Social Casinos – The Complete Guide

Social Casinos – The Introduction

Social casino gaming is gaining traction at a rapid pace.  There are several reasons why social gaming is taking over the world, however, the biggest one by far is the fact that social gaming first appeared on social media networks. Games such as Mafia Wars, FarmVille and Words with Friends are known as some of the first instances of dedicated social games, and there is hardly a person on Facebook who hasn’t played one of these games at some point in their life. And this is exactly what inspired the concept of the fast-rising niche called social casinos.

Social games put special emphasis on the interaction between players and the community aspect of social media networks, which is by far the biggest appeal of this particular entertainment. This is why the transition from games that feature virtual mafia wars and farming to social casino games was seamless. Especially if we take into account that social casino games offer free versions of the most popular online casino games, which is always welcomed by gambling enthusiasts who like the excitement of online gambling without the risk.

Common perks of playing social casino games include free bonus credits such as free spins, free chips, free cash, etc. This usually depends on the casino game itself, with some of the most popular examples of social games being Slotomania, KamaGames’ Pokerist, Zynga, World Series of Poker, BingoBlitz, etc

Needless to say, two of the biggest factors that make for the popularity of social casino games are the social aspect of these games, and of course, the overall fun nature that they offer. With community features such as a chat that allows you to connect with fellow players, as well as the general competitive nature of social casino games, this type of entertainment is a favourite for players who like to compete in a friendly, relaxed, and highly controlled environment

The conclusion is fairly simple. The psychological stimulation of battling with real players for the top spot on the leaderboard, and the fact that it doesn’t cost anything to enter the competition (more on this later), make these particular games one of the fastest-rising entertainment on the internet. And they will only keep on rising in popularity, being that technology, and with that the gameplay, are improving expo-nationally, and with that, are appealing to more players with every passing day.

Social Casinos vs Online Casinos

Though similar at first, social casinos and online casinos have one big difference, and that difference is money. This means that players at social casinos and players at online casinos differ from each other in the way that they spend money. Let’s go into a bit more detail.

When you play at online casinos, you are required to deposit real money in order to win real money. This is known as pay-to-play, as opposed to the freemium model used by social casinos.

When you play at social casinos, on the other hand, all you are required to do is download the game and start playing, being that you will receive daily bonus credit to start your session. Now, the kicker with social games is that if you spend your bonus credits, you will have to spend real money in order to get more credits.

What makes social casino gambling different from online casino gambling is that the currency used in social games has no real-life value. This means that social casino gambling cannot be considered classic gambling, even though you can still play casino games such as poker, slots, and bingo.

As a result, social casinos are not affected by gambling regulations, and as such, are legally accessible everywhere where many online casinos are banned. This allows social casinos to have a wider audience that is usually attracted to the social aspect of these games and pure enjoyment. 

Despite the fact that you don’t need real money to play at social casinos, social games still generate impressive revenues via in-game purchases, a concept that is very popular and inspired by apps and games that you download from the store

what is a social casino - casino games

Types of Social Casino Games

The best thing about fun social games is that they are the same as dedicated real-money casino games. As we already established, the difference lies in the fact that social casino games are played with currencies that don’t exist.

With that being said, let’s have a look at some of the most popular types of social casino games:

  • Poker: Without a doubt, poker is one of the most popular social games out there. Not only that, but it is one of the first casino games that received a social counterpart. Social poker allows you to compete against other players in tournaments, perfectly mimicking real-life poker tables. The only difference is that instead of betting real money, you play with virtual chips.
  • Online Slots: Just like social poker games, social slot games are just the same as their real-money counterparts. This includes the same reel design, paylines, symbols, and even mechanics. The difference between social slots and real-money slots is that the winnings from social slots will be paid out in virtual money, instead of real money.
  • Blackjack: Blackjack is another popular social casino game that is a spitting image of its classic, real-money casino counterpart. The gameplay is the same, and the rules of the games are the same, yet the payouts are done in virtual money and you play for points.
  • Bingo: Arguably the most popular type of social casino game, bingo is a big hit in the social gaming community.  The game is played just like regular bingo – pick a number combination and await as they are drawn randomly to see if you won. The player who completes a winning combination first will win virtual money.
  • Baccarat: The thrill of playing baccarat is a big reason why this game received its social counterpart and why it is so popular among players. The rules are the same, the gameplay is the same, and the excitement is the same. The difference is that if you win, you receive either points or virtual money.
  • Dice: Though a bit newer than the other social games on this list, dice games are slowly taking over the social gambling realm due to their unpredictable nature. Dice games come with an exciting multiplier mode where players go 1v1 and battle each other for the top spot on the leaderboard. Just as with other games, if you win you either get points or virtual money.
  • Roulette: Just like other casino games on this list, social roulette is played with virtual chips for placing bets, and pays out in virtual money if you win. With that being said, the goal of the game is the same, as all you need to do is place a bet on the winning number/combination of numbers.

From here, some of the most groundbreaking social casino games, and with that, the most popular social games are:

  • Slotomania
  • KamaGames’ Pokerist 
  • Zynga
  • World Series of Poker (WSOP)
  • BingoBlitz
  • Playtika
what is a social casino - monetization


We already discussed that social casino games are played with virtual currency, and as such, they have no option for you to withdraw money. This means that even if you win the game, or even hit a jackpot, you can only win extra credits such as chips, points, virtual cash, or spins.

There are several ways that social games are monetized, and one of these is via in-app purchases, where you are required to pay real money to prolong your gaming session.

One of the most common practices of social casinos is called upselling. More specifically, the casino will give you a special offer to pay a certain amount of money to get a certain amount of virtual currency. For example, you will receive an offer to pay $15 for 150 chips, $20 for 250 chips, and so on.

And this is exactly how the freemium model worksa free-to-play game that allows you to make in-game payments, i.e. pay-to-play. This is because most players usually start playing social games for the free-to-play option, only to later start making in-game payments to satisfy their appetites.

Simply put, social game developers have found the perfect formula to capitalize on the inevitable tendency of humans to chase instant gratification, which is what social games are exactly all about.

So, with this out of the way, how do social casino games actually monetize? Well, let’s have a look.

  • In-app purchases – 69%
  • In-app advertisements – 30%
  • Paid apps – less than 1%

From this, we can sum up that despite not working with real money, social games are still raking in huge chunks of money, and most of these revenues come from in-app purchases conducted by other players.


The best way to understand social casino games is to look at the demographics, i.e. people who play these games the most. According to research conducted by the Mobile Games Index, players of social casino games are usually people in their mid-40s

Similar to this, the United Kingdom Gaming Commission (UKGC), one of the most reputable regulators on the planet, conducted its own research. The report states that between 1% and 5% of social casino players go beyond the free chips and make in-app purchases. In addition, the research shows that 15% of social casino gamers are responsible for 50% of all revenues made by social casinos.

The most interesting statistic, however, comes from NewZoo. Namely, NewZoo reported that 58% of social casino players have also gambled with real money in the past, and 81% of players who made in-app purchases in social casinos have also tried real gambling.

The difference between social players who make in-app purchases and online casino players who play with real money is the end goal. While social players are in it for the social aspect of the game and for fun, online casino players are gambling for money and for winning big.

what is a social casino - demographics

Social Gaming and Regulation

Now, the biggest concern that most gambling regulators have about social casinos is that they can be used as a cross-selling platform to nudge social gamers toward real-money casinos. Despite the low risk of playing at social casinos, they can, and in fact they are, used by online casinos to get traffic, simple as that. 

While the signing up process and depositing real money can be intimidating for most social casino players, especially regular people who never gambled before, playing at social casinos significantly diminishes this fear. Naturally, the more you play social games, the more you get used to the nature of this entertainment, and with that, the easier you can make the transition from social to real money casinos.

