Most people reading this will have a knack for gambling, in one shape or the other. Most people reading this will probably have a social media account too. Mix them, and you get social gambling! In a world dominated by technology, it seems that the marriage of these two was inevitable. But are social slots and social casino games able to provide a new entertainment level? Today, we give you a complete guide to social casino gaming, so take a seat and enjoy.
What Is Social Gambling?
If you tried to find a social gambling definition, you were most likely to see that different people have different ideas about what is social gambling. The results become even more confusing when you think about social gambling as a poker session or a casino game that you can play with your friends at home.
But for the purpose of our social casino guide, social gambling definition boils down to playing casino games on social media, such as Facebook, or other social casino apps without the need to deposit any real money.
We'll explore the reasons why there is no real money involved in social casino games in detail, but for now let's say that every time you play a game on social media, you are engaging in social casino gaming.
To be clear: there are options to spend money on these games, but what sets them apart from traditional casino games is that you are not required to leave money.
What Is a Social Casino?
A social casino is a website, or a social casino app, where you can play casino games such as roulette or social slots with your friends online. However, social casino gaming includes other game varieties, such as FarmVille on Facebook, for instance.
Unlike when you visit a land-based or online casino, you are not gambling when you play at social casinos because you neither bet real money nor get any money when you win. The most significant difference between traditional and social casinos is that the latter serves entertainment purposes only, in this category you can also find sweepstakes casinos.
In a plethora of results online, you will soon learn that a social casino can be run either by an independent company or regular casinos. When operated by regular brick-and-mortar casinos or online operators, social casinos usually have the advertisement value, i.e., to keep the customers' minds on gambling, even when they are not spending money.
Social Casino Features
The most prominent aspect of social casinos is, well, that they're social. Social media gambling or independent websites and apps, most of the social casino games involve some sort of interaction between people.
To illustrate this, here's a couple of examples of what you can do at social casinos that you can't at regular online casinos:
- Play with other players
- Share results with friends
- Invite others to play with you
- Post awards and achievements to your profile
Another essential feature of social casinos is that they are unburdened by the stigma that overshadows real money casinos. Unlike in land-based and online casinos, social casino games are more likely to attract a wider audience of faithful players who keep coming back every day. With conventional casino games, there is no such attachment. People play them to win money and are not emotionally attached to their fellow players or, say, characters they create.
Games at Social Casinos
Social casino games are free-to-play games found on social media. The forms of social casino games that attract the attention of the highest number of players are the ones that simulate poker, slot machines, aka social slots, and casino table games, but there are numerous others as well.
As a result, social casino games have the potential to become immensely popular quickly. Software providers use this to their advantage and make players come back for more by applying different strategies, such as:
- Continuous goals—Virtually all social casino games offer a chance to achieve continuous goals. Each goal is more challenging and takes more time to complete than the last, and every step you take pushes you toward that goal and, eventually towards building gaming capital.
- Gaming capital—Gaming capital can come in the shape of trophies, badges and sorts of achievements earned by playing or simply completing tasks. Sometimes, the badges are earned by sharing the accomplishments with your friends, in turn boosting the game's social character.
Other features of social casinos and social casino games include:
- Customizable avatars—players can create their version of characters, making the entire gameplay more compelling.
- Complex storylines—social casino games are not as straightforward as conventional casino games; they have much more intrinsic plots, pushing players to reach new levels and discover what happens next.
- Challenges—to make the experience fun and fresh, providers add new challenges on different occasions (on holidays, for example)
Although they are free-to-play, social casino games share many similarities with their real-money versions. Take social slots for example: players say that these games are so good at mimicking the look and feel of real slot machines, that people who engage in social media gambling can sometimes find it difficult to discern whether they are playing at real money gambling venues or simply hitting social casino games for fun.
One-armed bandits come in many shapes and sizes; social slots are only one of their iterations. Read our thorough overview of the numerous types of slot machines found in casinos.
Apart from games that mimic the well-known casino games, here are some of the popular social casino games found at social casinos, in addition to traditional ones:
- Mob Wars
- Mafia Wars
- Farm Town
While you're here, please take a moment to explore the many varieties of casino entertainment by reading our in-depth guide to different types of casino games.
Social Casinos vs. Online Casinos
We talked about the main differences between social casinos and their real money versions, but let's now break down other aspects of these two in more detail.
- Community vibe. You won't get this one at online casinos. The fact that you're playing with friends online lets you share the feeling of winning (or losing) with people that are close to you.
- Sharing your achievements. No one ever brags about playing games at regular casinos due to the negative attitude about traditional gambling in general; when playing at social casinos, sharing of results is encouraged.
- Competing against friends. Beating each other's scores on social slots or the number of hands won in blackjack, the thrill of competing is ever-present in social casino games.
- Making money from punters betting on outcomes. To be honest, social casinos do have their ways of charging for perks (e.g. buying coins with real money), but they generally don't generate revenue based on the outcome.
