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Is Online Gambling Using a Smartwatch the Next Big Thing?

I’m old enough to remember a world where the internet didn’t exist. I also remember when my school got its first computer and it required 3 men to carry it into the classroom. Strange times eh? My first mobile phone resembled a house brick back in 1999. I’ve also never been able to get that strange creepy dial-up internet noise out of my head either.

My life with mobile tech hasn’t always run smoothly though and I hesitantly got a Blackberry once upon a time. Getting started with my BBM ID was an eye-opener. As was realizing I needed to buy Microsoft Windows for my personal laptop. 

My first smartphone revolutionized my world though and it’s difficult to get me off it nowadays. I use it for all sorts of stuff, including online gambling. I think that mobile casinos are the best thing since sliced bread, especially for sports bettors like me.

Smartwatches though? I’m half in and out with these. I don’t know why I would need one when I have my smartphone. Friends rave about their wearable tech and I know a few who dabble in gaming. 

Playing Candy Crush on your wrist is all well and good. But imagine my face when I first heard about online gambling on your wrist. I had to do some research before I believed it was even possible. Could it be the next big thing though? Are we standing on the edge of something huge?

Smartwatch History in Brief

Some claim that HP launched the very first wearable bit of tech in 1977. Having some memory including an in-built calculator, it was a failure. Nowadays as a collector's item, it can fetch up to $3,000.

Seiko and Casino soon took to the drawing board with TV and FM radio watches. Samsung and Fossil then got on board at the turn of the millennium. But it was Apple who really got things moving before Fitbit started the wearable activity tracking trend.

While the first Smartwatch flopped, according to Allied Market Research the industry is estimated to hit $24 billion worldwide by 2025. 

Online Gambling Using a Smartwatch…the Story So Far

It seems that things are still in the early stages and surprisingly glitches in software need to be fixed. This isn’t just like playing a fun game of solitaire - real money and legislation are of course involved. And whilst slots may not pose much of an issue to developers, live casino games and RNG-powered tables are another question. 

Playtech has so far developed an Apple Watch betting app. Allowing users to place bets, browse events, and receive alerts. Whilst Microgaming launched its first online slot for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch back in 2014. 

The legends at Unibet released a simple smartwatch app for sports betting. Though it’s not possible to place bets yet, users can check results and view live odds. Ladbrokes went one step further in 2015 with its own Apple Watch app. Which offers users the full functionality of a sports betting platform.

BetMGM is possibly the largest brand to harness smartwatch gambling, with a fully adaptable mobile app. 

My Pros of Smartwatch Gambling

I've tried and tested a few games with a friend's smartwatch. I’m not quite at the point to buy my own, I must admit. There are numerous positive points though which I was surprised about. I did have my initial doubts about how you can do anything well on such a small screen.

  • Simplistic interface

Zero ads, flashing banners, and winners’ streams are all gone. There is literally no room for anything other than the game. Allowing you to focus more on what's important. 

  • Play from anywhere

Sure you’ll need a stable connection, but in theory, you can game from anywhere - hands-free. No need to hold a smartphone or tablet. You also won’t ever drop your smartwatch, minimizing the risk of costly accidents.

  • Less intrusive

Want to check the halftime score when you're out with your mates? It’s much easier than getting your phone out and scrolling, whilst your friends yawn.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

In terms of security, nope. I don’t see that this could be any more riskier than using a smartphone or laptop to gamble online. But when it comes to responsible gambling, yes. Operators have a duty of care to protect players and minors. Whilst it is also up to the individual player to accept some responsibility, are online casinos putting themselves at risk?

Enabling gambling on a smartphone is one thing but wearable tech is another. With watches being potentially strapped to your wrist 24/7, this could put vulnerable adults more at risk. Players could receive notifications and reminders pinging regularly to check the latest slots and sports betting opportunities - without letup. 

Whilst working, most people's phones are in a desk drawer or bag. Your watch is with you constantly, at the gym, whilst you sleep, and during work. Tapping a smartwatch may also be more socially acceptable, “Oh he’s just checking the time”. Whilst getting your phone out to play roulette online is more easily spotted.

The Bottom Line

I do think that Smartwatch gambling will be a thing, it’s already gathering quite a pace. But I don’t think it will be a ‘big’ thing. Not as hefty an impact on the iGaming industry as Smartphones anyway. I think that this technology still has some way to go before we’ll see fully functioning smartwatch casinos. 

In my opinion, there’s too much involved in the online gambling journey to be viable for such small screens. I can’t imagine uploading KYC documents, chatting to support, and playing live poker on my wrist. I can’t imagine how software developers will get the full functionality into their games for smaller screens. I don’t think that online slots will have an issue but more complicated games? I will believe it when I see it. 

There must also be acceptance of room for error. It’s probably very easy to make a bet by mistake with one slip of the finger on a smartwatch. 

There are then the responsible gaming aspects. Will gaming license regulators allow this to go ahead without some intervention? I look forward to keeping my eye on this trend, but I won’t be rushing out to buy a smartwatch just yet.

This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author, and it doesn't represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.


  • Smartwatch history in brief:
  • Gambling using a smartwatch…the story so far:
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Nicola Wrebel
Nicola Wrebel
Last Update: 10 Nov 2023
Nicola is an experienced casino expert and writer. With a background in customer support and quality assurance, she has gained extensive knowledge of the online gambling industry. As a freelance writer, Nicola has written over 400 casino reviews and articles on various gambling topics. She delivers unbiased content and has a passion for providing useful information to players.

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