It is widely recognised in the e-gaming sector that customers who play via their mobile phone have higher life time values than players who use a desktop computer. It is not surprising, therefore, that many e-gaming operators have developed apps for their services and have spent a considerable amount of marketing effort on recruiting mobile gamblers.

Mobile devices can certainly complement land-based gambling and are already doing so in many venues. For example, mobile devices can be used to allow gamblers to play when they are still in the casino but not necessarily on the gaming floor or devices can be installed in betting shops to allow players to place bets rather than over the counter.

But in technology circles there is already the view that the current mobile set up of “operating system and apps” is already under threat. Speaking last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated, “bots are the new apps”.

Bots and apps were also discussed at the recent i-Gaming Forum in Stockholm, which GBGC attended.

Daniel Lehnberg, Head of Creative Labs at PokerStars, explained that lots of investment had taken place in bots but that, so far, the consumer does not yet understand what bots can achieve for them. As a result, apps will remain the mechanism for delivering services in the medium term.

There will come a point, however, when consumers realise the benefits of bots. At that tipping point the current incarnation of apps might become redundant as artificial intelligence and bots are developed for everyday use. For example, rather than clicks or taps on a mobile device, users will interact with a service by voice activation, like today’s Alexa or Siri voice assistants. This removes the need to download numerous different apps to a device, each with its own user interface.

As always, there will be issues specific to gambling in enabling bot technology but the sector is usually very good at finding ways of making new technology work for e-gaming services.