When players buy Gold Coins, they can get bonus Sweeps Coins in sweepstakes casinos, and if they play with Sweeps Coins and win a certain amount of them, they can later be redeemed for cash. If you would like to learn more about how sweepstakes casinos work, you can read our sweepstakes casinos guide.
Pros and Cons of Social Casinos and Social Gambling
Like any other form of gaming, there are positive and negative aspects of social casinos, too.
- Social gaming is not really gambling. Call it gambling all you want, but playing at a social slots casino is not gambling per se as there is no down payment involved.
- Social casino games are legal in territories and jurisdictions where regular online gambling is outlawed. Thanks to this, people from virtually all around the world can spend some time playing games they aren't allowed due to legal restrictions.
- Social casino gambling is available to people who refrain from real money gambling for various reasons (e.g. moral or religious). Because there is no option to either win or lose, people join social casinos just for fun, without worrying about moral implications.
- Social gambling holds no monetary risk. When you don't have to worry about whether you will lose money, all that's left is pure fun.
- Social casinos have wider game variety. Like we said, social casino games are not limited to conventional casino games, offering a wider choice and catering to a broader audience.
- Playing social casino games is the perfect way to hone your skills. Of course, you can master your poker skills at any online casino, but you'll have to pay for it.
- The gameplay is frequently interrupted with ads. One thing you can count on at social casinos is that ads will keep popping up at all times. This is a way for providers to generate revenue, and they will bombard you with ads constantly until you pay them to stop.
- Social casino games require you to top up your credits, coins, etc., all the time. If you run out of coins, the provider will gladly fill your account up in exchange for real money. Such voluntary payments can add up rather quickly, so keep track of your credit card activities and set your budget.
- Social casinos may spark a gambling addiction. Although it is not considered gambling, downloading social casino apps and using them relentlessly may lead to gambling addiction, making you move your activities from social casinos to real money gambling venues.
Is Social Gambling a Gateway to Gambling?
Although social media gambling is not gambling, you should keep in mind that there are risks involved and that overspending at social casinos can indeed trigger a gambling addiction.
Moreover, although social casino apps are free to download and play, many people do not stop at the free download. Social casino providers generate revenue based on a pay-to-win model; this so-called freemium model means that although games are free, people are always encouraged to spend real money for coins, lives, gifts for their friends, etc.
Authors agree that social casino games can make a considerable impact on people's gambling behaviours. For some, social gambling games may serve as a 'gateway' to gambling. Also, research has linked social casino games to an increased frequency of betting among gamblers.
According to research, motivation for engaging in social casino gambling is likely similar to motivation for entering the gambling world. In other words, people may visit social casinos for fun, to pass the time, relax, relieve boredom or distract themselves from adverse emotions.
However, there are upsides to social casino gaming. For people who are engaging in excessive gambling, these types of games can control their spending or help them abstain from gambling.
Are Social Casinos Illegal?
As far as we are aware, there isn't a single country in the world that has thus far outlawed social casino gaming. One of the reasons that social casinos are legal in virtually all countries worldwide is that they don't involve real money. So much so that even major mobile app stores such as Google Play allow social casino apps. Be it a game of skill or chance it doesn't matter since you cannot derive any monetary gain from them.
Due to the similarities between social gambling games and conventional casinos, however, this issue has been the subject of many debates. Many countries around the world are weighing whether to introduce regulation in this area.
Is Playing in Social Casinos Considered Gambling?
Technically speaking, no; playing in a social casino is not considered gambling in the traditional sense of the word. Gambling may be defined as taking a risk on an uncertain outcome. Since there is no real money involved, social gambling is free of any such risk (apart from risking virtual credits and coins). Also, social casino games don't let you withdraw your winnings either, which is one of the main distinctions between traditional and social gambling.
Where Can I Find Social Casinos?
All around the internet, really! Here are some of the most popular social casinos found around the web:
Zynga: Zynga has quickly become a household name in the world of social casinos, primarily because it is hosted by the biggest name in social media, Facebook.
Slotomania: A top social casino app, free to download. These attract over 5 million players every month and supports a massive amount of social slots.
House of Fun: Another giant and another social casino which does not require you to deposit and play. Has over 180+ games and they add new titles all the time.
Billionaire Casino: At this one, you'll find other games, not just social slots. So you'll get to enjoy social casino games that include roulette, video poker and many more.
What Are The Best Social Casinos?
When it comes to which social casinos are the best, the choice is really all yours! There is no right and wrong, the only thing that matters is whether you are having a good time or not. Regardless of which one you choose, the drill is the same: there will be no down payment and no monetary reward. What sets them apart from each other is the choice of games. Some feature only social slots, while others offer a wider variety of games. All it takes is checking what kind of game gets you going and play!
Why Do People Play Social Casino Games?
People visit social casinos for a multitude of reasons. Some join them to relieve stress, others go to compete with their friends and brag about their results online, some do it for the love of the game, while there are also people who turn to social casinos for the thrill without the need to spend money!
Whatever your choice is, spend your time at social casinos wisely!