have more than 20 different mobile games including slots, table and card games.
How to Play Mobile Casino Games
After having started off with a very limited selection of games, many mobile casinos now have as many as 20 different slots, table and card games. These games can come in two different formats – browser-based and app-based.
|Browser-based games||App-based games|
|Can be played on most phones and operating systems||Some are native to a specific operating system (Android, iOS etc.)|
|No download required||Initial download required and updates when applicable|
|Played through the casino’s mobile site||Launched from phone menu/home screen|
|Heavy use of bandwidth everytime you play||Once downloaded, they require little mobile data to play|
|Games can be Java, HTML5 or Flash||Apps can be downloaded from native stores or web|
Both of these methods have their ups and downs but browser-based games are more commonly found. Often apps can just be a mobile website put in the shell of an app, so by downloading it all you’re doing is just making it more accessible.
One other way of getting new casino games is to receive them by text message. This method requires you to input your phone number on a casino’s website and select the game you want to play. A link will then be sent to your phone and clicking on it will open up a login/registration screen which in turn leads to a game.
Mobile Casinos Keep Growing
While their selection is still considerably smaller than online casinos, players still get to choose from some of the most popular games. The games that you’re most likely to find in a mobile casino are:
As is the case in their online counterparts, slots are the most common games in mobile casinos. Mobile slots can come in the form of traditional or video slots and some mobile operators even offer slots from multiple software providers.
Gameplay doesn’t vary too much from online slots but being on a smaller screen does complicate things slightly. Buttons are a bit harder to press due to their size but some mobile slots do include pop-up menus when you wish to change your bet amount or spin the reels.
No casino is complete without blackjack and mobile casinos are no different. Mobile blackjack games tend to be kept fairly simple and are without sidebets (which tend to lower the overall house edge anyway). It’s most common for there to be just one blackjack game per casino.
All mobile blackjack games that we’ve come across have been single hand variations which allows for plenty of space for your betting options. When playing through a WiFi connection, in general the cards are dealt very quickly meaning that you play a couple of hands in no time at all.
Fortunately for roulette fans, mobile casinos tend to offer the single-zero European version of the game. Given the size of most mobile screens, roulette has been a bit of a challenge for mobile developers as they’ve attempted to make the games both easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.
This issue has been solved in two main ways. The first is that you see the table itself and only a small window appears when the ball is in motion and remains until the ball comes to rest. The second is a bird’s eye view of the table and wheel with the option to scroll down to see the rest of the table. The latter option is the one employed in Playtech-powered mobile casinos and is the one that we prefer.
As video poker can provide some of the highest payout percentages of all casino games, savvy casino players are likely to opt for a version of this card game.
Whereas online casinos are likely to have as many as 50 versions of the game, mobile casinos tend to just have one or two variations. The most common form of mobile video poker is Jacks or Better which can be found in both Microgaming and Playtech-powered mobile casinos. Due to the small screen size most mobile video poker games are single hand as there simply isn’t enough room for any more.
Other Mobile Casino Games
Virtual racing and lottery/bingo style games can be found in some mobile casinos, particularly those powered by Spin3/Microgaming such as 32Red and Spin Palace. Baccarat, scratch cards, casino poker, fruit machines and even virtual sports games are also available in some mobile casinos.
If you think the selection of mobile games appears rather paltry then fear not. We can’t stress enough just how much focus is being placed on developing new mobile games, so you can rest assured that there’s going to be many more soon.
Smartphone Mobile Casinos
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.
What’s the difference?
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.
Where to play?
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.
HTML5 Mobile Casinos
Once upon a time, if you wanted to play mobile casino games on your phone, they probably ran on Java, and you perhaps reached them on a WAP site using a link sent to you via SMS.
These days if you play browser-based mobile casino games, they’re often reached in exactly the same way as you would reach the site on a desktop computer or laptop – type in the homepage URL or run a Google search, or click through from a review site, and you’re ready to log in and start playing.
What’s changed? One of the main developments is the rise of HTML5, supported by most modern browsers including many of those that come pre-installed on smartphones and tablets.
