Mobile betting is definitely the future of the betting industry. In fact, you could say that the mobile revolution is already here with some bookmakers reporting as much as 70% of their overall traffic now comes directly via either smartphones or tablets. It’s a pretty staggering number to be honest but definitely indicates which direction the betting industry is taking over the next few years.
What’s become more apparent in this time is the number of bookmakers that are starting to embrace this trend. The industry, to a certain extent, have forced many bookmakers hands due to the influx in hits on sites from mobile devices, but now you will be able to find some specifically designed betting apps to accompany those sites that are already mobile friendly.
Technology has definitely allowed bookmakers to really run with mobile betting. The biggest introduction has been the development of HTML5. For those of you that don’t know, HTML5 is a development platform that allows designers to make a much more functional app and also betting website. It often makes the transition between the two much easier for developers and it allows bookmakers to offer their punters a much more polished product overall.
Usability & Features
Betting apps have taken huge strides in the mobile betting industry. The last 24 months or so has been pretty impressive in terms what some bookmakers were turning out compared to what’s now on offer. To be honest, both availability and design were initially lacking for most bookmakers and it was unsure as to if the then novelty, would really catch on.
These days, functionality is at the forefront of most mobile betting apps and the majority of the bigger bookmakers, along with some of the smaller, have very good mobile betting apps. What’s been key is the crossover of features from their online sportsbook to their mobile app. The limited screen size does come with its limitations and there aren’t many, if any bookmakers that have a complete crossover of features from their online sportsbook to their mobile one.
That being said, we’ve seen a big increase into the amount of feature rich content that you can now get from mobile betting apps. One of the biggest integrations has been the ability to access live streaming. It’s been more of a revelation in mobile devices due to the fact that so few offer the service from their online site. Granted, the feature is few and far between, with bet365 leading the way in mobile streaming, but it’s a great step for the industry and just goes to show what can be made available over the next 12 months and beyond.
Usability has also been something that a lot of mobile users are, or were, wary of. We remember testing mobile betting apps a few years ago and just thinking that in the current state, they had no hope. They were raggedy, small, not very dynamic and were only available on a few smartphone platforms. These days the majority of apps are available on pretty much all mobile platforms. This is largely down to the introduction of HTML5, which we spoke about earlier, but it means that companies can offer the same product to a huge range of mobile platforms, from just the same app design.
What you will often find now is a mix between betting apps that are downloadable from a particular app store and also those, which are essentially mobile site adaptations. Any mobile device can access these just by entering the bookmaker through the mobile browser. This will then recognise that you’re on a mobile device and in turn change the site to the mobile format.
Mobile v Desktop Comparison
Whether you have access via a dedicated app or a mobile site, the mobile version will likely look a lot different to that of the desktop. Everything will be re-sized and formatted in a way that is designed for the smaller screen mobile device. Another key difference between the two will be that the desktop sites will often include a much larger number of features than that of the mobile site.
The mobile site is essentially there for functionality and is designed to allow people to access the bookmaker in easier to manage on the smaller screen. To do this they have to strip back somewhat and one of the ways they can do this is by not including as many features. We spoke earlier about bet365 including live streaming into their app, and whilst this is fantastic, they are very much on their own with this sort of feature. Whilst desktop versions include stats section, blogs, tips and other features, the mobile app will often not have these, and makes into somewhere to wager, rather than a betting HUB.
But, having said all that, we fully expect that more features will transfer from desktop to mobile in the coming months and years. As developers and bookmakers find more user friendly ways for these types of features to be include on mobile devices, then they will obviously start to integrate them.
History of Mobile Betting
Many of you may be surprised to hear that mobile betting has been around in some form since 2001. The format and structure of betting on your phone was very different back then and if you think that the biggest selling phone in 2001 was the classic Nokia 3210 (yes, the one with Snake), then you will understand that many limitations came with mobile betting.
Originally there was one offered up the software for bookmakers to offer mobile betting called, Cellectivity. Over the next few years they managed to acquire partnerships with many of the larger bookmakers and promote what was thought to be the ‘next big thing’ in the betting industry.
As technology developed and became more widespread, the next decade saw a huge change in how the mobile betting sections looked and functions. Developers started designing specialist app with the likes of the Apple iPhone and these days, the introduction of HTML5 has meant that many mobile betting apps can be designed one to fit on a number of platforms.