The Real Casino App team has reviewed countless real money mobile gambling apps across the world. We look at a number of factors including application reliability, game selection, safety, resource usage, bonuses, and mobile banking. We then use that information to determine the best real money gambling apps in 2019. Take a look at our top rankings list below for up-to-date recommendations.
Free vs Real Money Gambling Apps
The biggest distinction between mobile gambling apps is real money and free apps. You can find both at the iTunes App Store (Apple) and Google Play Store (Android). But these two types of gaming apps differ regarding their games and how they operate.
A real money casino app offers traditional versions of games, such as baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, and slot machines. Although real money apps also offer some unique variations of these games, most of the offerings are similar to what’s seen in land-based casinos.
Real money mobile betting apps also feature the same betting and playing process to brick-and-mortar sportsbook venues. You bet an outcome of a sporting event and you earn a payout for successful bets.
Real money poker apps allow you to play live poker games like Texas Hold’em against other players for money, unlike free poker apps like Zynga Poker.
Free casino apps (a.k.a. social casinos) differ in that you don’t risk real money to win a payout. Instead, you’re given free chips and can play to accumulate accolades that’ll impress your social media friends. You can also purchase more chips with real money in order to earn achievements faster. But the obvious drawback is that you have no chance to win money back on your stake. Instead, you’re purely spending money on entertainment.
The games at free casino applications are also based on classics like blackjack, baccarat, and slots. But these games usually feature caricatured design and may have some different features from the average real money casino game.
Free casino apps also emphasize social features like chat rooms and inviting friends to play along with you. The social aspect creates competition among friends that can drive them to buy chips and get higher achievements than other members of their social circle.
Apple Store & Google Play Policies on Real Money Gambling Apps
Google Play and iTunes both treat social casino and real money gambling apps differently. These app stores are more liberal with free casino and poker apps because they don’t technically offer gambling. Instead, you can play for free and choose whether you purchase chips to earn accolades faster.
Apple and Google are stricter with real money gambling apps and only accept mobile casinos and betting apps from licensed jurisdictions.
For example, Google Play’s policy states that they only allow real money apps from France, Ireland, and the UK. Europe has many more regulated online gaming markets than this, which makes it surprising that Google accepts so few countries.
We expect this to change in the future, especially as the US continues opening up their regulated market. But for now, Google Play and the iTunes App Store are moving forward cautiously.
Mobile gambling apps vs browsers
The two options for playing mobile casino games include apps and browser-based play. Many established mobile casinos that operate in regulated markets offer apps that you can download through the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
App-based casinos offer the potential for smoother gameplay. This is especially true when dealing with mobile slots that have high-quality graphics and multiple bonus features. Real money mobile casino apps don’t take up much space on users’ smartphones and tablets either.
Browser-based casinos let you play directly through a web browser without downloading an app. This is good from a convenience perspective because you don’t have to download anything. Furthermore, you can try games before committing to the app. The downside of a browser-based lobby is that it’s not designed with smartphones in mind and therefore can be more cumbersome and less intuitive than a dedicated mobile app.
Those playing mobile casino games through their browser will need either the latest version of Flash or HTML5. Flash technology has been around since the early days of the internet and is compatible with most smartphones and tablets. But one drawback to Flash is that it requires a special plug-in.
HTML5 — the fifth version of hypertext language — doesn’t require special software, because the browser performs all the tasks. Game performance is also considered better with HTML5-based games. This is a major reason why mobile casinos and players now prefer HTML5 over Flash.
What to look for when choosing a real gambling app
One good thing about real money mobile casinos and poker apps is that they offer free modes. This allows you to test out games before signing up and making a deposit.
Of course, choosing the right internet casino is about more than just trying games. You should also consider a broad range of other factors that will influence your experience. Here’s a look at the main aspects you should consider before playing for real money.
Licensing and security
Most mobile gambling apps obtain licensing from a regulated market and/or offshore jurisdiction. Regulated online gaming jurisdictions are more reputable than offshore entities. The reason why is because they’re backed by government law and have strict requirements on whom they license.
Examples of regulated licensors include the Belgium Gaming Commission, Danish Gambling Authority, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Offshore gaming jurisdictions are associated with online gambling sites that serve unregulated markets. These include jurisdictions like Belize, Costa Rica, Curacao, and Panama. These are sometimes referred to as “rubber stamp” licensors because they have light licensing requirements and don’t do anything when a player-casino dispute arises.
Google Play and iTunes don’t accept mobile gambling apps from offshore markets. Therefore, these casinos normally only offer browser-based play.
If you have a choice between gambling apps with offshore or regulated licenses, you should definitely choose the latter. These internet gaming jurisdictions are more prestigious and do a better job of policing mobile gambling sites. Therefore, your money will be safer, and you’ll have more mediation if a dispute with a casino arises.
Types of real money gambling available
When mobile gambling sites first became available in 2006, the game selection was weak compared to download (PC) casinos at the time. But this has changed greatly because online gambling sites now make it a point to offer just as many games and betting for the mobile and desktop versions.
