Gambling hasn’t always been easy. For one thing, you had to be old enough to take part in gambling activities (something that’s still true today), but more significant was the fact that you’d have to visit a physical establishment. Want to place a bet on a football match, the Grand National or on the dog races? You’d need to go to the bookies. You’d quite literally have to trek all the way into town, queue up in the shop and put your money on the counter, which meant that fewer people had access to gambling, and those who did gamble perhaps did so less frequently. However, the rise of mobile technology has changed the gambling industry completely…
Firstly, the most significant change is the availability of online gambling opportunities. Everything from bingo and slots to poker and casino games can now be played on a mobile, any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world. And, the fact that it’s mobile technology is absolutely key: without being tethered to a desktop, players can gamble from literally anywhere in the world, be it in their homes, during their commutes or in the pub with their friends. All they need to do is download a gambling app. And, unsurprisingly, there are a huge number of gambling apps available to keep pace with the explosion of the internet in the early 2000s and the evolution of smartphone technology over the last decade.
Secondly, technology has made the gambling industry more profitable. By doing away with the need to build physical casinos complete with staff, licenses and regulations, businesses can instead create online casinos at the fraction of the price of a ‘real’ one, allowing companies to save money on overheads and infrastructure in a way that simply wouldn’t have been possible in the past.
Third, mobile technology is allowing players to become better informed about gambling and the likelihood of success. Participants can use search engines to research odds and make some informed decisions for games that require skill and careful evaluation. And players can also check out the small print, terms and conditions and reputation of various gambling providers before deciding to part with their cash, which means that gambling providers need to stand head and shoulders above their competition to drum up business.
So, is all this a recipe for disaster? Well, some people think so. The increased availability, ease of access and choice available to players can pose a problem for gamblers who don’t play responsibly or are vulnerable individuals. However, it’s also true that mobile technology could help in this area, providing participants with information, advice and support to ensure that gambling is a past-time practised safely. It’s certainly possible that mobile technology could help people to access support that’s cheap, anonymous and timely if they’re struggling with gambling, and so it’s arguable that the way that mobile technology has changed the gambling industry could be a win-win for all involved.