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With betting apps, you can take your sports betting with you wherever you go. Download the app, access the bookmaker by touching the icon on your screen, and you are there to control your account to some degree. That degree may be the ability to access every aspect of your betting account or just some aspects. Not all bookmaker apps offer the same level of access, which is why it’s important that we test those apps for you so you know what you’re getting before you download the app and consume the space on your mobile device. If an app doesn’t provide you with full functionality, the mobile website might, which means you might prefer the mobile website over the app. Then again, the app could provide mobile-only bonuses while the mobile website doesn’t. This is why it’s important for bookmaker apps to be adequately tested.
How We Test Bookmaker Apps
When we test apps, we like to take a “user-based’ approach. This means that we sign up for the app just like you would and test it. However, we are very experienced with online bookmakers, so we know about some of the very specific things to look for to ensure we report accurate information to you before you decide to download an app.
One of the first things we look for is an easily accessible link to download the app. Sometimes, a bookmaker may have a text link or operating system icon (iOS or Android) at the bottom of the website or a link at the top of the website. Clicking the link or icon leads to a page that has a link to the respective app store or a direct link to the file. iOS for Apple devices and Android are the two most common operating systems apps are designed for. Occasionally, we find an app that will work with Windows or Blackberry devices, but it is rare.
Once we download the app, we look at accessibility inside the app. We want to see if it’s easy to register for an account from the app if we haven’t already registered, and we check to see if deposits and withdrawals can be conducted from the app. We also see if access is given to all betting opportunities, if there are any mobile-only promotions, and if there are any welcome bonuses. If there are no welcome bonuses, then we go deeper to see what makes the bookmaker and its app so special that it can sustain itself without using a welcome bonus to lure in its customers. Sometimes, a bookmaker takes low commissions or gives better odds in lieu of a welcome offer.
Android – Ensuring a Successful Download
It’s important to note that Android apps aren’t always available in the Google Play store. This has to do with Google Play’s rules in certain countries as they pertain to betting applications. In this case, the bookmaker will make a link available for Android users so the file can be downloaded directly to the device. When this is the case, it’s important for an Android user to go to the security menu in the device settings and check “unknown sources” and then “OK.” You may then be prompted to select “Trust.” This doesn’t compromise the security of your device. Instead, it allows you to download applications from locations other than Google Play. It is ideal for you to take this step before downloading the app. Once the app is downloaded, you may need to open the file from your downloads folder to finish the installation.
App Usability – The Key to the User Experience
Usability is another extremely important aspect that we evaluate. If an app isn’t intuitive, it can result in a very poor user experience. If you have ever downloaded a bookmaker app, opened it, and had no idea what to do next, then you have dealt with an app that isn’t very user-friendly.
The characteristics of a user-friendly app are easily accessible menus, links that work, a clear listing of sporting events, a promotions section that’s easy to find, and an account screen that doesn’t take multiple steps to access. You should be able to surf the app and understand it in a matter of minutes so you can start placing your bets.
We’ve also found apps that allow live in-play bets. This is a feature that is very important to many players and it is a feature that must be accessed and executed very easily.
The most common devices supported by mobile betting apps are the Apple iPhone and iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, Windows mobile devices, and Blackberries. Most mobile websites also support these devices. If you have an operating system other than these, you won’t be able to download the app and it’s possible that the mobile website won’t be accessible either. There are some bookmakers whose mobile websites aren’t compatible with some devices.
Types of Mobile Betting Apps
In our many betting app comparisons, we have identified different types of mobile betting apps. There is a native app that is accessed by app stores like Google Play or Apple’s App Store (iTunes). These apps are developed specifically for the platform they are used on and can take full advantage of the device’s features. A native app can also use the device’s notification system so you are notified of certain changes that occur. In a betting app, this means that you can be notified when a certain event is available or when a specific action should be taken as a live in-play bet.
The second type of mobile betting app is the mobile web app. This isn’t a real application, but they are websites that look and feel like a native app without being used as one. This is the mobile website that you access in your mobile device’s browser and what many mobile users not using the iOS or Android operating systems must turn to. However, iOS and Android users will use the mobile website if they feel the mobile app doesn’t offer the features they want or they don’t want to consume space on the device with a download. If you choose to use the mobile website, it may be possible for you to create a bookmark to the page, which will install that bookmark on the home screen of your mobile device. Some bookmakers don’t have mobile apps anyway, so they push their mobile websites instead.
The third type of mobile betting app is the hybrid app. This is essentially a mobile web app that has a presence in an app store. Bookmakers do this to reduce their development costs. They simply use what they already have as their mobile website and wrap it up as an app. This means this type of app can still have features, such as push notifications, so you receive the notifications you want from the app.
As we have tested these types of apps, we have found pros and cons. For instance, the push notifications are a major pro of the native and hybrid apps. However, not all native apps have the full functionality of the website. There may be limited betting opportunities, or the apps may only be mobile guides that you can use to enhance the experience on your computer or the mobile website. Fortunately, there are a lot of native apps out there that give you access to everything. You can do everything in the app that you can do on the desktop or mobile website.
