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While new companies are entering the market with a strong mobile presence, those with an established reputation are forced to reposition themselves after decades of physical stores and desktop websites.
Don’t worry, this side of things isn’t anything for you to worry about. Instead, your biggest concern is finding a reliable and fun casino experience among the dozens of services. While they all claim to be the best, actually deciding on the one that deserves your attention is easier said than done. With this, we’re going to break down everything you need to know in this extensive guide!
1. Introduction to the Mobile Casino World
Many years ago, the mobile phone entered the technology arena and we were excited about sending short text messages to friends and family. Suddenly, we could speak to people on the go. For a couple of decades, we packed more and more into these tiny devices until the birth of the smartphone. With iPhones and similar devices, we now have everything we could possibly want and need right in our pockets. Of course, this includes sports betting and online casinos.
While older brands are having to update, some are switching to a mobile-only approach such is the traction in this market. These days, casinos without either a responsive website or an app are doomed to fail.
Just because a casino offers a mobile experience for players, however, this by no means guarantees a positive experience. In our many years of experience, we’ve seen what can happen when a casino fails at their attempt to make their service mobile-centred. Therefore, we decided to help players, both experienced and beginners, find the mobile casino that meets their needs. You’ll see some recommendations on this page, and you can be sure of a great experience with all of them. Which one you choose is entirely dependent on what you want from a mobile casino.
2. How We Judge Mobile Casinos
With so many companies offering a mobile casino, we agree that it’s difficult to choose between them. Thankfully, we have years of experience in the market and we know what separates a fantastic service from a poor one. You give us a mobile casino in Ireland, and we’ve probably tested and played on it. We think this is important because it means that you can trust our judgement.
When reviewing mobile casinos, we consider the following aspects of the service:
Mobile Experience – Of course, this is a priority and we’ve seen everything from the sublime to the distinctly average over the years. These days, the standard is much higher (luckily for us!). When assessing this area, we need to consider whether the platform is available through a mobile browser or whether they have developed an app. Also, we appreciate that our readers use Android, iOS, and Windows devices; a good website will work with at least iOS and Android.
Licensing – If a mobile casino doesn’t have a license, it won’t get any attention on our website (it’s as simple as that!). For a mobile casino to operate in Ireland, they need a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Essentially, this says that the service operates safely and abides by all the important industry regulations.
User Interface – Have you ever been on a mobile casino that felt cluttered and was unenjoyable as a result? Don’t worry, we have too. We love online casinos that offer a clean user interface with colours that are easy on the eye, offer simple navigation, and are rewarding to use.
Reputation – Often, you can tell lots about a service just by assessing its reputation in the industry. What do the experts think about a casino? What do the customers say? If neither is positive, we’ll take this into account (the last thing we want is for you to have a negative experience on the back of our recommendation).
Games – This is where it gets interesting, and this is because the game selection of a particular service can differ from desktop to mobile. Rather than trusting what a company offers on desktop, we look at the mobile offering. Luckily, many of the biggest providers now make games accessible on mobile and this makes it easier for casinos themselves. While some only have a small percentage of games available on mobile, others will offer most of their extensive library.
Banking Methods – Recently, more banking options and new eWallets have been a by-product of the technology expansion. Therefore, it’s probably not enough for services to only offer debit and credit cards as a depositing option. As well as banking methods, we also consider withdrawal limits, fees, withdrawal times, and more.
Security – As players ourselves, we recognise the growing need for security; nobody wants to enter their bank details into a website with a risk of losing these details to a third-party. We’ll look at the terms and conditions of a casino while also reviewing independent audits and tests (this includes RNG testing).
Promotions – The welcome bonus is important, especially when casinos are all fighting for our attention, but we also value services who reward loyal players. With this in mind, we look at promotions for existing players as well as the initial bonuses for new players. As part of this, we also review any potential VIP schemes.
