A mobile gambling game is a mobile-optimised casino app that allows players to gamble on the go. These apps optimise the time that people spend waiting in queues, commuting to work or school and in their tea breaks by turning it into entertainment that can be enjoyed at the touch of a button. This new mode of gameplay can be very addictive, and is causing concern amongst regulators and researchers.
The rise of mobile gaming has been largely driven by the increasing use of smartphones and tablets. These devices are able to store and process large amounts of data, and have high-resolution displays that can render HD games without issue. Combined with mobile networks that can support uninterrupted gameplay, this has made mobile gambling an increasingly popular activity.
There are many ways to gamble on the go, with a variety of options available to suit all tastes and budgets. Some of the most popular games include poker, slots and roulette. Many mobile casinos also offer free spins and bonus rounds, which can be very attractive to new and existing players. These features can add a level of fun and excitement to the games, and can increase the chances of winning.
While some people may enjoy gambling on their smartphones, others find it dangerously addictive and potentially harmful. A recent study found that mobile gambling engenders a specific pattern of behaviour that has been previously identified as problematic, due to its associative basis and random ratio schedule of reinforcement. While other new gambling technologies, such as online casinos and virtual reality, have been shown to be associated with problem gambling, this research suggests that mobile gambling could pose a unique threat in particular for those who are already vulnerable.
In the study, participants interacted with a simulated gambling app on their smartphones. The app used a random ratio schedule of reinforcement, and the length of each bout of gambling was recorded. Contextual information and GPS co-ordinates were also collected. Participants were explicitly informed that they had the ability to change their settings and stop the app recording. Despite these controls, participants demonstrated considerable perseverative gambling during extinction. This result indicates that the associative processes that underlie problematic gambling can be accelerated by mobile technology, and further studies are required to understand how to minimise these risks.
The development of mobile gambling technology has been enabled by advances in device software, as well as expanding 3G and 4G networks. Unlike early generations of smartphones, which were limited by slow processing speeds and low-resolution display screens, modern smartphones have multi-core processors and ample RAM to support high-intensity mobile gaming. Additionally, the introduction of new mobile payment methods has reduced the barriers to playing on the go.
While mobile casino sites can be accessed through a web browser, most operators have developed dedicated apps for the major platforms. iOS and Android are the dominant smartphone operating systems, with both supporting a wide range of casino apps. These platforms allow US players to make deposits and withdrawals using their preferred method of payment, without the need to leave the game or return to a deposit page.