Talking about casinos, it’s hardly possible to avoid money-related discussions. Professional gamblers, occasional punters, and ordinary people that haven’t even tried games of chance blame the casino industry for their losses. They claim that land-based and digital online gambling venues pose risk to visitors, because they trick players and steal their money. Well, we aren’t going to dispel any of the latest gambling myths in this article. Instead, it will be a good idea to learn more about alternative gambling approaches.
In fact, there are gambling activities that don’t involve using money at all! This means, you can still play online any slot games or poker titles you love but you don’t have to care about money making because all chips are virtual and free, according to the terms and conditions. Intrigued? Let’s proceed to the guide with engaging stories, reviews, online casino games stats and plenty of examples!
A Word on Intriguing Statistics
Before we proceed to the definition and primary features of this game type, let’s talk about social online casino stats. These unique numbers should be helpful when it comes to the rise of social casinos.
First and foremost, it’s all about money. According to the link from Melior Games, the global market value of social games has tripled since 2011, and it now features more than $4 billion in revenue. Precisely, the breakdown by platforms and years looks pretty impressive:
- Internet + Facebook: $265 million in 2016 compared to $412 million in 2019.
- Mobile: $2.7 billion in 2016 compared to $3.9 billion in 2019.
- Other platforms: $1.1 billion in 2016 compared to $687 million in 2019.
Note: other platform options include live gameplay from accounts registered in additional modern networks with a strong support from Instagram, Twitter, and more. A gamer can access these products via phone (Android, iOS, etc.) as well.
As you can see, the share of mobile and web social casinos is growing, while other devices and systems give way to more successful alternatives. In total, the industry increased from $4 billion in 2016 to almost $5 billion in 2019. That’s a lot!
Still, another casino industry report mentions a bit different numbers. It estimates the worldwide social gambling market at $3.81 billion and predicts that it will reach $4.6 billion by 2020 featuring a 4-year CAGR of 5%. According to these numbers, the industry is expected to be even more successful.
But what about the idea behind social gaming? Read on to find the answers!
Social Casinos in a Nutshell
It’s not a big deal to define the term because the name actually speaks for itself.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission defines social gaming as the games of chance that come without real money or money-worth winnings. The same body also mentions another key point and states that social apps focus on interaction with other people. Generally, social casinos combine the approaches of social media and gambling to create a new concept.
A traditional social casino is a website (land-based houses can utilize some principles of social gambling but they don’t rely on it fully) with free access to casino games. But, it doesn’t feature real money gambling. To get the best experience, you should only register, get free chips, choose a game, and start playing. No deposits are required but no real money wins are provided, too.
Distinctive Features of Social Gambling
- A “casino” element. At these websites, players can access familiar content, i.e. traditional casino games such as casino slots, roulette, table games, lotteries, and cards like poker, blackjack or baccarat. The selection is similar to other online gambling platforms.
- A “social” element. Nevertheless, these casinos focus on networking more than on playing experience. They often deliver complex leaderboards, performance comparison tables, challenges and milestones for players, and tournaments.
- No real money. And the main difference between real-money and social casino sites is that the latter ones do not allow gambling for real cash. Instead, they feature free play modes available for any user with demo chips (they are also delivered as games for free).
- More attention to interface. Finally, social systems engage users with different features. According to Newzoo, 65% of social casino players think that art style and appealing visual elements are important parts of all social games.
Summarizing this, we can say that social casino games are an attractive alternative to cash casinos because there are a lot of users that prioritize the play itself over the money earning. Playing games online in social systems is similar to enjoying video games. You don’t have to invest regularly to go through the storyline, open new chapters, and finish adventures. Social gamblers appreciate chatting with friends, competitions, and game stories, mostly.
The Importance of Social Gaming for the Industry
Brace yourself as there will be more stats. The numbers can help you understand why social casinos are on the rise and how they reshape the current gambling ecosystem. The already mentioned Newzoo report puts slot machines (33% for Australia, 31% for the USA, 20% for the UK) and poker tables (26%, 20%, and 19%, respectively) at the leading positions in the social gambling industry. Wherein, British players like bingo titles more than other available games (26% compared to 15% in Australia and 16% in the USA).
Exploring the brands and markets, Newzoo lists five top social casino franchises that are the most popular among users:
- Big Fish Casino – 37%
- Bingo Bash – 35%
- BINGO Blitz – 35%
- 777 Slots Casino – 34%
- Zynga Poker – 29%
The last name should be familiar to most of the readers. Zynga is a company responsible for famous social gambling projects like FarmVille. This pioneer of the industry paved the way for new principles that turned into high-quality standards. Today, daily coins, free spins, gifts, events, competitive challenges, and many other perfect ways to feel the excitement without investing huge amounts of money are desired by customers.
For instance, social games are lightweight, simple to develop, pretty casual, and viral, as a rule. Developers can distribute their projects in a different way when compared to promotions of money casinos. Hence, it’s easy to test various gameplay things with social games before transforming these innovations into real money alternatives. Moreover, Facebook-based games are wonderful sources of statistical information for the marketers.
The future is rarely clear. But we have a few opinions related to the further development of social casino games. Despite their fun and entertainment aspects, we think that social games will unlikely replace traditional online casinos anytime soon, because millions of players over the world gamble because of money. However, most likely these traditional websites will adopt certain techniques and methods derived from the online social casino niche.