Why Play on Mobile?
So why are mobile casinos so common now? The answer, in part, can be found in the way we use the internet. Simply take a step back and consider the devices you used to watch YouTube videos, access social media, or catch up on work and school. More often than not, you were using a smartphone or a tablet.
Research has found that consumers nowadays—from New Zealand or otherwise—spend the majority of their digital media time on mobile devices. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that mobile devices will only become more common as they tend to be more accessible than traditional computers.
The online casino industry, of course, is not blind to this and has made the jump to developing mobile casino sites and games as soon as the platform became mainstream enough for commercial viability.
In most people’s eyes, mobile casinos are now just as important, if not more important than their desktop equivalent. The mobile casino gaming experience must be smooth, exciting and entirely instinctual, slotting seamlessly into the smartphone experience to which consumers have become accustomed (more of that later).
So how did we get here, and what were the technological leaps and bounds that had to be made to make mobile casinos a thing?
The History of Online Casinos
In the early days of internet casino gambling, things were a lot simpler. Online casinos at the time did not allow real money casino wagering, Internet connections were dreadfully slow and inconsistent, and the gaming experience was simplistic at best. It’s fair to say that there were a few issues that needed to be worked out.
The Internet Gains Speed and Security
In 1996, Cryptologic created InterCasino, which allowed players to transfer money securely via the internet. Once broadband was introduced, the problem of slow internet speeds was finally remedied. So, by the early 2000s, developers have the necessary capabilities to establish the first truly online casinos.
Numerous casino websites arose, as a result, the majority of which featured Flash-based games. As one of the first pioneers, Microgaming has helped to transform a relatively modest market into a multi-billion dollar business. As the internet grew in popularity, so did the number of businesses offering their services online. However, there were still a few issues with the Flash software that powered the games, and who better to bring those issues to light than Steve Jobs of Apple fame.
Flash and Steve Jobs’ Open Letter
A major technological breakthrough in online gaming occurred in the early 2000s, when most web-based casino games were created in Adobe Flash. Animated films and, of course, online casino games were made possible as a result of this.
Because of its cross-browser interoperability and interactive features, it appeared like a perfect alternative for operators wishing to shift to browser-based gameplay. Players were able to effortlessly switch between registration and gaming lobbies for the first time.
However, there were certain drawbacks. Plug-ins were necessary for the platform’s functionality in your browser of choice. Furthermore, the platform was unusable on mobile devices due to its resource-demanding and battery-draining nature.
Steve Jobs saw the Flash platform’s lack of touch capabilities, poor performance and litany of security issues, and highlighted all of them in an open letter that was widely circulated and extensively read. With the release of this letter, Jobs announced that iPhones and iPads would drop support for Flash—a critical blow to Adobe, which had a major partnership with Apple. As a result of the announcement, casino content creators and distributors experienced a significant decline in traffic and, therefore, revenue. Before concluding his scathing assessment of Flash, Steve Jobs offered an alternative in the form of HTML5.
NetEnt and the Jump to HTML5
HTML5 is a comprehensive, open-source framework that is built aimed to establish a new bar for the web experience. Building upon the foundations of HTML, HTML5 brought in new functionalities that allowed developers to create extremely polished web-based experiences just like Flash but without any of the performance or security issues. As such, all the best online casino operators had to adapt.
NetEnt was the driving force behind the rush to transition Flash-based casino games to HTML5. The corporation declared in 2012 that it will no longer be using Flash in its development moving forward—which was to be expected as they had already been using HTML5 by that point. With the success of NetEnt pokies, the transition brought a massive commercial success, it wasn’t long before the rest of the industry followed suit and left Flash behind as a relic of Internet history.
What Makes a Great Mobile Casino?
As the saying goes, “not all men are created equal.” The same goes for mobile casinos—it’s possible to have an excellent gaming experience with some games, while others fall short. Because most individuals don’t have the time or finances to try every mobile casino out there, New Zealand players turn to sites like Inside Casino (that’s us!) to find the finest mobile gambling experiences the Internet has to offer.
Generally speaking, a great online casino experience should be more than the sum of its many parts. We seek these out by reviewing mobile casinos based on several key characteristics:
Some players may not be aware of this, but most mobile casinos don’t actually develop their own games. Many of the largest ones instead host games from third-party developers, who take a license fee and a portion of the game’s revenue to support their business model. A great mobile casino should be able to offer a wide variety of games for players to test at their leisure until they find the games they like.
While mobile platforms are generally lauded for their ease of use, all of it depends on the usability of the software itself. For the mobile casino applications and platforms, we analyze, we do extensive usability testing to see how simple it is for players to find the settings, menus and games.
Safety and Security
When it comes to transactions involving actual money, it’s difficult to trust what we see and engage with on the internet. We at Inside Casino want to help ensure the safety of our Kiwi readers and players, which is why we place a lot of emphasis on ensuring the mobile casino’s payment processing platforms are not only convenient but also safe.
As we know, the online casino industry is very heavily regulated, and all of the most reputable mobile casinos are required to have licenses to operate. This, of course, is especially important for New Zealand players, as there aren’t many legal safety nets when one tries to play for real money in online casinos based outside of the country (which is a vast majority of the market). Scam casinos are unfortunately more common than one might think.
For this reason, our reviewers here at Inside Casino are especially strict with the regulatory and legal standing of all of the mobile casinos we review, and will only recommend casinos that have full legal compliance for the safety of our readers.