It’s an evolution of the same programming language that has underpinned the internet since it first began, but it’s much more powerful, allowing entire casino games to be incorporated directly into web pages, with compatibility for many smartphones and tablets.
It’s an ever-growing platform – Microgaming in particular have been offering HTML5 slots since at least 2012, and you’ll often find unusual and innovative gameplay features included in brand new titles designed for the platform.
Beyond slots, there’s also an ever-growing number of table games and card games, ranging from Roulette to Blackjack.
While instant-play mobile casinos were once a very limited version of their desktop equivalents, that is no longer really the case.Nowadays you can expect to see almost as many titles on your mobile as on your computer – and in many cases, casino sites are designed to run seamlessly on different platforms, so the selection of games updates but everything else looks pretty much the same.
What’s the difference?
The main thing about HTML5 mobile casinos is that you can play simply by typing the appropriate URL into your mobile browser, or by following a link from search results or from a casino news and reviews site.
If you’re already a member, you should be able to log in without any delay, using your existing username and password, and usually have access to your same account balance too.
Compared with downloading and installing an app, it can be much faster and fuss-free – just remember data usage charges will still apply if you’re on 3G or 4G, so you might want to make sure you’re on a Wi-Fi connection before logging on.
Where to play?
Bet365 have been one of the leaders in HTML5 mobile gaming for years, and they give some of the clearest advice on how to log on, on the help pages of their desktop site; you’ll need an iPhone or Android phone, and there’s tablet support too.
Microgaming are not the only software providers with an HTML5 mobile platform – Playtech’s Open Platform (POP) also hosts an ever-increasing number of HTML5 titles.
LeoVegas is one site with a strong mobile focus – they were named EGR Mobile Casino Product of the Year in 2014, and signed to POP in April 2015, joining Bet365, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral on the Playtech platform.
Tablet casino apps let you install your favourite casino directly on to your tablet (providing it’s compatible with the app, and has internet access, of course).
Like smartphone apps, they make use of your tablet’s web access – whether cabled or wireless, 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi – to load casino games to play either just for fun, or for real money.
Some apps can be installed on both smartphones and tablets, and these can give you a consistent interface and gaming experience, whereas others are designed especially for the features of tablets.
Either way, installing an app can feel somehow more secure than typing your banking details into a mobile casino website, while updating the app can make sure you always have access to the latest new games.
As with smartphone apps and instant-play HTML5 mobile casino sites, the choice available for tablets has grown rapidly in recent years, and although there might not be quite as many slots titles, for example, in general you should feel as though you have a complete casino offering available to you.
Look out also for the ‘just for fun’ types of apps, as there are plenty of these around; they often come with a very stripped-down version of true casino gameplay, not to mention it being impossible to win real money on most of them.
There’s also the option of visiting an HTML5 casino just in your tablet’s web browser, and if you want a familiar web-like interface, rather than a standalone app designed to make use of gestures like shaking or tilting your tablet, then this is a good compromise.
What’s the difference?
You might think a smartphone app and a tablet app are the same thing – and it’s true to say they sometimes are, as some casinos send you the same app no matter what device you’re installing it on to.
But if you can find a true tablet app, designed especially for tablet specifications, then your overall gaming experience is likely to be better.
That’s because tablets are bigger, meaning there’s more screen space for the graphics – and no need to trim everything down as much as it takes to fit it on to a smartphone screen.
You might also find certain differences in the interface, for instance due to the greater chance that a tablet will be used flat in the owner’s lap, or flat on a table, rather than being hand-held like a smartphone usually is.
Where to play?
888 were one of the first to offer a real-money iPad app, and they continue to provide good options for tablet users, including the 888poker iPad Poker App for UK players, if cards are your thing.
The 888casino Android app also gets good reviews from players in general, and like any well-supported app, its selection of games has grown over time to become a more fully fledged casino offering.
Finally, look out for William Hill’s various apps for iOS and Android – these too are generally positively reviewed, and with several apps to choose from, you should be able to find one with the selection of games that you want.