Going mobile is a key strategy for many leading providers within the online gambling space. For countless others, mobile will assume a greater role in the short to medium term -- and that's not surprising, given how other apps have leveraged the mobile channel.
Juniper Research has found that annual wagers via mobile phones and media tablets on casino-type gambling and poker games are expected to reach $62 billion globally by 2018 -- that's a sixfold increase on the $10 billion wagered last year.
According to their latest market study, the primary driver will be legalization of selected online gambling services in the previously untapped U.S. market, which is expected to see a host of service launches over the next five years.
Juniper believes that successful mobile casino launches in U.S. markets such as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, will prompt other states -- those currently adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ stance -- to begin legislating for online or mobile gambling.
Furthermore, service providers that enter the U.S. market will be required to optimize gambling solutions for mobile users from the outset, given the large appetite for content on handsets/tablets which already exists in this market.
How Free-to-Play Games Revealed the Demand
Globally, gambling operators have also been spurred to develop sophisticated mobile casino solutions by the apparent success of free-to-play casino games on a variety of mobile devices.
Although these games do not serve as direct competitors to real-money gambling providers, they have demonstrated how immersive games -- such as slots and poker -- can be on a mobile device.
Furthermore, despite the fact that consumers cannot win money on these titles, several -- including Big Fish Casino, Poker by Zynga and Slotomania -- are among the highest grossing games on the Apple App Store through consumer purchases of virtual currency.
However, Juniper found little evidence that the traditional Government-run lotteries were keen to expand via the mobile channel.
"Lack of competition in the lottery space has meant that there has been little incentive to innovate. Realistically, only if retail outlet ticket sales slump will providers be motivated to push distribution through online and mobile channels," said Siân Rowlands, research analyst at Juniper Research.