Nearly every online casino offers some sort of mobile app these days, but they aren't all equally good. The worst of these mobile apps can be lacking in game options, have problematic interfaces or even have security issues.
So what should you be looking for in a mobile casino app? We'll introduce you to the qualities that should be present in a good mobile betting app, and also provide you with some of the best examples in the industry.
Types of Mobile Casino Apps
The world's mobile devices run on two main operating systems: Android (owned by Google) and iOS (owned by Apple). An Apple device will always have iOS, while pretty much any other mobile device will run Android.
Just about any casino that offers a mobile app will have one for both iOS and Android. There is usually just one universal app for all Android devices. Casinos may also have one universal app for iOS, but they sometimes offer separate apps for iPhones and iPads. The only difference there is that each app is optimised for the screen size and features of that particular device.
There are a handful of other mobile operating systems, like Windows Mobile and the BlackBerry OS, but at this point online casinos by and large no longer support them by way of apps.
A Word On Browser-Based Casinos
When a casino says that they support BlackBerry, mobile Windows or other off-beat devices, that usually refers to their "instant play" or "no download" feature rather than a native app.
These instant options are a great addition to online casinos, and some properties have even moved to an entirely browser-based model with no software or apps whatsoever. These are not really the same thing as a "casino app," however. An app is a distinct piece of software that you download to your phone or tablet to be able to enter the casino, not something that relies on a web browser to work.
What Makes for a Great Mobile Casino App?
The best of the mobile casino apps provide a solid all-around experience. They install and run safely, they have a smooth and intuitive interface, and they offer a good selection of games. It's also nice when they offer you some special bonuses as well!
In some territories, gambling apps are not allowed on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store due to local laws. Fortunately, since gambling is both legal and well-regulated in the United Kingdom, these apps are available here straight through these relatively safe platforms.
The one thing to watch out for is "name-alike" apps that aren't actually from the casino, particularly on the Google Play Store (which is less tightly regulated than Apple's store). The best thing to do is always go to the casino website first and find their links to the appropriate app store page.
The best casino apps have a clean, intuitive interface that loads quickly. Bonus marks for looking nice while doing all of this! Navigation between different areas of the casino should be quick and painless, buttons should be easy to identify and press, and the app should not be crippled for features as compared to the desktop / laptop version of the casino.
When online casinos first started out, you had to download special software to play them on a desktop or laptop computer. Even after support for other devices was added, the desktop / laptop versions were still the most frequently used because they had the most features and the largest count of games.
That does technically remain true today at many online casinos, but the gap has closed considerably. You can now reasonably expect the game count on the mobile app to be at or near that of the computer software. Certain categories of game, most notably poker and live streaming dealer games, are still necessarily more limited on mobile devices than they are on computers. But casinos now often have their full roster of slots, video poker and more available through their mobile apps.
Special Perks for Mobile Players
In terms of internet access, mobile is taking over the world. Android has become the world's most commonly-used operating system, and people are increasingly turning to their phones or tablets as their primary gateway to the internet rather than their computers.
Online casinos have definitely noticed that mobile represents huge business going forward. Some are attempting to entice users to download their mobile apps with special bonuses and perks that aren't available through other means. This could mean a special welcome bonus for signing up on mobile, regular bonuses for logging in through the app, or special offers that are only sent by push notification to mobile devices.
Examples of the Best Mobile Casino Apps
You'll see Mr. Green mentioned frequently as a mobile casino favourite of UK players. That's primarily because nearly the full desktop lineup of games has made the jump to the small screen, making it one of the best apps out there for overall game count. It's also one of the relatively few mobile apps that has a good selection of live dealer games that function well.
Gaming stalwart LeoVegas has done very well with their mobile app, managing to get over 600 games working on phones and tablets. What's also impressive here is that sections that often get short shrift on mobile apps (such as table games) are well fleshed-out. Like Cherry's app, it also does an excellent job with an intuitive direct adaptation of the main site's interface to the touch screen format.
Fun, Safe and Fair Mobile Device Betting
The best mobile casino apps are basically an extension of the casino's desktop software. They should work just as well, be equally secure, and have nearly as many games available. Special incentives for using them are also a nice bonus!