While online gambling in the UK has grown exponentially over the last few years, there is one sector in particular that has seen significant growth, and that’s the mobile online gambling sector. With mobiles becoming the new normal when it comes to web navigation, it was only a matter of time before the online gambling world started taking notes and focussing on offering a better mobile experience to players. And apparently, these efforts paid off and were one of the reasons why the gambling industry had such an impressive year. Let’s take a look at the growth of mobile gambling in the UK and what it means for the future of online gambling in general.
A Cold Hard Look at the Numbers
While mobile is slowly, but surely, becoming the medium of choice for online gamblers, laptops were still the number one option leading into this year. Around 50% of people surveyed in a recent study said that they frequently used their laptops to access online gambling sites.
But we can see a time when mobiles will surpass laptops as the first option for online gamblers. As a matter of fact, 39% of people surveyed said that they used their mobile to gamble online. This was a 10% jump from 2016 and we can expect even more growth leading into next year. PCs, on the other, are slowly falling out of favour with players, with only 33% saying that they used their home PC to play online.
But even as mobile gaming is increasing in popularity, an overwhelming number of people still prefer playing from the comfort of their home. As a matter of fact, 97% of people surveyed said that they would rather play from home than anywhere else. Men also were more likely to play outside of the home than women and gamble from work, pubs, and different venues.
Another interesting piece of data is how different the spending habits of PC, laptop, and mobile users are. As a matter of fact, according to an Optimove study, mobile users were much more likely than their counterparts to go beyond the bonus stage and become paying players. This might push more online casinos to centre their marketing on mobile gamers and make mobile gambling options more attractive to them.
Gambling participation is still very high in the UK, which explains why the mobile gambling scene has exploded recently. In 2017, it was estimated that roughly one in two Brits over the age of 16 had participated in at least one form of gambling over the previous year. While it was a slight decline from the year before, these numbers were still right in line with 2015 stats.
Factors behind the Growth of Mobile Gambling
There are many factors that explain why online gambling is becoming so popular in the UK. The first one is obviously convenience. Players love the idea of being able to place bets on their favourite teams or play different types of slot games from anywhere. But another factor that has pushed the demand for online gaming is the introduction of better, more sophisticated mobile games and an overall better mobile gaming experience. Sites like Casino Moons, for instance, have gone above and beyond to please the mobile gaming market with a wide selection of games that play just as smoothly on mobile as they do on laptops and PCs.
More Flexible Betting
Sports betting is on the rise, and an increasing number of players are focusing on in-play bets at the moment. In-play betting requires that players place multiple bets in short time intervals. Using a device as bulky as a laptop or a PC isn’t conducive to that, which is why mobiles are so popular for in-play sports betting. Mobile devices also make it easier to keep attention on games while placing bets or use one device for watching and the other one for betting.
The Integration of Social Media and Gambling
Another factor that is boosting demand for mobile gambling is how easily mobile gambling integrates with social media. Game developers will often add a social element to their games, which allows players to navigate between their regular social media activities and their games seamlessly. The social element also boosts the popularity of the games themselves. That’s why gambling related games are some of the most played on social media today.
What Can We Expect for the Future?
According to a recent report by Technavio, the global mobile gambling market is set to increase by 18.84% from last year to 2021. This could eventually mean that mobile gambling will become the number one support for online casinos in 2021. This would completely change the online gambling landscape and how operators approach design and marketing. We’re now already seeing more emphasis being put on mobile gaming, but we could see a switch towards a mobile-first approach like we’ve seen in many other online industries.
The same report also segmented the mobile gambling audience into three categories: dabblers, social exuberants, and enthusiasts. And, according to their findings, enthusiasts counted for about 73% of the demand as of 2016.
Gambling enthusiasts have a different approach to online gambling compared to other demographics. For instance, they are more likely to prioritise gaming quality over ROI when picking gambling platforms. They are much more likely to sacrifice hefty bonuses for a better gaming experience. And they are much more likely to pick a casino that offers a better mobile experience. Gambling enthusiasts were also said to often be financially sound and have a higher profile lifestyle. This explains why they’re such an important demographic to the gambling industry, and it also explains the impact they’ve had on the whole sector lately.
Mobile gambling is set to explode by the beginning of next year and this could be a huge breakout year for multi-device gambling in 2019. Expect developers and casinos to start catering to the mobile crowd more aggressively to increase their profits and gain an edge in the sector.