We all need to know the best practices to stay safe on our mobile devices. Installing a malicious app could have devastating consequences, compromising our personal data and leading to other unwanted outcomes. When you are looking for a safe way to gamble on your mobile device, there are some specific guidelines to follow to ensure you remain protected. Today we take a closer look at how to gamble safely from your iOS or Android phone or tablet.
Ensure that you have the latest OS update
Do you have the latest version of iOS or Android installed on your device? While generally, you'll find that your device automatically updates to the latest version of your operating system software while you are sleeping, in some cases this isn't automatic. You can go into your device settings are check for system updates - downloading and installing the latest version of the software.
Having the latest version of your operating system (iOS or Android) is important because the latest version contains patches for all the most recently discovered security flaws in the system. Security flaws can leave your device open to being tampered with remotely.
Downloading apps outside of the official app stores
One of the first rules of downloading mobile apps is that you should never, ever, ever download apps from app stores other than the official app store from your OS provider. For iOS/Apple, this is the App Store, and for Android, it is the Google Play store. If you install an app from any other source, then you are running a much greater risk of the app that you download being malicious.
The reason for this is that both the iOS and Android app stores vet the submitted apps to the app store before they are available in the store. They check carefully for things like hidden viruses and spyware within the app. If you choose to download from another source, then you have no idea whether they scrutinize the app as carefully. Luckily, both iOS and Android protect against downloading from other sources by default - however this can be changed if you go into your settings and allow it. Just. Don't. Do. It. It is never worth the risk.
Don't use an antivirus
While this may go against your common sense, antivirus programs aren't needed on your mobile devices. So long as you are downloading apps through official channels, i.e. the Apple App Store or Google Play, then an antivirus app isn't necessary and is only going to be a hindrance. So go against your inklings and skip the antivirus.
Antivirus apps on your phone generally just slow things down, get in the way, or may even scrape your data themselves - they are just not worth the headache. Google and Apple do a good job of policing the app store, and keeping the bad guys out. While bad ads can "hijack" your browser, they can't gain access to your phone - and clearing your browser cache or using a different browser should usually do the trick if you are having issues.
Read the app permissions
Do you just blindly click on "OK" any time you got to install an app and it asks for your permission to access X on your phone or tablet? Don't. Do. That. After all, if you are downloading a casino app and it asks for permission to access your microphone, have a real think about why they would need access to your microphone. Would you need to chat with other players during play? Would you need to talk to the tech support people through the app itself, over the phone? We think not. It may just be the case that they are interested in gathering your voice data for some other reason. Nefarious, isn't it?
Of course, there are some apps that require specific permissions that may sound a little bit odd if you read them. For instance, Instagram needs access to your camera - because you are taking pictures through the app. Snapchat needs your microphone because those videos you are recording require sound.
Think carefully before just accepting all those permissions... Think about whether the app really needs access to your location, your microphone, your camera, your messages, your contacts... If the answer is no, then you might not want to download the app.
Read the third party login permissions
Many gambling apps and websites also offer you a streamlined login through one of your other accounts - maybe your Google account, your Twitter account, or your Facebook account. Once you click to sign up through this third party service it will also ask for permissions related to that account. For instance, if you are signing in through Facebook, it might ask for your contact details and your friends list. Does the app really need access to your friends list?
With these third party login permissions, you often have the chance to veto what the app has access to. The only truly required permission will be access to your public contact/profile info. The other permissions that it asks for can usually be deselected - so they won't have access to it.
The easiest way to stay safe
The easiest way to stay safe by gambling on your mobile phone is by not downloading any apps at all. "But I want to game!", you cry. Hey, don't worry, you can still gamble from your mobile device without having to download specific apps! Instead of using apps, you have the option of gaming through your device's web browser. This may be an inbuilt web browser on your device, or Safari on iOS products, or Chrome on Android products.
Using your web browser, you can head to any gambling sites on your mobile device that you would be able to access from your laptop or desktop machine. These gambling sites are generally fully interactive and responsive - meaning they have been altered specifically to allow you to play from your mobile device. You will have a range of different games to play, with play suited specifically for your mobile device and without having to download a specific app to play. There are sites offering cutting edge slots for free, full feature live casinos, and sports betting, all available without having to leave your browser. Welcome to the future, baby!
It's relatively easy to stay safe when you are gambling on your mobile device - generally safer than gambling on your laptop or desktop computer. The way that both Apple and Google have designed their app stores means that your mobile device is far less at risk of becoming compromised than your computer.
General online safety rules apply when using your mobile device for gaming - make sure that your phone or tablet has a home screen lock that is password or fingerprint protected, don't tell anyone your logins or passwords, choose secure passwords that can't be easily guessed, wipe your device memory before reselling or disposing of it (and remote wipe it if you accidentally lose the device or it is stolen), and clean out your mobile device regularly to ensure it only has what you need on it. Safety is the word when it comes to tech devices, and when you follow the right safety strategies you'll ensure that all your data remains safe and your device doesn't end up getting hijacked by attackers.
