No one could deny that the last couple of decades have been incredible ones for the online casino industry. It has come from almost nowhere to be a multi-billion-dollar sector as well as a genuine challenge to traditional “bricks and mortar” casinos. And, while the earliest online casinos were generally played on a PC, there has been a huge shift to mobile in more recent times. This reflects the fact that today more people go online via their mobile devices than on computers.
Ever conscious of the need to keep up with the latest developments, the online casino industry has therefore concentrated a great deal of time, effort and money on developing mobile sites and apps to meet customer demand.
As with every industry which has had to effectively compress their full websites into slimmed down versions more suited to mobile screens this has caused a few issues to be overcome. A number of these are particular to mobile casinos, although mobile gaming in general shares many of them as well. So here we will look at what some of these challenges are, and the ways in which mobile casinos have been able to overcome many of them.
Players Want a Fast, Reliable Connection
Anyone who’s ever been in the middle of an online game only to find it freezing and buffering will know exactly how frustrating this can be. While this is annoying when you’re just playing for fun, it is even worse if you’re on a casino site and there’s real money at stake.
Casinos know that they have no real control over the speed and quality of their players’ internet connection. But something they can at least try to dictate is how quickly the pages on their site load. That’s why more and more have come to rely on Accelerated Mobile Pages. In essence, these use a stripped-down version of HTML so elements like images don’t appear until they’re scrolled into view. On casino sites, which do tend to be very visual in nature, this can be a real benefit and create a far smoother and faster player experience.
Accommodating Different Operating Systems
Creating a mobile site is obviously far more complex than one which is simply designed for use on a PC or a Mac. That’s because there are a huge number of different devices out there, each with its own particular characteristics. What’s more, the users of the devices may also have customized them to suit their own preferences. This means it’s a far more involved process than simply creating Android and iOS versions of a casino site. In fact, the testing phase of the mobile casino site’s development will involve checking how it performs on all of the most popular devices from the different manufacturers’ devices – which can be a long and painstaking process.
Ensuring Visibility and Usability
Part of the pleasure of playing on a mobile casino site is aesthetic – it has to look good as well as being entertaining to play. However, the viewport on a mobile screen is inevitably much smaller than a PC or a laptop screen. So, say you were playing online roulette, you’d want the action to be as clear as on a full-size screen. This means the developers have to be very careful in their choice of colours and fonts to ensure maximum visibility.
There’s also the question of the controls. With no keyboard to use, these also have to be incorporated into the touch screen. A great example of this can be found at 777 online casino and their various offerings of roulette, their games work seamlessly on a range of devices, ensuring that when you play 777 online roulette you’ll have a great experience, regardless of whether you’re playing via tablet, phone or PC.
Fortunately for developers, Google does seem to be on their side and, as part of its Search Console, has started sending automated usability warnings when it detects that the settings of design many need to be changed. Among the issues it can identify, and report are whether the text is too small to be legible, whether clickable elements on screen are too close together or if the content is wider than the screen.
To help developers even more, Google also provide a service that will check just how mobile-friendly a site is and which also automatically produces a report pinpointing improvements that could be made.
Enabling Live Casino Play
The very first online casinos pitted players against a computer running random number generator software to replicate the randomness of games like roulette and blackjack. While this was novel for players, it did certainly lack the excitement and atmosphere of the real casino experience. The solution was a simple one, albeit one with certain technical challenges that had to be overcome, particularly for the mobile version of a site.
The live casino involves the streaming of action from studio designed to look like a casino with actual dealers playing in real time. It works by digitizing the information generated when a roulette wheel spins or cards are dealt making it possible to convert the action into an online game. The complexities of doing this are magnified when it comes to doing it on a mobile site. But so great is the popularity of the live online casino that all the leading operators have put in the necessary effort to make it happen.
5G and Other Advances
With the gradual rollout of 5G technology this is going to make not just live streaming, but many other aspects of running a mobile casino website, easier for operators. Upload speeds should be faster and connectivity more reliable which will be good news for everyone. It’s also going to be more important than ever to have a well-programmed mobile site as the Google Mobile-First Indexing, which was introduced in July 2019, will conduct a crawl through these sites first to index them according to how they render on a phone or tablet.
So, although there are undoubtedly many more challenges ahead for online casinos that want to keep their mobile sites ahead of the game, the reasons for doing this are growing too. And the ultimate winners are sure to be the players themselves.