Mobile application developers all around the world hope to replace virtual currencies with real money in apps, Bloomberg reports. The vanguards of mobile gambling applications development are in the UK, as the US legislation currently does not allow real money bets on mobile platforms, but British gambling laws are less strict.
Seattle-based Big Fish Games plans to introduce a version of its Big Fish Casino app with real-money bets in the UK. A partner in London is ready to process bets in the app. The game developers plan to launch the new application in the Apple App Store in September 2012.
The plan of many game developers is to build mobile casinos in UK that resemble real-life Las Vegas casinos. The industry expects a huge growth in the market, according to Juniper Research, users of smartphones and tablets are can spend up to $100 billion for gambling annually on the devices by 2017. For comparison, the market was about $20 billion in 2011, so that’s a five-fold increase in six years.
In an interview, Christopher Griffin, chief executive officer of Betable, compared the new possibilities to dawn of the online casinos in United Kingdom. “This is the biggest opportunity that game developers have had since the advent of the Internet,” the industry expert said.
Betfair Group and William Hill already announced their plans to enter the UK market. Betable alone is developing dozens mobile casino games, and several other game makers are expected to debut with real-money games this year.
Apple’s reactions to real-money gambling on its platforms are mixed. “Apple wants to keep arms’ length from this,” said Paul Thelen, CEO of Big Fish. “They don’t want to be the middleman in a gambling operation.” For example, last year Apple stopped Big Fish from operation of a subscription service that gave iPad users access to (non-real money using) video games for a monthly fee.
Big Fish could face serious competition from US social game developer Zynga, as they are lobbying to introduce real-money betting in the US market, see article: Social Game Giant Zynga Lobbies US Congress for Gambling.