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The Problem with Mobile Gambling

1 February 2011 by admin

Today, a lot of people spend more time surfing the Web on their cell phone than on their computer. iPhones and other smartphones are used to pay bills, laugh at YouTube videos, watch television, read gambling blogs at Online Casino Suite and more. Mobile gambling is increasing in popularity and many in the industry believe that in the near future, more people will play casino games on their cell phones than at home.

I even wrote a blog about it last week. Of course, there is a problem with mobile gambling that for some reason didn’t hit me until just now. With all new technology there is bound to be hiccups, which is why I never buy first-generation electronics. With mobile casinos, though, the problems seem unavoidable on the casino’s end.

The problem is a loss of service – that dreaded dropped call. When you’re talking on the phone, a momentary loss of service is annoying, because it makes you have to call the person back. And they probably called you back at the same time, which means you both got the other person’s voicemail. With online gambling, though, a momentary loss of service – even for a second – can lose you money.

Let’s say you are playing online poker and are in the middle of a hand. You have raised and are about to call when you suddenly enter a dead zone where you get no reception. Your phone then loses its connection to the online casino. Each online casino has a different policy regarding what would happen then, but in many cases, it results in you automatically forfeiting your hand. That means losing all of the money you had riding on the game, regardless of what hand you have. The same problem can happen in any game. If you lose the connection in the middle of a roulette spin, you will probably lose your money. The same goes for slots, baccarat and anything else.

The recent Verizon outage in North Carolina and Virginia made lots of mobile gamblers have to stop what they were doing, but what about those that were in the middle of a wager? They likely lost their money. The same risk goes along with using it on the road and passing through a tunnel. Usually, if the signal loss is brief and you are still connected to the casino and no time limit has expired while the service was out, you are fine. If you completely lose your connection to the online casino, though, you’re out of luck.

So what’s the answer? I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t do mobile gambling on your phone. However, it is a good idea to make sure you have a reliable network and try to be aware of situations when you could lose your signal. Mobile gambling during a hurricane? Bad idea. Once the phone lines go out the cell phone towers will get overloaded and go down. Mobile gambling on a subway? I wouldn’t. Driving through the mountains? That’s risky. Mountainous areas are normally pretty iffy when it comes to cell reception.

Cellular providers need to do more to make sure calls don’t get dropped (that’s kind of Verizon’s sales pitch anyway). Mobile casinos need to develop technology – if they haven’t already – that allows you to gamble on a time lag, where a momentary loss in signal doesn’t shut you down (my satellite radio has that feature). In the meantime, if you gamble at online casinos using your mobile phone, be safe and look out for potential signal problems. It’s your money at stake and you don’t want to lose it.

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