You can enjoy all the major gaming categories through a mobile device, including sports betting, poker, real money slots, table games, and specialty games. Mobile casinos have also become compatible with live dealer gaming, where you can enjoy table games streamed directly from a land-based casino or studio.
But not everything is created equally when it comes to mobile casinos and game selection. Casinos normally offer more games through browser play than apps. This is especially true with HTML5, which gives software developers an easy solution for making games mobile compatible.
One extreme example can be seen in mobile casinos that exclusively run Microgaming software. App downloaders have access to around 100 games, which mainly consists of their latest slots titles. But browser-based players at Microgaming casinos have access to over 400 games, including the older slots titles and additional table games.
As mentioned earlier, apps have the potential to offer smoother gameplay — especially with newer games that have more features. But browser-based play has an advantage in the game selection category.
Mobile Gambling Bonuses
Mobile casinos offer the same types of bonuses as PC and Mac versions, including deposit bonuses, free spins, and free chips. Other aspects like wagering requirements and stipulations are also the same when comparing similar mobile and desktop bonuses.
Several years ago, online casinos were more apt to offer exclusive bonuses to mobile players. The reason why is because they wanted people to try the mobile version of their casino.
Nowadays, most online gaming is done through smartphones and tablets. Therefore, casinos and sportsbooks don’t offer as many exclusive bonuses through their mobile products.
But you can still find some deals that are only available to smartphone and tablet players. This includes exclusive no-deposit bonuses, free spins, and deposit bonuses. These exclusive rewards can help give certain mobile casinos an edge over others.
Mobile casino system requirements
If you want to gamble real money on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, the first requirement that you must be aware of with mobile casinos is the operating system. Android and iOS (Apple) are by far the two most common operating systems available. Windows Phone is becoming more common, but it’s still a distant third. Blackberry OS is almost nonexistent in today’s online gaming world.
Knowing the operating systems is important with regard to downloading mobile gambling apps. You can’t download an Android app if you’re using iOS or vice versa.
Another consideration before downloading apps is what version you’re using. Mobile casinos require that you have a fairly updated version of an operating system.
If the latest version of Android is 8.0 (Oreo), for example, then most gambling apps will require that you have at least Version 5.1 (Lollipop) or 6.0 (Marshmellow). Likewise, if the latest version of iOS is 11.4, then many casinos will require you to have 9.0 or newer.
Updating your device isn’t difficult. The first thing you need to do is sign into the relevant app store. Both Android and iOS users will visit the “Settings” section of their phones and select the “General” option.
Those using iOS will choose “Software Update” to find and install the newest version. Android players will select the following in order: “About phone,” “Common,” and “Software info.”
You’ll be asked to agree to the terms and enter your password before the update begins.
Anybody playing through browsers will also need to be aware of certain requirements. This means that you must have the latest version of a browser, whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. Likewise, players using Flash need the latest version.
Interface quality and functionality
The interface is another important aspect of choosing a mobile casino. And you want the interface to offer high quality in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.
Many mobile casinos go with a sleek, black interface with a few other colors mixed in. This is a good neutral look that avoids distracting players from what really matters — the games. Other casinos add color to their interface, which can turn out well when done right.
Functionality is crucial to mobile gaming, especially with smartphones. A smartphone screen isn’t as big as a tablet, making optimal design necessary so that players aren’t left scrolling vertically forever to access options. Many mobile casinos include a top menu (indicated by dashes) that allows players to quickly access desired lobby sections.
Good functionality also plays a role in helping you avoid misclicks. An interface needs to display games in a good spot and have clear buttons so that you avoid over-betting or taking the wrong action by accident.
Mobile casino game and poker load times
Nobody wants to wait 60 seconds to play every time they open a mobile casino game. And if you playing mobile poker for real money, nothing is worse than a slow connection. This is why it’s important to know the average load time for a mobile casino’s games.
Mobile casinos usually load games within 30 seconds. However, there are outliers that open games either much faster or slower.
Most casinos use multiple software providers, and the specific provider can make a difference in how quickly games load.
The good news is that once a game has downloaded all assets and loaded once, it will be much quicker to load next time you decide to run it.
Casino banking is another crucial aspect because you need a way to transfer your money to and from the site. Major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are popular deposit options. Almost everybody has one or the other, and deposits are completed instantly.
Debit cards offer another easy way to make instant deposits. These include Visa Debit, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro Solo (UK), Laser, and PostePay.
E-wallets are also heavily used for casino banking because they let you deposit and withdraw money using the same method. ClickandBuy, Neteller, PayPal, and Skrill are among the most-popular electronic wallets.
Bank transfer is another way to get money onto mobile gambling apps. The catch, though, is that you need to wait a couple of days for the funds to clear.
Obviously, more banking options are better, because this gives more players a chance to deposit and play for real money. Pay special attention to the banking section in our mobile gambling app reviews to ensure that you have a way to deposit. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time by reading through the entire review.