This is why you will find many social casinos in tightly regulated gambling markets where gambling is banned by law. One example of this is Australia, where some of the biggest online casinos have altered their way of work to mimic a legal social casino experience. All they need to do is take away the option to make deposits and withdrawals, and they can legally offer their services and generate big revenues without having to adhere to gambling regulations.

What is particularly interesting, though, is that one of the two biggest regulators in the world has deemed social casino gaming safe. More specifically, in 2015, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission issued a detailed report stating that social gaming doesn’t pose a major societal risk when it comes to harmful gambling behaviours associated with classic gambling. This includes both underage gambling and gambling addiction.

Moreover, the UKGC concluded in 2019 that social casino games won’t be subject to gambling regulation as long as online gambling operators demonstrate social responsibility and safe responsible gambling practices. In other words, as long as online casinos don’t directly influence social casino players to gamble (such as referral links, bonus incentives, etc.) social casino gaming will remain unregulated.

The Future of Social Gaming

Social gaming is so popular that it breaks revenue records by the month. What is even more impressive is the fact that social gaming revenue has been on a steady incline in the past 5,5 years. As per data by Global Social Casino Games Markets Analysis, the social casino gaming market will increase from $6 billion in 2021 to $9.82 billion in 2028, making for a 6.3% increase.

There are several reasons why social casino gaming has a bright future. The biggest, however, can be traced to technological advancements and the change in consumer behaviours. This is why many of the new social games are compatible with VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) headsets, giving the players a whole new perspective of social gaming and making for more interactive and immersive gaming experiences.

From here, and considering the fast-paced technological advancements in social gaming, the younger demographic is becoming more and more interested in this type of gaming. Not only that, but with their interest, social casinos are expecting a boost in both retention and engagement rates even more so if we consider that blockchain has already introduced a completely new set of transparency and security, especially for social casino games.

This also includes NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are frequently used by players as rewards that can be sold securely or traded, or as in-game prizes, thus adding a completely new layer of financial activity in social gaming.

Not to mention the use of smartphones, the most frequently used medium in social casino gaming. The trend of gaming via your mobile device has seen an increase in the so-called “on-the-go” players, which is why game developers aim to capitalize on this craze by creating improved and dedicated mobile gaming platforms for social gaming.

So far, the biggest markets in terms of players and volume in social gaming are India and Southeast Asia. Generally, the entire Asia-Pacific market is expected to explode in the coming years, especially since many countries that didn’t have access to the internet are finally starting to go online. Plus, the population of Asia is known as tech-savvy by nature, which is why we can confidently say that social gaming has a very bright future.

what is a social casino - technology

Final Thoughts

Social casinos are perfect for players who want the excitement of gambling without the necessary risk. They offer the perfect platform for players who don’t feel comfortable or cannot afford spending real money, period. More importantly, social casinos offer a unique social features that make every session exciting, being that you go head-to-head with other players.

Needless to say, playing at a casino without risking your money, plus gaming with fellow enthusiasts and battling with each other for the top spot on the leaderboard are the two biggest reasons why this type of gaming is becoming so popular in the past half a decade or so.

Moreover, it is also why many dedicated online casinos completely change the way that they do business, being that social casino gaming presents a unique chance to break on to tightly-regulated markets without risking huge penalties or starting a new company.

Though deemed safe and not harmful by the UKGC, we would still want to advise you to be cautious when you play social games. This is because even though you don’t play with real money, you can still make in-app purchases and with that, risk spending recklessly.

Good luck, have fun, and gamble responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a social casino?

A social casino is an online gaming platform where you can play casino games with virtual tokens/currency.

How do social casinos work?

Social casinos put emphasis on the social/community aspect of casino gaming, and more importantly, don’t require real money in order to make bets.

What are social casino games?

Social casino games are just like regular casino games with the only exception that you don’t play with real money, and because of that, you cannot make withdrawals.

Are social casinos legal?

Yes, online casinos are legal and completely safe, as long as they don’t require you to disclose personal information or entice you to gamble at real online casinos.

How do social casinos make money?

Social casinos make money via in-game purchases, in-game advertisements, or via paid apps.

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