Customer Support – With any luck (excuse the casino-related pun), our experience will be smooth, and we won’t need the help of the platform at all. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a lucky world, and something might go wrong. When it does, it’s a relief to have a strong customer support team available. We consider when the brand is available, where they are available, and whether this support is actually any good.
Responsible Gambling – Finally, we’re staunch supporters of organisations that help problem gamblers. Consequently, we love online casinos that offer deposit limits, betting limits, time outs, self-exclusion options, and other Responsible Gambling measures. We think a good page should offer information about these measures, links to the aforementioned organisations, and other help for players.
As you can see, there’s a lot of consideration that goes into our reviews. If, after all of these factors, we think a mobile casino is good enough, you may just see their name on this page.
3. Differences Between Mobile Casinos and Physical Casinos
Every year, we see casino-goers consider the move from physical locations to an online platform. In truth, there are lots of differences between the two, and we appreciate that some people love mobile gaming while others prefer the more traditional route.
Firstly, let’s consider the ability to play on the go. When visiting a brick and mortar casino, we need to take time out of our day to make the trip. With mobile casinos, we can play whenever we get a spare moment. As long as we gamble responsibly, this means playing while in the comfort of our own home, in the gym, waiting for a bus, or wherever we desire.
Secondly, a physical casino tends to have a maximum of 100 games. On the other hand, some mobile casinos have hundreds (and even surpass 1,000). As you can imagine, physical casinos are limited in the space they have whereas online casinos have very few limitations. As long as the website will handle it, they can add new games every single day.
For the online casino, there are fewer running costs because they pay for a website for the whole of Ireland rather than several buildings. Also, they don’t need to pay for staff, maintenance costs, physical security, etc.
Thirdly, another difference that keeps people in land-based casinos is the social aspect. For many people, they like to meet people and spend time with friends in a casino. Granted, the mobile experience doesn’t exactly compare in this regard. This being said, developers are making great strides towards a more social experience with live dealer games and chat opportunities.
All in all, mobile casinos are on the rise (and it’s no surprise why). With thousands of games, the ability to switch between games in seconds, live dealer games, many different slots, and the fact that we can play on the go, mobile casinos are a fantastic option. If you still like physical casinos, there’s no reason why you can’t combine the two.
Mobile vs Desktop
While on the note of comparisons, we understand that some players will already play online. Why should you consider moving across to mobile? As we said with physical locations, there’s no need to jump ship and forget desktop entirely. Instead, you can play on both. Again, the most obvious benefit of doing so lies with the portability of mobile casinos.
Compared to desktop, another advantage is that many casinos now have apps. With this, you can unlock your phone, tap on the icon, and get playing within seconds. On a desktop, you’ll probably need to log in and sit at a laptop, so the whole process is less convenient.
For those who have stayed away from mobile because they’re worried about game selection, you’ll be glad to know that the gap between mobile and desktop is decreasing all the time. On the whole, online casinos do have more games, but most of the big providers and games are now available on mobile too.
According to many statistics, mobile players now outweigh desktop players, and this is important to remember. In the coming years, the investment of casinos will only go in this direction, and the experience will improve even further.
4. Popular Mobile Game Providers
In Ireland, we have some top providers who provide their games to casinos across the country (or across the internet). With HTML5 technology, it means that these games are playable on mobile as well as desktop. Despite the smaller screen, mobile can now provide an immersive experience with advanced graphics and excellent sound effects. Below are some of the most popular providers in this niche:
- NetEnt – Based in Sweden, Net Entertainment has been a leading name in the casino world for several years. You might be familiar with Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst, or Guns N’ Roses.
- Microgaming – Like NetEnt, Microgaming have offered games to casino players for many years and are now known for Thunderstruck, Immortal Romance, Mega Moolah, and others.
- Playtech – Known for themed games, one of the most successful games to come from this provider is Age of Gods.
- IGT – As a land-based provider, IGT has built a solid reputation for mobile players. For example, you might enjoy CSI, Cleopatra, or Cats.
