By 2018 gaming on mobile devices is expected to account for almost half of all interactive gambling. This means that over 164 million people will place a bet, visit a mobile casino or buy a lottery ticket on their mobile device in 2018 [source: H2 Gambling Capital – Nov 2013].
This year has already seen some of the most prestigious national and international sporting events: the World Cup, Wimbledon, The Grand National and Royal Ascot to name just a few. With this inevitable rise in gaming activity we are seeing a significant shift to digital betting as race goers and fans at home enjoy the introduction of innovations such as free bets and in-game odds, all easily available to them from their laptop or mobile devices. During Royal Ascot, for example, Skrill examined exactly how people were choosing to gamble. 44% of those surveyed opted to bet online and 25% via a mobile app. It’s not just horse racing but other sports too. During the World Cup nearly a third of UK adults were planning on placing a bet and almost half of those would do so online. So why has the nature of gambling changed, and what else can we expect from this increasingly competitive industry?
From my perspective, the biggest driver of behaviour from physical to digital is convenience and the demand from tech-savvy consumers who want to be able to place a bet wherever and whenever they want. Knowing that speed and user experience is the essence of gambling, huge improvements have been made in this area, giving consumers the confidence to switch their gambling behaviour to mobile through the introduction of mobile apps and accounts. This is why it should come as no surprise that almost a quarter of betting is done via a mobile app. Simply put, it’s the hardware we use on a day-to-day basis and it’s the hardware that will lead the future in betting.
In light of this, any new product or service being introduced to the gaming market needs to deliver the same level of customer experience across all devices, and it’s here where I think we’re seeing real innovation from companies who are listening to their customers and creating products that allow them to pay for things on-the-go, hassle-free.
Online gambling is instant and it’s this need for speed which isn’t necessarily answered by the traditional online payment process of entering login details, passwords etc. Our (1-Tap) system means customers only need to sign in once to enable payments with one touch. Betfred.com is one bookmarker that has recently chosen 1-Tap to enable quick and easy mobile betting, integrating the product with its mobile sportsbook. This demonstrates that in-play betting has become hugely popular thanks to the immediacy of the mobile format, and we can expect to see even more mobile offerings from bookmakers as they gain familiarity with the growing number of mobile-minded punters.
However, despite the innovations revolutionising the gambling market, one of the biggest drivers of growth is new regions opening their markets. Continued deregulation has allowed increased levels of gambling both off and online, meaning that the demand for payment providers that understand the specific regional and market conditions for each operator and offer a consultancy-led service along with innovative technology, will grow.
There will always be a place on the UK high-street for the bookmakers, but as our lives become increasingly more mobile, and operators make it easier and more convenient for their customers to bet online or via a mobile app, digital betting can only go from strength to strength. As the sporting events that we know and love roll on, it’s likely that even more people will pick up their mobile to place their bets.