Social casino games are the rising star in the world of online gaming. The concept attracts a huge audience, and it’s getting bigger by the day. What makes social casino games so popular? How do social casino games differ from online casinos? And are social casino games all that they’re cracked up to be?
An online casino offers players the chance to win real money by playing online gambling games. In an online casino, you’re likely to find several variations of all the games that you would find in a traditional, land-based casino, such as blackjack, roulette, poker, and slots. The only way to win real money is to make real money bets, unless you happen to be offered a no deposit bonus; in this case, it is possible to win real money in an online casino without spending a cent.
Online casinos usually offer special welcome bonuses, and then regular promotions throughout the year. These bonuses usually take the form of a match deposit bonus, where the player is rewarded with a bonus that matches the amount of their first deposit. Players can use their bonus funds to play the games on the site and even though they’re playing with a bonus they still have the chance to win real money. It is also possible to play online casino games for free, in demo mode, but in doing so you won’t be able to win real money.
Social Casino Games
Social casino games are usually found outside of the regular online casino environment. In most cases, a social casino game is available as an individual app. However, social casino sites that house several social casino games are gaining a foothold in the industry. You are probably already familiar with social casino games, but you may not recognize them as such. A social casino game can take the form of a regular casino game, like slots or blackjack, but it can also more closely resemble a video game – think FarmVille, and 4 Pics, 1 Word.
These games are free to download and free to play. You can share your gameplay stats with friends and family, compete against them, or help them by giving them game coins. Why would they need game coins, you ask? Well here’s the rub; social casino games are only free up to a certain point. In order to unlock certain levels, or purchase elements within the game that enhance gameplay, you need to buy game coins. These coins cost real money.
It is possible to play social casino games without spending any money, but these games are designed in such as way as to lure you in and get you hooked on the game. Once you’re invested, you are more likely to make small in-app purchases to keep playing and competing against your friends. What many players don’t realize is that all these small in-app purchases can add up to huge amounts of money spent on one game.
Winning and Not Winning
The main difference between a social casino game and an online casino game is that when you spend your hard-earned cash on either game format, only the latter offers you the chance to win real money in return. The most important difference, however, is that a social casino game is not considered a gambling game, which means it can operate without a gambling license. An online casino, on the other hand, must obtain a gambling license and follow a strict set of rules and regulations regarding fair play, player safety, and transparency. Thanks to the gambling license, an online casino player benefits from a number of protections, and they have a governing body to turn to for help should anything go wrong. A social casino player does not benefit from the same protections. One of these protections concerns gambling addiction.
Gambling by Any Other Name
Social casino games can be just as addictive as gambling games. Many of the people who play social casino games would never play online casino games because they don’t consider themselves as gamblers. Online gambling games appear too risky, with the general perception being that the risk far outweighs the reward. Clever marketing ensures that social gaming appears risk free. The reality, however, is far from being so simple.
Social players are actively encouraged to spend more and more money on the games that they enjoy. And the connection with various social media platforms means that these games are more readily available. In Germany they are named as one of big tech trends for the future. It is much easier for social gaming companies to keep their players engaged; to reach out and lure them back to a game with the promise of a special bonus or a give-away. This is a problem if there’s no regulation to ensure customers are protected.
Security and Protection
Online casinos are limited as to how and when they can advertise in order to protect vulnerable gamblers. Online casino players must verify their identity to prevent underage gambling and fraudulent behavior. Online casinos must follow responsible gambling procedures which recognize problem gamblers. And online casinos must equip their sites with state-of-the-art security systems to protect personal and financial data. The risk of losing money is real, but so is the potential for winning a mega jackpot.
It may seem like social gaming is the innocent little sibling of online casino gambling, but it would be a mistake to consider social gaming as a safe and risk-free pastime. If you have an addictive personality, then you need to be wary of any game that encourages you to keep coming back and to keep spending money, especially when there is no chance of getting that money back.