Will Smartphone Gambling Ever Die?

By in Casino & Gaming on
5 Minute Read
Smartphone Gambling

Smartphones are definitely the most popular gambling devices today. Millions of people place wagers through their phones every day.

Therefore, it seems as if smartphone gambling is poised to be the most popular way to make bets for years to come. But will people ever get tired of wagering through their phones and rely on other devices?

It’s certainly possible when considering that technology is always changing. After all, virtual reality and holographic computing are becoming more notable.

Are they popular enough to eventually supplant phones as the prime gambling devices, though? I’ll discuss this matter by looking at how smartphones became so popular in online gambling along with technologies that could challenge phone supremacy.

The Boom of Smartphone Gambling

Up until the mid-1990s, the only gambling option that people had was to visit a land-based establishment.

If they wanted to play casino games, they had to visit a brick and mortar casino. Assuming they wanted to play poker hands, they needed to go to the nearest poker room. If they wished to place sports bets, they’d hit up the nearest bookmaker.

This situation all changed, though, in the mid-1990s. By this point, personal computers and (dialup) internet connections became more common.

Around the same time, online gambling sites became a feasible option. These sites were, and are still, a popular way to make bets from home. But the problem, though, is that people had to be chained to a desktop.

Laptop computers help solve this problem to some degree. One could take their laptop and gamble at a café or wherever else they found wireless internet.

But laptops were only a slight upgrade over the status quo. Although they’re much more portable than desktops, a laptop is still difficult to lug around.

Luckily, smartphones came about in 2007. The smartphone was a huge upgrade over regular mobile phones at the time when it came to gambling. They allowed casino games to run at a faster speed and with better graphics.

Like any new technology, though, these phones needed some time before taking off in the consumer market. But by the mid-2000s, the majority of gamblers were using phones to place wagers.

People began realizing that playing casino games, enjoying poker hands, and making sports bets is much easier with a mobile device. Just like gamblers today, they could enjoy gambling from anywhere at any time and simply stuff phones in their pockets afterward.

Phones Currently Dominate the Betting Market

Nothing has changed from the mid-2000s until now regarding gambling on smartphones. In fact, many people exclusively gamble through their phone.

Moreover, many people own phones over any other device. More than $1.51 billion smartphones sold in 2019.

Again, portability is a big reason why numerous people buy phones and gamble with them. But the universal usage of phones is another huge reason why they’re such popular devices.

Most people no longer sit down to their computer and send emails, make social media posts, or complete online purchases. Instead, they do all of this through a phone.

Given that so many people rely on these devices for everything else, it’s only natural that they’ll gamble with them too. Until something better comes along, this trend will likely continue.

What Makes Smartphone Gambling So Great?

I’ve covered some of the advantages that smartphones offer. Now, though, I’ll get into the specifics of what makes these devices so great for placing bets.

Very Portable

Chances are, you’ve never thought of taking a desktop computer on the road with you to gamble. These days, you probably don’t even consider doing so with a laptop.

Smartphones give you all of the internet capabilities of laptops and desktops. They boast the added bonus of fitting in your hand or pocket.

You don’t have to worry about where you’re going to store a phone after finishing a gambling session. You also don’t need a special bag for transporting it either.

Larger Phones

The big advantage that computers have over smartphones for gambling and other purposes is their larger screens. The typical computer features a screen that measures 21 inches.

Older phones were once much, much smaller than Macs and PCs. The first iPhones, for example, only offered at a four-inch screen.

But things have changed in this regard today. Modern iPhones and Samsung Galaxies feature 5.5-inch screens on average.

These displays still don’t quite measure up to what computers offer. But they make using a phone more worthwhile for betting purposes.

Same Game Selection as PCs

Up until several years ago, online casinos offered a vastly smaller game selection to mobile customers. They might feature 300 games for PC/Mac users, for example, and only 20 to 30 games for mobile players.

This aspect was a huge downside for anybody who wanted to gamble through a phone or tablet. Luckily, casinos have changed greatly in this regard.

Nowadays, you don’t need to worry about having a much smaller selection as a mobile gambler. Instead, you can look forward to an equal number of games when moving from your computer to a smartphone.

Universal Usage

Phones are far from being exclusive to gamblers. In fact, these devices are used for much more than just playing casino games and making sports bets.

Some people use their phones to do just about anything. They do everything from make Facebook posts to order pizzas through their devices.

Therefore, when you buy a smartphone, you’re not just getting something to use at gambling sites. Instead, you’re purchasing a device that’s a jack of all trades.

Is Any Other Technology on the Rise?

You can see why so many people like using smartphones to make bets. However, other technologies also have the potential to take a large bite out of the internet gambling market.

First off, virtual reality headsets are slowly becoming more and more adopted. Major tech companies like Google, Samsung, and Facebook are investing significant amounts of money into this space.

VR headsets aren’t flying off the shelves at the same rate as smartphones. However, 7 million headsets were sold in 2019. Virtual reality headsets still have quite a ways to go before usurping smartphones as the dominant gambling device. But they’re inching closer to becoming a mainstream product.

The great thing about VR headsets is that they can create an entirely new experience. Rather than just watching the reels spinning through a screen, you can feel like they’re spinning right in front of your face.

VR tech also transports you to new places. For instance, a certain program might put your blackjack table right next to the Caribbean Sea.

Holographic computers represent another technology to watch in the gambling space. These devices let you project a large computer screen so that you have a bigger display than a smartphone.

The promise is that these devices will also be much more portable than a standard computer. They might even be smaller than smartphone someday.

Does Any of This Tech Really Threaten Smartphones?

Virtual reality is more feasible than holographic computers at the moment. It’s actually here and available to the consumer market.

However, this isn’t the first time that VR has experienced a rise. Companies were experimenting with and trying to sell headsets back in the 1990s.

Again, virtual reality gambling does offer more experiences than smartphone gambling. The question, though, is if it will actually take off this time around.

Holographic computers, meanwhile, have a much longer road to adoption. In fact, Microsoft and other companies that are working on these devices are still trying to produce consumer-ready products.

One day, holographic devices will be popular among consumers. For now, though, they still need much more development before they’re ready to become a significant part of gambling and other industries.


Smartphones still appear essential to the online gambling market. Many people use their phones to gamble with among many other purposes.

That said, phones will remain the dominant betting devices for years to come. But another technology will supplant them someday.

After all, the tech world never stays still and continues evolving. Something is bound to become the new gambling device of choice.

Whether that will involve VR headsets or holographic computers remains to be seen. Neither technology is highly popular in the consumer market yet.

Again, though, something is going to become bigger than smartphones for gambling purposes. It’s just so hard to tell at this point due to how much phones overshadow everything else right now.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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