Casino enthusiasts would argue that casino gaming is the greatest pastime. It promises a thrilling experience, excitement, and lots of entertainment – all in one. Not to mention the opportunity to place real money bets and rake in some big ones. Real money gaming, however, is the primary difference between social casinos and traditional online casinos. While this is significant, it is not a deciding factor as to which is better. It all comes down to player preference. Some people want to win money at the casino, while others love to play for fun.
Social Casinos vs. Online Casinos
In a broad sense, social gaming would include even a simple card game played at home among friends, but our focus here is clearly on social gaming providers available on the internet. Social casinos are those designed for recreational gaming. You could sign up and play games for free, with no possibility of getting any real money returns. You wager with casino coins or sweep coins when you play at Sweepstake sites.
However, there’s more to be said on the level of free gaming available at social casinos. Hence the question:
How Free Are Social Casinos?
All the talk of social casinos being free is essentially true, but you will often need to buy top-up credit packages and other upgrades at these sites. They are not mandatory and are not as expensive as online casino chips, but they are still not free. Even social casinos have to make profits somehow, and many people would rather pay than sit through minutes of watching ads to earn extra coins.
The online casino is simply the virtual equivalent of land-based lobbies. You could play your favorite games with cash stakes and earn real money rewards when you win like what BoomtownBingo offers. Since mobile gaming took off, players can play at the best online mobile casinos on the go.
Generally, you have to deposit to play at the online casino, but that is not always the case. In fact, the social casino has its online casino rival hot on its tail as the latter now offers free to play versions for nearly all its games. So online casino players can obtain the benefits of both traditional and social gaming on a single platform.
Aside from the financial aspect, there are several other differences between social casinos and the online casino, including:
- Number of games
- Legal issues
- Level of engagement
- Motivation to play
- Live casino gaming
- Unlimited betting
The Number of Games
From an array of slots to a variety of poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, and special games, the online casino is the undefeated champion of casino games. The gaming options are diverse, and players have a variety of choices. Not to mention that new titles are being added frequently as game providers churn out fresh releases every month. Meanwhile, social games are usually limited to poker, blackjack, roulette, and slots.
Online casino sites are also rampant, so you won’t have any trouble finding one to play at. However, you need to ensure that the chosen operator is duly licensed and regulated. In comparison, there are only a handful of social casino providers like Zynga and Chumba.
Gambling itself is a common activity worldwide, but online casino sites are not treated with such open arms. Not every country is pro in internet gambling like the UK, and it’s a constant struggle for online casinos to gain legal approval, especially in jurisdictions with strict laws like the United States. For safety measures against cyberattacks, there are so many restrictions on online casino activities, even where they are legal.
The opposite can be said for social gambling as it is universally accepted. Due to the absence of real money betting, many people consider it similar to regular video games, which are harmless.
Level of Engagement
Studies have proven that, on average, social gamers will play once every two days, while online casino players visit the casino once every four days. This clearly shows that the level of engagement in social casinos is more than that of the online casino. Social gaming is prevalent on social media sites like Facebook (think FarmVille and CityVille), so you will often come across these games while casually scrolling through your feed or chatting with friends.
On the other hand, you’d have to visit a casino site to interact with online games. So online players do not have as much of a reminder as social gamers do.
Motivation to Play
In social gaming, the highest motivation is to have fun, and this is characterized by the presence of competition and the desire to make it up the leaderboard. Social games are essentially social because you can play with friends, share your results with your followers, or post awards and achievements to your profile. Fun gamification elements like gift packages, coupons, and other rewards keep players in high spirits. Social gamers often invite their friends to join the game, and that camaraderie further promotes engagement.
The greatest motivation to play at the online casino is the winning possibilities available. Almost anyone would put down $10 if they could win back $50. Although many sites offer the “refer-a-friend” bonus, inviting friends is significantly less common in the online casino. Fortunately, gamification is also gaining ground in this space with the presence of loyalty reward schemes and various leaderboard tournaments.
Live Casino Gaming
Playing at the online casino may not be as glamorous as a night in Vegas, but it comes very close, thanks to technology. The live casino provides you with live webcam broadcasts of an actual casino lobby or studio, complete with human dealers, real cards, and actual gaming tables. Online casino players are drawn to the lavish settings, bright disco lights, and upbeat music. Social casinos do not possess these qualities since social gamers are more interested in the actual challenge than background elements.
It’s hard to be carefree when you’ve got your hard-earned money at stake. That is why online casino players apply strategies and other betting techniques while gaming. This is a risk involving, so you need to be prudent. Many players may decide to walk away after losing or winning a certain amount. All these do not apply to social gaming, as you can bet for as long as you desire with the sole purpose of having a good time. Every day you log in, your account gets daily coin credits, which you can use to play however you want. If you wish to play until you drop, go right ahead.
Apart from the chance to win real money, the possibility to play free games has added to the increasing popularity of the online casino, which now generates over $18 billion in worldwide yearly revenue. Nonetheless, social gaming is not doing poorly either, with an estimated $4.4 billion in annual worldwide revenue, according to a report by Statista. Several local and international poker and casino companies are making their way into the social gaming space. This is facilitated by the fact that there are no legislative barriers. With the advent of VR and AR concepts, The future will see social gaming growth even more, and it concerns the online casino industry as well.