Mobile gambling refers to playing games of chance or skill for money by using a remote device such as a tablet computer, smartphone or a mobile phone with a wireless internet connection. Over a hundred mobile casinos were operating as of December 2013, with most of the big casino operators in gambling now providing a mobile platform for their player base.
In 2003, The Mobile Lottery launched in the United Kingdom as the first mobile gambling venture in the country. After wireless gambling on casino grounds was legalized in June 2005, in March 2006, the Nevada Gaming Control Board "cleared the way for businesses to propose ways in which establishments can offer wireless gambling."
In 2006, Europe was the largest market for mobile gambling, but "telecommunications analysts predict that Asia will catch up soon." At the time, a limitation of suitable phones in Asia and unclear legal situations in certain locales was limiting growth, with legal mobile gambling in Asia restricted to Hong Kong and China for sports and lotteries. Only in the Philippines and Macau was casino-style mobile gambling allowed. There were analyst projections in 2006 that the mobile gambling market in the Asia-Pacific region would generate revenue of $3 billion in 2010. In 2005, Jupiter Research forecast that global mobile gambling services would generate revenues of more than $19.3 billion US dollars by 2009. In 2010, Gartner analysts showed the 2009 global mobile gambling revenues at $4.7 billion and forecast $5.6 billion for 2010. Such a large discrepancy between the 2005 forecast and the 2009 reality was attributed to the unexpected 2006 US prohibition of all internet based gambling.
The mobile gambling market, as of 2011 is still in flux. The European Union still does not have a unified mobile gambling legislative framework in place. Each European country has their own set of widely different laws which regulate mobile gambling ranging from Finland where a government monopoly operates internet casinos to Norway which is in favor of complete prohibition of online gambling.
According to a Juniper Research report released in September 2010 the total sum wagered on mobile casino games is expected to surpass US$48 billion by 2015. The report bases this prediction on (1) the high growth rates of mobile casinos, lotteries and sports betting providers in major emerging markets and China; (2) liberalization of mobile gambling legislation in Europe; (3) United States repealing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, permitting people in the US to legally gamble online again.
A 2010 Gartner forecast 2014 global mobile gambling revenues reaching $11.4 billion. Final revenues proved in excess of projects within the year. In early 2011, Apple had allowed real-money gambling apps for the first time into the Apple Store, with mobile gambling revenue in the UK rising from £19 million in 2009 to £41 million in 2010. In June 2011, The Guardian wrote a story about spiking mobile gambling figures released by gambling companies Paddy Power, Corcoran, and Betfair, with Paddy Power saying its mobile gambling revenues had increased by 300% during 2010. Likewise, Betfair's and Corcoran's mobile user increases were also attributed to the increased adoption of apps.
More recent legalization
Growth of mobile betting in the United States was slowed in 2011, when the DOJ ruled against it, although successful services had been launched in Nevada and New Jersey. In 2012, there was a push for south Jersey to allow gamblers to use mobile devices to gamble in casinos, pushed by Senator Jim Whelan, to compete with Las Vegas. At the time, mobile gaming devices were already adopted in Las Vegas in casinos, allowing casinos to extend gaming floor to their outer premises. In 2012, the New Jersey Legislature approved "the use of hand-held gambling devices at Atlantic City casinos," and was waiting on the Governor's signature to pass.
In March 2019, the governor of Rhode Island signed a bill to allow mobile sports betting in the state, to begin on 1 July. Gina Raimondo's proposed budget estimated $3 million from mobile gaming profits that year. With Rhode Island the only state to allow sports betting at that time, the bill was approved on 12 March 2019, and allowed for the creation of an app to allow remote placing of sports bets at Twin River Casino. The state had legalized sports betting the year before, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law forbidding most sports gambling in the country.
On 19 February 2020, it was reported that New Jersey had collected $837 million from general sports gamblers who were coming from New York state, both mobile and in-person, and that as a result, New York politicians were pushing for a bill that would legalize mobile gambling in New York with a 12.5% tax for each bet placed.
In September 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that online gamblers accounted for "80% of all legal wagers on games in New Jersey, which surpassed Nevada for the first time in May in monthly sports bets." At the time, online or mobile gambling was in five states for sports gambling: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Iowa and Nevada. It was reported that in its first year of legalization, "New Jersey sports bettors wagered a total of $3.2 billion in the first year," with $2.4 billion of that from online or mobile bets. In some states, like Mississippi, gamblers could place bets on a phone while physically inside the associated casino.
Mobile sports betting
Mobile casino games
According to The Jerusalem Post, examples of common mobile gambling games include slot games, table games, new games, and classics like roulette, blackjack, poker, and baccarat. There are also live casino versions that are streamed from real casinos or studios. According to a February 2010 comScore MobiLens study of the U.S. mobile gaming market, smartphone subscribers are much more likely to play mobile casino games than subscribers of generic phones. The study revealed that 7.6% of smartphone subscribers and 1.2% of generic mobile subscribers played mobile casino games within a three-month time frame.
Aside from availability online, United States of America-based mobile casino apps have appeared in several land-based locations that can be utilized to gamble only while physically present on the casino's property. This extends to outside areas that are still within the boundaries of the property, making them the first type of slot machine, sports-betting, and random number generated gambling to take place legally off the licensed gaming floor while still inside a U.S. casino.
In 2013 Apple and Google reversed a decision to permit mobile gambling applications to be distributed by their service in the United States.
- Hanman, Natalie (10 February 2005). "Placing a bet on the mobile". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Gartner Says Worldwide Mobile Gaming Revenue to Grow 19 Percent in 2010" (Press release). Gartner. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Mobile Gambling Wagers to Surpass $48bn by 2015" (Press release). Juniper Research. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Smartphone Adoption Shifting Dynamics of U.S. Mobile Gaming Market" (Press release). comScore Inc. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Betcade launches early access for Android gambling apps". VentureBeat. Retrieved 4 September 2016.