The mobile web apps, or mobile websites, offer everything the desktop websites have to offer. A mobile website is simply a responsive version of the desktop website so that it fits your mobile device’s screen. While this is great and the ability to create a shortcut on your mobile device’s home screen is there, you can’t usually use app-only promotions on the mobile website. Then again, some bookmakers don’t have app-only promotions anyway or native apps at all.
The hybrid apps we have tested are very much like the native apps. All in all, we have found that between these three types of apps, there are three styles and they are the fully functional apps, partially functional apps, and guide apps. The fully functional apps have everything you need, the partially functional apps limit your betting opportunities and/or account access, and the guide apps are simply like digital guidebooks that can improve your game.
The ability to make deposits and withdrawals via the app is also very important. With more punters betting while on meal breaks at work or sitting on a beach halfway across the world from their home, having full control begins and ends with the ability to manage the money. This is why making deposits and withdrawals are among the first things we evaluate when testing an app.
The most common deposit methods accepted by bookmakers are credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club), debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Visa Electron), bank transfer, and any of the many eWallets that are out there. However, there are times the app will limit the number of methods you can use. The website may allow you to use eWallets but the app may only allow credit cards or vice versa. This is mostly due to security reasons or the preferences of the bookmakers.
Just like on the website, making a deposit using the app will place the money in your account immediately, unless you opt to make a deposit using bank transfer or wire transfer. When it’s time to withdraw, you may be required to withdraw using the same method you used to make your deposit. Something we have found is that you may want to deposit using a method other than MasterCard when using your mobile. Due to security restrictions by MasterCard, it may not be possible to initiate a withdrawal to your card from the mobile device. It’s not impossible to make your withdrawal, but you may be able to eliminate some steps that could lengthen the withdrawal process.
Mobile Betting – Why Is it so Popular?
Because of the improved accessibility afforded to users by sports betting apps, popularity is exploding. This is why it is more important than ever for bookmakers to have a strong mobile presence – they may be judged by the quality of their native app or mobile website. In other words, the app can be the make or break of whether a user is retained once they register. People are constantly using their smartphones and tablets throughout the day, so it only makes sense for bookmakers to cater to this audience.
In fact, some bookmakers are so on top of their mobile game that they are constantly releasing mobile products that enhance the mobile betting experience. When one makes an improvement, others follow so they can maintain their competitive edge. This competition has resulted in some rather outstanding apps on the market and that has taken our testing methods to depths that are much deeper than they were a couple of years ago. These releases also get the attention of punters.
Take Paddy Power, for instance. They were the first to institute one-touch live in-play betting within their app, but they certainly weren’t the last. However, they opened a new door in 2017 by developing a Facebook chatbot that allows users to place bets by messaging the bot via Facebook Messenger. Facebook Messenger bots that place bets for people using the funds already in their account is another step that is pushing market growth because it simplifies sports betting even more than the apps themselves.
Another reason why mobile betting has grown in popularity is because of the obvious: sports betting is a way to earn money. Being able to do so on the go is extremely appealing to punters. There’s no more having to go to a bet shop or use just a computer. Whether using the mobile app or mobile website, a user can place bets when they feel like it rather than having to wait. We live in an age of instant gratification, so it’s important to give people what they want when they want it and that is something we also test. We want to ensure that the app’s delivery is fast. We know that if a person has to spend too much time achieving what they set out to do, interest will be lost.
Overall, the popularity of mobile betting has to do with freedom, control, the ability to live stream when the app allows, additional bonuses when available, and notifications that give you live match updates so you know where you stand. Most of all, it’s about spontaneity and convenience.
- Is it safe to use a betting app?
Apps belonging to reputable sportsbooks are safe. We test apps so that you have the information you need to do the proper research on what will work best for you. If the app isn’t by a reputable bookmaker and it’s not secure, we will say so. Our goal is to keep you from finding yourself on a site that isn’t trustworthy.
- How do I get started with mobile sports betting?
You must first decide which sports betting site you want to do business with. It’s good to do a little homework if you’ve never done this before. Look at promotions, app accessibility, how much access the app gives you to your account, the minimum deposit, payment methods, and withdrawal policies. Some sportsbooks will let you test the site and app before you make a deposit. When you’re new, this may be a good bet for you. If you’re experienced, then you have an idea of what you’re looking for.
- How easy is it to move money via sports betting app?
When moving money with the app is important to you, this is one of the first things you should evaluate. Make sure you can make deposits and withdrawals using the app. If you can, check the deposit and withdrawal policies. You may live in a location where you can’t make a withdrawal to your MasterCard due to their policies about gambling winnings. Whether this will be an issue or not is usually stated in the terms and conditions.
- Should I try more than one app at a time?
It’s fine if you want to do a betting apps comparison before you commit to one. Then again, you may find more than one that you like and stick to all of them. There is no rule that says you can’t try more than one app at a time. There are many experienced players out there that don’t commit to just one sportsbook because of how one can be so different from another.
- Should I download an app just for the bonus?
Bonuses are nice, but they shouldn’t be the only reason why you download an app. It’s good to compare bonuses to find one that you like, but you must also weigh all the benefits. For example, one app may have an app-only bonus. However, another may have better odds than most bookmakers in the industry. This means that the benefits of better odds could outweigh the benefits of the bonus. Always look at the bonus’s wagering requirements to see if it is possible to cash out your winnings based on your playing style or budget.