What exactly goes into a really good mobile casino experience? The best of the UK's mobile casino offerings - the ones that you see being nominated for and winning gaming awards every year - have at least a few things in common.
There are some foundational elements that any top-flight mobile casino should have in place. Try out some of the best of the best, and you'll see that they tend to have most (if not all) of the following qualities.
Full Game Selection
It used to work like this: you only got the casino's full game selection if you were on a computer and downloaded their special software. Using the mobile app got you a smaller selection of games, and playing through a web browser knocked the game count down even further.
Now that most of the customer traffic is on mobile devices, all of that has changed. The UK's online casinos have made a big push in recent years to make their full lineup of games available through a web browser. That way, it doesn't matter what device you're using and there is never any special software or apps to download.
(If you're curious, the big hang-up on this was the rollout of HTML5 to mobile web browsers; now that most of the big ones like Samsung Internet and Firefox Mobile fully support it, it's game on for fully "no download" casinos.)
There are still certain limitations to browser games, though. Some categories, like slots and video poker, are perfect for a web browser. Games that have multiple simultaneous human players (like the table games) are sometimes better served by their own dedicated mobile app. This area is where the casinos tend to vary more in how many games are available to mobile players.
Casinos also often prefer to have their poker and sports betting in a separate app. Not that all of these things can't be done in a browser - pretty much anything can at this point. But the features may be more limited. So it's not necessarily a strike against the casino if it parcels certain aspects out to such an app.
To try to simplify it all, the best mobile casinos are those that pack just about all of their casino roster into your browser or into one mobile app. It's OK if poker and sports betting are in their own separate apps, since you usually get better features and functionality that way.
There are lots of different devices out there, but mobile apps are not necessarily one-size-fits-all.
Different device types have different pros, cons and features to consider. For example, a tablet gives you much more screen space to work with than a smartphone. People also hold and interact with these devices differently. And since most people are using these devices on battery power, the tradeoff of graphics vs. expected battery capacity has to be considered as well.
The best mobile casinos take all of this into consideration. Some go so far as to offer different apps for phones and tablets, each optimised better for the strengths and weaknesses of that device.
At the very least, the app will feature and promote the games that work best on mobile devices.
If the casino makes use of a mobile app, the way it performs will be entirely independent of how any other aspect of the site performs.
Even if it uses a web browser interface, you can encounter different performance on different web browsers and devices. Though modern browsers largely support HTML5 at this point, they don't always load at the same speed and sometimes have incomplete support for it.
How well has the casino developer planned for the differences between all of these devices and browsers and compensated for good performance? That's a key aspect of how good a mobile casino is.
Interface design is also very important for a mobile casino - especially on phones.
With a small space to work with, casino app developers need to re-organise things in a sensible way that is suited to touch controls. What works on a website with a mouse doesn't necessarily work with a phone or a tablet!
Unique Offers for Mobile Players
Mobile is the future of online casino gaming, and UK gambling establishments want to get these players early and lock them in. One of the ways they do that is to offer special bonuses that require you to log in through the app or from a mobile device to claim.
Some offer a larger sign-up bonus. Others have ongoing offers for established players that can only be claimed through a mobile device.
The best UK mobile casinos make it worth your time to install their apps on your device.
Customer Support Options
Live chat is the online casino's preferred method for you to contact them with any issues. It's fast, and it's relatively inexpensive for them.
The only trouble is that it sometimes isn't offered through the mobile app. That means players have to find a computer if they want to use the live chat option.
In addition to email and phone support, the best mobile casinos have a well-designed chat feature that can be accessed seamlessly in the app without interrupting anything.
Mobile App Security
Securing a mobile app is entirely different from securing a website. Mobile operating systems have their own unique vulnerabilities, and these appear on an ongoing basis. The best casino apps keep on top of these developments and regularly patch their apps to secure your data and your funds.
You also need to consider the possibility of casino apps siphoning off your data for nefarious purposes. This is part of the reason why it's best to always stick with casinos approved by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
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