Some online casinos offer mobile apps, but are these really any better than simply using your browser?
Did you know that the number of players using mobile casinos gaming is threatening to overtake the number of players using laptops or desktops? According to the Gambling Commission stats, 43% of players in the UK now choose to play on a mobile device such as a mobile phone or a tablet.
This number is steadily increasing; the last year alone has seen a 10% increase in the number of players using mobile devices. Compare that with desktop players - these days, around 55% of players use a desktop computer or laptop for gambling. This doesn’t sound particularly remarkable, until you consider the fact that this figure has dropped by around 6% in the last year.
When you play on a mobile device such as a tablet or mobile phone, you have a choice to make. You can either play your games through a browser such as Google Chrome or Safari, or you can download an app. Some apps act as hubs from which you can play multiple games, while other apps are simply a single casino game.
The explanation is simple: mobile devices are simply better now than they were before, across the board. The saturation in the market has meant that even non-techie types are walking around with some seriously impressive hardware in their pockets. Most of our phones and tablets are equipped with the processing power to handle games with high definition 3D graphics, and sometimes even virtual reality.
This means that the majority of phones and other mobile devices are now more than capable of running any kind of casino game, without compromising on graphics or features. In fact, many casino software providers have now been able to port the desktop version of their game straight onto mobile without having to change anything.
In the past, many casino games were coded using Flash. Flash was notoriously incompatible with mobile operating systems such as iOS and most flavours of Android. This made porting many games over to mobile all but impossible. Now that the industry has moved on from Flash to HTML5, it has become a lot easier to program games that will work in both mobile and desktop environments.
Mobile gaming is a lot more convenient and versatile than playing on a desktop computer. Your desktop is obviously confined to a specific location, while laptops can be cumbersome and usually don’t have mobile Internet capabilities. With a tablet or a phone on the other hand, you can play wherever you want.
So which format is ideal for playing your casino games? That depends on quite a few different factors; not all apps are created equal.
In some cases, apps might be badly designed, leading to an unsatisfactory user experience. They might have performance issues such as lagging, stuttering, or crashing. In the case of an app which has been poorly designed, you might be better off playing via your browser.
On the other hand, you can also experience similar issues when using a mobile browser. Many players report that certain games don’t load properly when playing on a mobile browser such as Chrome.
You might encounter issues such as the graphics not loading at all or the sound of the game not coming through. In some cases, installing a different browser could help get around the issue. For example, if you are using Safari and a specific game doesn’t work, you might want to try installing Chrome.
When it comes to the best casino developers, you should find that their games run reasonably well on any platform. Often, it simply comes down to which way of playing you prefer. Some people like to have a specific app that they use for their games, but other people don’t like cluttering up their phones with a lot of apps.
You might encounter some problems when playing in your browser, which could somewhat ruin the immersion. For example, you might not be able to remove the browser bar while you are playing a game in portrait mode. Mobile apps on the other hand are able to make use of the frameworks provided by the operating system to lay out the user interface.
Logically, one would expect that a native app is going to offer the best performance, but how does it work in practice? Most applications generally offer better mobile performance than their corresponding websites, as designing and developing a mobile app requires little regard for the desktop experience, while both environments need to be considered when designing and developing a website.
But there are always exceptions. A well-coded and well-optimised website will usually outperform a badly designed app.
There are currently two main players in the mobile market. Chances are, you own either an Android or an iPhone. So which is the better choice for online casino gaming? As both types of phone have numerous sub-types of different shapes, sizes, and capabilities, this largely comes down to personal taste.
The key difference used to be that Google Play did not allow casino apps, whereas the Apple Store did. This meant downloading casino apps on Android was a tricky and risky process of locating hacked DPK files. This has since changed and you can now find apps from all of your favourite casino operators on Google Play.
There's no generally accepted opinion on which kind of device is better for running mobile casino apps. It largely depends on the device's hardware capabilities, as opposed to the operating system that the device uses.
From our list of the best online casinos in the UK, here you can see which have mobile apps and which don’t. Regardless of whether your chosen casino has an app or not, you can still play their casino games within your browser of choice. You can click the casino names to be directed to its review page.
● Convenience? With a mobile app, it’s more inconvenient to begin with, as you need to find and download the app you need from the app store. For a website, you can simply go to the site and start playing immediately. Once you actually have the app installed and configured, the app becomes much more convenient; you can log in and start playing much more quickly.
● Space saving? One of the biggest disadvantages of apps is that you must install the software on your phone. If limited space is an issue, you may want to consider playing on a website. To play on a site, all you need is an Internet browser. In most cases, this is going to be built into your phone’s operating system, costing you no extra storage space whatsoever.
● Performance? Generally speaking, an app is going to be faster and more reliable than a website.
● Functionality? An app gives a developer a lot more freedom when it comes to functionality. For example, with an app, it’s easy to create push notifications. A well-designed app will usually have better functionality than a mobile website, giving you all of the options you need.
Therefore we would recommend that after you’ve signed up at an online casino and decided you like it, and intend to do a decent amount of playing on your mobile phone, at least give the mobile app a try.