A mobile gambling game allows players to play casino games on a smartphone or tablet device. It is a type of remote online gaming that can be done through a bespoke app, a website optimized for mobile devices, or even via text message. Several different external market forces are driving the growth of this sector of the gaming industry.
In 2022, consumer spend on mobile gambling games is projected to reach $222 billion worldwide. This represents a significant share of the overall digital gaming market, which was forecast to be around $63 billion in 2020. In addition, mobile gaming offers the potential for more personalized and interactive experiences than traditional computer-based gaming.
Mobile gambling games can offer a wide range of games and bonuses, from free games to welcome bonuses. Some of these bonuses come in the form of a match bonus, where funds deposited are matched up to a certain level. While these bonuses must be wagered a number of times before they can be withdrawn, they are still a good way to increase your bankroll.
The emergence of mobile gambling has created a new set of challenges and concerns for researchers, regulators, and industry participants. For example, the graphical limitations of smartphones until recently meant that they could not deliver a rich gambling experience. However, advances in processor speed and graphical capabilities have enabled mobile gambling developers to create games that are more immersive and engaging than ever before. This has opened up new avenues for gambling companies to target consumers, with many focusing on social gaming as an entry point into the world of mobile gambling.
As with conventional gambling, mobile gambling games can create substantial losses for some users. The emergence of a new breed of “free-to-play” games that incorporate gambling features has raised serious questions about whether they should be classified as gambling. In Washington state, for example, the makers of a popular casino-style smartphone game called Jackpot Magic have found that it is easier to skirt gambling regulations by labeling their product as a video game rather than a slot machine.
The rapid proliferation of mobile gambling is likely to have profound implications for the future of responsible gambling. The ubiquity of these games may challenge the effectiveness of responsible gambling strategies designed to reduce problematic gambling behaviour, which typically involve breaking up play and presenting risk-reduction messages alongside it. This may be especially true in mobile gambling, where the atypical features of these games may make them harder to break up than traditional computer-based gambling. In addition, the asymmetrical reinforcement schedules inherent in many mobile gambling games may lead to gamblers “accelerate” their responses and lose control over their behavior. The implication is that more research into the psychological implications of these atypical features of mobile gambling should be undertaken. This might inform the design of more effective responsible gambling interventions in the future.