Online gambling is a mobile-first business. Today, smartphones (and, to a very small extent, tablets) are the devices players use to access online casinos. And casinos are happy to comply with increasingly mobile-friendly platforms and accessible apps.
However, not all offer their players access to the same type of apps. While some will invest the time and money into a native iPhone or Android casino, others use a simple, Webview-based solution. Why is that, and what are the advantages of either of these solutions?
Restrictions and Policies
IOS and Android dominate the mobile app landscape. While iOS holds sway in the US and a few other regions, Android has a broader reach globally. These platforms have distinct policies regarding gambling apps, varying from country to country. For instance, the App Store might allow casino apps in certain jurisdictions where the Play Store does not. These regulatory environments determine whether a casino opts for a native app or a Webview solution.
Region and Target Audience
For casinos, the goal is to provide a seamless and secure user experience and to comply with local rules and regulations. They can’t provide native apps listed in app marketplaces in all jurisdictions due to the abovementioned restrictions.
On the other hand, a native app downloadable directly from their site might not always be the best strategy. Such installations require users to enable permissions for “unknown sources,” a practice seen as a security risk.
To circumvent this hurdle, many casinos prefer Webview apps. These browser-based solutions offer a compromise. They allow users to access services without the need for direct downloads. At the same time, they offer quick and easy access to the casino’s services.
Native vs. WebView: Pros and Cons
- Optimized Performance: Native apps are designed specifically for the platform they run on.
- Access to Device Features: They can use device hardware and software like biometrics.
- Security: Generally, native apps are more secure than Webview solutions
- Development Cost: Building and maintaining native apps can be expensive and time-consuming.
- App Store Approval: Getting listed on the App Store or Play Store requires adherence to strict guidelines
- Updates: Each update must go through the app store approval process again. This can delay critical fixes or improvements.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: A single Webview app can run on iOS and Android. This reduces the development and maintenance costs.
- Ease of Updates: Updates can be deployed directly on the server. This means that they can reach every user instantly.
- Accessibility: Users can access the apps through a browser, eliminating the need to download and install a separate app.
- Performance: These apps might not be as smooth or responsive as native apps.
- Limited Device Feature Access: Webview apps have restricted access to device-specific features.
The choice between native apps and Webview for casino apps is not one-size-fits-all. Native apps excel in performance and user experience but come with higher costs and regulatory challenges. Webview apps offer broader compatibility and easier updates at the expense of performance. Whichever solution might better fit an individual casino is up to the operator to decide.