|Europe has embraced mobile communications technology far more than the US, so the success of mobile gambling – “m-gambling” comes as no surprise. Europe is proving a hot market for hardware, software and phone companies as Europeans use SMS (short messaging service, or text messaging) technology to gamble on the go.|
The mobile gambling market is currently worth an estimated annual $50 million and is expected to surge in the coming years, said Robin Bosworth, an analyst with the UK-based telecoms consultancy Schema. The gambling company and the mobile operator typically split revenues.
Text messaging is the key to the growth of m-gambling: the immediacy of texting is a natural conduit for placing real-time bets, such as in-game sports betting. Siemens has tested 'dynamic betting' on horse racing, ski jumping, soccer and other sports. Bettors place bets for around $3, then instantly receives a message with the new odds, which are updated every second. The player is then invited to bet yet again.
Siemens is backing a German m-gambling software startup, Scaraboo, while Orange UK gives UK betting companies access to its customer network.
M-gaming also points to a workaround for online gambling in the US: one of the concerns cited by the anti-gambling lobby in the US is that it would be impossible to authenticate where gamblers are when they visit Internet gambling sites, thereby breaching rules about interstate gambling. With the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) available on next-generation mobile phones, this would no longer be an issue.