Whilst desktop betting has slowed (3.7% growth between 2013 & 2014), mobile bets grew by a huge 27.9% in the same period. And the trend is expected to continue, with industry experts estimating nearly 165 million people will be place bets, visit mobile casinos or buy lottery tickets on their smartphones by 2018.
But what’s driving this growth? It's mainly down to a simplified, mobile specific user experience. And mobile is all about convenience. A recent study showed that 79% of 18-44 year olds have their phone with them 22 hours a day, making it hard to deny the constant opportunity for this market to be always online and always gaming. But speed is also key, as mobile interactions tend to be shorter than their desktop equivalent - perfectly suited to the fast-paced gambling environment.
Many organisations recognise this trend and prioritise a mobile-first customer experience. A simple mobile version of a desktop site no longer does the trick. In fact, if you look at William Hill, with its sports-specific apps targeted user experience, it's easy to see the high benchmark and changed priorities.
Payment is central to mobile channel growth. Users want convenience, and thanks to the likes of Uber, consumers now expect it as the norm. To compete, payment needs to be 'invisible', so as not to distract from their gambling enjoyment. It's not all change and progress, however, as Gamers can be reluctant to move away from traditional payment methods because of uncertainty and fears over security.
As a result, adoption of new products has been slow, operators remain unsure of which payments approach to take and it’s becoming even harder for operators to predict consumer behaviour.
It’s no question that online gambling merchants have pioneered the mobile user-experience, and with the medium expected to grow, we’ll surely see some amazing innovations in the coming years.