- Bally – Finally, Bally are responsible for the Monopoly slot games in addition to Anchorman.
Other big names for mobile games include iSoftBet, WMS, and Red Tiger Gaming. If you’ve played on a mobile casino before, you have probably come across these names. For new players, seeing these brand logos next to a game is always a sign of fun to come.
5. Mobile Casino Apps
How could we talk about mobile casinos without mentioning apps? Rather than using a web browser, this allows you to download an app, log into your account, and access games inside seconds. These days, it doesn’t really matter what device you have because developers are making the app available across all platforms. For example, the most common choice is Android and iOS. For mobile casinos, they know that these are the two major platforms and cover a wide portion of the market.
Depending on your device, you’ll either go to the App Store or Google Play Store to access casino apps. In our experience, the process is much smoother with iOS because the Google Play Store has been notoriously hard to crack for casinos. Even now, the store doesn’t always accept apps from casinos. Instead, the company needs to create an APK and make this available from the website. From here, you can generate an app for your device.
Despite these initial problems, the experience inside the apps is very similar. Normally, differences between Android and iOS casino apps come with additional features rather than the casino itself. For example, some players prefer the Touch ID system available with Apple devices. Elsewhere, there’s a difference in how players deposit funds due to the Apple Pay and Google Pay systems.
Aside from these two major names, perhaps the third alternative would be Windows, but these apps are much rarer. If you have a Windows device, we recommend looking for an app. If you don’t find one, it means the casino has optimised the website to be enjoyed on a mobile browser. This might not seem as enticing, but there’s no reason why a browser gaming session can’t be as enjoyable as an app session.
On the whole, it might take a while to get used to playing on an app. Compared to a website, there are some differences. For example, players often note the extra stability and usability on an app. On the other hand, some say that it’s annoying to have yet another app on their device. If you have similar concerns, there’s nothing wrong with just playing on a mobile browser – the choice is yours. Why not try both and see which you prefer?
6. An Industry Switch to Mobile Games
At this point, we want to ease concerns that many players have, and it regards the number of mobile games available these days. We’ve touched on it previously, but it deserves a full explanation because we know some players still avoid mobile because of past problems. Indeed, around 40% of online casino games were once available on mobile platforms. However, this has steadily increased and now sits at around 80%. Ultimately, this means that four in five casino games are now ported across to the mobile platform.
Although this is something that’s improving, it’s also something to which we pay attention when reviewing mobile casinos. If the percentage drops below 80%, this is a problem, and we will bear this in mind when comparing with other services.
As mobile phones continue to dominate, we’re seeing two major trends in the industry:
- Mobile casinos offering more games than online casinos
- Development of mobile-first games
Originally, companies would add games to the online casino and then adapt them for mobile. Now, we’re witnessing a complete switch with games made for mobile and then adapted for online. If you’re waiting on a favourite game to get converted to mobile, please note that not all games will go through this process; providers only tend to adapt the most popular games.
With providers like Microgaming and NetEnt, they have hundreds of games between them. While some get lots of attention, others play a background role and don’t have many players at all. Therefore, you can probably imagine that the providers will use their resources adapting the most popular games first. Generally speaking, the ones left behind are older, use older graphics, and just wouldn’t benefit from an update and adaptation for mobile.
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The Role of HTML5
You might think that providers have found it difficult adapting to the world of mobile, but everything has been made a whole lot easier with the introduction of HTML5. Essentially, this technology means that they can develop a game for one system while also making it available on different devices and software.
Additionally, you may have noticed a switch to so-called one-finger gaming. When the move to mobile became apparent, there were concerns in the industry that games would become too complex for such a small screen. There were grand ideas of mobile phones becoming games consoles which would push some people away and draw others in closer. In reality, we now play mobile casinos games just as easily as sending a text message.
When moving across from a desktop computer to a mobile, the games might look the same, but a close look will actually reveal some minuscule changes to make the playing experience easier and more enjoyable.