Another banking consideration for mobile casino apps is whether you can do banking from the app itself or if you have to visit the website. The latter is inefficient because it forces you to visit the site just to make transactions.
Security and privacy while playing on a mobile casino
Any quality mobile gambling app will provide good security so that your banking and personal information stay safe. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology is the standard for securing the link between a web server and a browser. This is crucial for making sure that all your data stays secure at browser-based mobile casinos.
Random number generators (RNGs) are also important for ensuring that casinos offer fair gaming. Most casinos have never had a major problem with ensuring that their games offer completely random and fair results. But it never hurts to have third-party lab testing approval from a group like Technical Systems Testing (TST) or eCOGRA. Any mobile casino that offers software with third-party approval gains points in our eyes.
One more important aspect in this category is a casino’s ability to make timely payouts. Nobody wants to worry about being able to withdraw their money upon request. But certain online casinos have a history of late payments, especially offshore casinos.
This is one reason why we don’t spend much time discussing offshore casinos on our website. Instead, we dedicate the majority of our time to mobile casinos in regulated jurisdictions.
Application data/resource usage
We strive to cover aspects that not every other mobile gambling app site discusses. And one of these factors is resource usage, or rather how much data you can expect to burn through with mobile gambling apps.
You don’t have to worry about resources if you’re connected to WiFi. As long as you’re at home or connected to public WiFi, you can play long hours without incurring extra data charges.
Of course, the primary reason to use mobile gambling apps is for mobility. Your network provider must offer a 4G connection as part of your plan in order to use the internet without WiFi. Unlimited data plan users must worry about how much they’re using with a gambling app.
The amount of data that you use at each casino often depends upon the games themselves. For example, a mobile casino that offers premier software like Betsoft, Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, and Quickspin tend to use more data.
The reason why is because these providers offer graphically enhanced games that are loaded with features. And while this spices up the action, it also requires more data. Compare this to providers that offer low-grade, 3-reel slots, which don’t use up as many resources, and you’ll quickly notice the difference – the latter can require as little as a few Megabytes, while the former could require tens or hundreds.
You also have to watch out for live casino games. These use a lot of data because you’re connecting to a stream, which requires high internet usage. If you enjoy live casinos and high-quality, 3D slots, you should consider upgrading your mobile plan in order to avoid the data headache.
Mobile casino game developers
As mentioned earlier, most online casinos feature games from multiple gaming providers. And this is important with regard to variety because it gives you more styles to choose from.
For example, Betsoft is known for cinematic, 3D slots with excellent graphics. Evolution Gaming is known for producing the best live casino experience. More quality gaming providers mean that you can move between totally different software styles within the same casino app.
Another factor to consider is the sheer amount of mobile games offered by each provider. Microgaming has more mobile games than any other provider with 400+ options. Playtech is another big provider, offering 200+ games to mobile casinos. NetEnt trails closely behind Playtech in terms of numbers with just under 200 mobile games.
One important thing to realize is that mobile casinos don’t always carry the full suite of a mobile provider’s games. Instead, they may only license a portion of what’s available. This makes it important to look through a casino’s entire gaming selection, rather than just which providers are represented.
How do you register an account with a mobile gambling app?
Registering with a mobile gambling app is just as easy as with desktop versions. You start by visiting the appropriate app store and downloading the desired casino, poker, or betting app. Note that the gambling app must be available in your jurisdiction in order to do this. If it isn’t, consider opening a new app store account and registering it under the required jurisdiction.
The next step is to open the app and fill out an account creation form. Here’s some of the information that you’ll need to enter during registration:
- Home address
- E-mail address
- Date of birth
- Username & password
Once you’re finished creating the account and it’s approved, you’ll be a registered member of the gambling app. You can then proceed to make a deposit or play games for free.
Also, keep in mind that gambling sites will ask you for proof of identity upon either depositing or withdrawing money. The former is to prevent the site from becoming an instrument for money laundering. The latter is to ensure that somebody else hasn’t stolen your information and is trying to take your funds.
Proof of identity often consists of scanned copies of your driver’s license and a recent utility bill. Customer service will look at your info and either approve you or ask for another scan if the picture(s) isn’t clear enough.
Tips for Protecting Yourself when Gambling for Real Money on Your Mobile Phone or Tablet
Play at Reputable Licenced Sites – We strongly advocate that you play at gambling sites that are licensed in a respected jurisdiction. Look out for the UK Gambling Commission, Isla of Man and Gibraltar logos. Malta and Kahnawake are satisfactory and Curacao license many reputable sites (like the ones we recommend)
Bet only on secure sites – Only gamble on websites that show an up to date SSL certificate. All of the gambling apps we list use SSL so you are safe.
Avoid depositing real money while on public wi-fi hotspots – Public Wi-Fi is not secure. Your financial information could be comprised if you submit it on public networks.
Update Your Mobile OS regularly – Keep your device operating system 100% up to date. Don’t ignore those operating system updates. They contain important security updates that keep hackers at bay.