The gaming world is almost unrecognisable from what it was in the 20th century. Console and PC games are becoming less popular as more people opt to play games on their smartphones or tablets. Today, mobile games bring in nearly half of global gaming revenue - and it's set to become even more dominant as a platform over the next few years.
Avid consumers live in a world where they can access games like poker in the pub, roulette on the bus and blackjack in the office.
Blackjack is in many ways the perfect game to play on the go - as the games are short and the turnaround so quick. It's a great way to make some fast cash. Some gamblers prefer US blackjack, which offers multiple options for betting minimums and maximums - making your gambling experience even more tailored to your lifestyle and preferences. Find out more about the rules of blackjack games such as Multihand Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack or American blackjack and why it makes for a great mobile casino experience.
How did mobile gaming become such a success? Let's look at the history of this form of gaming and speculate how it could evolve into the future.
Online casino games: the early days
Today you'll see that online casinos are engaging and immersive enough to give gamers an experience that rivals anything a land-based casino can deliver - but this wasn't always the case.
The issue of who created the first online casino is largely disputed, but developer Microgaming is largely credited with building the first ever online gambling software in 1994. However, it wasn't until two years later that the first bet was accepted online.
In 1996, InterCasino opened their metaphorical internet doors and offered customers the opportunity to play 18 casino games from the comfort of their own home. It was a landmark in the industry.
Initially, online casino games represented an element of intrigue for eager players who were keen to gamble within their own environment. However, there were huge challenges to actually playing. The games were incredibly clunky and difficult to use, and the graphics were underdeveloped. At this point, it was still the case that, if you were really keen on gambling, you'd still be going to a land-based casino rather than a virtual one.
Online casinos simply weren't good enough.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges was the lack of access. Not everyone had a computer with the internet back then. The market was small and relied on a dedicated gamblers accessing online services from their desktop - a long way off the accessibility we enjoy today.
How online gaming progressed
The quality and abundance of online casinos have reflected the huge strides made in digital technology over the past two decades.
Early pioneers Microgaming along with Playtech and Net Entertainment started to improve their offerings - and more competitors started to vie for a share of this market. There were 15 online casinos in 1997, but over 200 just a year later - attributed to increased internet speeds and broadband access, particularly in the US and UK. In 1998 the global internet gambling industry brought in £834 million in revenue, and it was only going to grow from there.
As online casino gaming was getting quicker, it was also getting better. Improved graphics with more intense special effects appealed to more gamers. Add to that a broader selection of games - including slots, blackjack, poker and other casino favourites.
In addition, the UK gambling act transformed the image of online casinos. They weren't seen as a seedy, unregulated part of the internet - they were official places to game, just like land-based casinos. Plus, with the legalisation of online gambling, governments were also raking in greater tax revenue and there were more employment opportunities - so everyone was a winner. It marked a massive shift in the industry.
The move from desktop to mobile
Thanks to Steve Jobs and the gurus Apple gurus in Silicon Valley, the world is now driven by smartphones. Online casinos recognised the potential of mobile gambling and quickly developed software to bring their services to the mobile market.
These very first games allowed users to do something that had never been done before - gamble on the go. The in-built processing power of smartphones combined with their displays made the move from desktop to mobile seamless.
Again, accessibility was key to the development of mobile gaming. Improved mobile broadband across the world, phones with better processing speeds capable of handling the demands of high-quality games boosted the user experience of gambling apps - and the user numbers soon followed.
While desktop gambling sites remain popular, the mobile market has allowed betting companies to appeal to a new market of potential customers. Now developers can rake in steady revenues from players by offering in-app purchases and keeping their games free. Those punters previously put off by the exclusivity of betting shops and casinos can now make bets from their phone - anywhere, anytime.
The future of mobile casinos
One of the drawbacks of an online casino is the lack of ‘real feel' that customers get when playing online - but operators are increasingly able to challenge that with immersive gameplay that could accelerate the decline of traditional land-based casinos, which have been struggling to compete with the industry as it is in the last decade.
As ever, the industry is always looking for new ways to adapt and the most talked advancement at the moment is virtual reality. The industry's biggest developers and betting companies are investing heavily in software that will allow users to explore a completely interactive virtual casino.
Virtual Reality has seemingly been in the pipeline for the past decade, however it finally looks like taking off with the success of traditional gaming VR headsets and ‘live beyond live' casino technology on the horizon.
Another big step forward could be the relaxation of online gambling restrictions in the US. If this continues, the World Wide Web could become the new Las Vegas.