7. Mobile Casino Bonuses
Just because you’re playing on mobile, this doesn’t mean you won’t have access to some fantastic bonuses. In truth, most casinos provide the same bonuses on mobile as they do with an online casino. Of course, the main difference is the games available on mobile. Therefore, it’s even more important than normal to pay attention to the terms and conditions and learn what games do and don’t contribute to clearing the bonus.
Often, the experience starts with a welcome bonus. As the name suggests, this is a reward you get for signing up with a specific casino. Depending on the casino in question, this might come in the shape of a matched deposit bonus, free spins, or something else entirely. With a 100% matched deposit bonus, the casino will match your first deposit up to a certain value. Elsewhere, the casino might reward you with free spins to be used on a slot game.
In both cases, you may have to play through the bonus amounts a certain number of times before it’s eligible for withdrawal, and this is called a wagering requirement. If this is set to 35x, for example, you won’t be able to withdraw until you have played through the bonus amount 35 times.
When utilising a bonus, the terms and conditions will lay out everything you need to do to claim this offer. If you want to prevent a mistake and missing out on the bonus, follow these instructions carefully. For example, the bonus might void if you deposit using a specific method (normally Neteller or Skrill). Alternatively, you might fail to meet the minimum deposit amount.
Popular bonuses for mobile players include:
- Free Spins – Sometimes referred to as a bonus spin, these are normally a welcome bonus but can also come from a reload bonus (depositing into an existing account). If you get free spins as a welcome bonus, this is an ideal way to try games without using (and risking!) your own money.
- No Deposit Bonus – Often considered the holy grail of casino promotions, this bonus allows players to enjoy free money or free spins without actually depositing. Again, you can try games and potentially walk away with a profit but this time without depositing at all.
- Cashbacks – Whenever you place money on a game, some casinos will offer loyalty points. Over time, these points accumulate, and you later convert them into cashback rewards.
- Mobile Exclusives – After going to all the effort of creating an app or optimising a website for mobile, it’s natural for companies to want people to flock there. With this in mind, you might see bonuses that are exclusive to mobile players.
For those who love bonuses and want to enjoy plenty of deals and offers when playing on mobile, we highly recommend choosing a casino with a VIP scheme. While some casinos allow players to earn loyalty points and trade these in for prizes, others will go further with a tiered VIP scheme to reward high rollers and frequent players.
Casinos use variations of the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum system to keep tabs on those who play the most (in terms of wagers and time). Starting at the bottom, you can work your way to the top enjoying the many benefits on offer along the way. For example, this could include free spins, invitations to special events, better customer service, prizes, personal account managers, and bonuses.
8. Mobile Casino Banking Methods
Earlier, we mentioned that those who tried mobile casinos in the early days may have been disappointed by the lack of games. Also, another area that lacked was the banking methods available for players. We’ve seen that game selection has improved, and the same can be said for banking methods too. The days of limited depositing and withdrawal options are gone because we now have a choice.
Especially for mobile players, the biggest options are MasterCard and Visa (we’re sure these will always be the two most popular services). Next, and providing stout competition, we find eWallets. When playing on Android or iOS, it’s possible to pay using Apple Pay or Google Pay. If you load your bank cards into these apps, you can then use this payment system without directly entering your bank details onto the casino. Other popular eWallets include Neteller, PayPal, and Skrill.
To make things even easier, we’re also seeing the rise of pay by phone casinos. After confirming the deposit through SMS, you can put money into your account using your phone bill. If you’re worried about security, this is a great way to go because you’re charged to a phone bill rather than a card or eWallet. Unfortunately, you’ll have to keep in mind the low deposit limit and the fact that withdrawals will need a second banking method.
If you choose a pay by phone solution, Payforit and Boku are the two biggest names in the market, and this is why most mobile casinos offer one of these two solutions. When doing this, you should have the option to deposit whether you’re on EE, Vodafone, O2, Three, or another name.
