The iGaming industry is now worth £33 billion. Up from £19 billion in 2009, its recent growth has been impressive and, in large part, down to the power of mobile apps. Log in to the Apple Store right now and you’ll find hundreds of casino apps just waiting to be downloaded. From free-play slots and social roulette games to real-money poker rooms and sportsbooks, the mobile shop is filled with betting opportunities.
So how have apps helped to create a billion-pound industry? The one reason that stands out is variety. Mobile casino apps have developed in such a way that they don’t offer a single game, but a plethora of options. For instance, bgo has gradually increased its smorgasbord of offerings since it launched in 2012. Back then there were no live dealer games and mobile options were scant at best. Today, however, the industry has evolved and bgo hasn’t missed the train. For example, the site has more than 300 instant-play games, 80 of which can be accessed directly through the operator’s mobile app – for more info on bgo games, you can click here.
Gamers can also choose to play for free and real money. The “free” aspect of this model is crucial in this instance. Indeed, when you look across the iGaming industry, free-to-play games are a common theme. Take, for instance, Mr Smith Casino’s selection of NetEnt slots. In addition to being optimised for mobiles, spinners like Gonzo’s Quest can be played for free. Similarly, InterCasino offers “play for fun” options on its 12 different types of roulette.
The iGaming industry has certainly shown that mobile apps can be varied and engaging, but this is only possible because of the free play options. Mobile casinos always offer two versions of their top games. Indeed, the first time a player logs into an app and selects a game like Desert Treasure slots, the software will ask them if they want to play for “real” or “fun”.
In most instances, novices will choose the “fun” option because they want to get a handle on the game’s mechanics before they spend any money. This strategy is one we also see in more traditional games. A game like Clash Royale, a real-time multiplayer game that contains a series of mini-adventures in a single app, combines free play and paid-for elements.
Clash Royale is free to download, as is much of the live multiplayer action. But, in order to get more out of the game, it’s often necessary to complete an in-app purchase. However, just as it’s true in the casino world, players aren’t usually willing to spend their money without sampling the goods first.
In essence, free gaming options lead to greater interaction and, therefore, greater scope for offering a variety of games. And with virtual reality now starting to creep into the mobile industry via products like Google Daydream, operators will need a way to engage users and a virtually free world would be a great way to do it.