Lastly, you might take an interest in one of the niche banking methods such as bitcoin and cryptocurrency. We understand that this is a less common banking method for most mobile casino players, but it’s still worth a mention.
9. Key Features of a Mobile Casino Game
Every week, more and more mobile games are added to casinos, and this makes it difficult to settle on one you like. Below, we’ve broken down the core aspects of a mobile casino game. What separates the excellent from the average?
Progressive Jackpots – When looking for the best mobile casino games, it’s hard to ignore the pull of progressive jackpots. The jackpot accumulates over time and is run by the provider (this is an important detail because it means the jackpot can build over several mobile casinos!). Eventually, the jackpot will drop, and somebody will walk away with a life-changing amount of money.
Return to Player (RTP) Percentage – If you haven’t seen this statistic before, it’s something you need to pay attention to in the future. On the whole, a good percentage for a casino game is anything above 96%; this means that 96c of every €1 is returned to the player. Of course, the casino always wins (otherwise they wouldn’t make a profit and we would lose them). However, you want a high RTP percentage because this increases your chance of winning. If possible, stick with games above 98%.
Where can you find this information? It all depends because some casinos will list the RTP percentages on a page on the website or app. If you don’t see a link to such a page, head over to the provider websites because they WILL show all percentages for their games.
Graphics/Sound – Just because you’re playing on a mobile, this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the immersive experience you enjoy so much on desktop or in a land-based casino. Playing casino games is all about the experience, so choose a game that has advanced graphics and sounds. There’s something to playing a game with a story rather than repeatedly pressing the same buttons.
Bonus Rounds – For those who enjoy slot games, we hope you’ll agree that games are always better when they have bonus rounds. With this setup, the game has more longevity and is more engaging. With this, you’re not only enjoying the game but you’re also racking up bonus funds; we’re rewarded for choosing the slot game.
Theme – Finally, we think another important feature of a mobile casino game comes with themes. While some will revolve around Ancient Egypt, others will follow the theme of a sport. With the right theme, you can have so much more fun playing casino games. Whether it’s a sport or a TV show, it allows for a niche experience.
10. Choosing a Mobile Casino
Let’s bring everything together and talk about how you can choose a mobile casino that gets you excited just as much as an online or land-based casino. Keep the following in mind and you won’t go far wrong:
Research and Use Resources
Firstly, we praise you for reading our guide because it means you’re willing to research and learn about mobile casinos. On this page, in particular, you’ll find a list of the most popular and recommended mobile casinos. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of betting websites and casinos so that you don’t have to. When you see a casino in our list, it means that the service has been tested and reviewed (extensively!). Why not bookmark this page and come back whenever you need help, or you want expert views on a specific mobile casino?
Design and Interface
Next, what sort of design and interface do you enjoy? For those with experience, you’ll know what you do and don’t like when playing on a casino. Therefore, you can take this knowledge forward when choosing a new service. If you lack experience and have never tried a mobile casino before, we recommend playing on a couple and learning the features you like most. With our recommendations, you’re sure of a clean experience with simple navigation and fun features.
We hinted at your needs in the previous tip, but this is THE most important requirement of all. In our testing and reviewing of apps and websites, we can only do so much. Ultimately, the one you choose comes down to YOUR needs. Don’t just follow the recommendations of others blindly, think about what YOU want from a platform and find a service that matches these needs.
What games do you want to play? What providers do you like most? Which banking methods are the most important? What promotions do you want? Do you want an app or are you happy with an optimised mobile website? Do you play on iOS, Android, or something else altogether? Using our list as a starting point, narrow down the names based on what you need. From here, you’ll leave the very best mobile casinos.
Every year, the mobile casino market takes new strides forward. With more games and more accessibility than ever, now could be the time to switch to mobile (if you haven’t already!). You can play on the go, use an app, and even socialise through the live dealer games. In terms of payment methods, you can even pay through your phone bill as long as you don’t want to deposit more than €30.
Bookmark this page to your favourites now and find the mobile casino that meets your needs. Good luck and have fun!