Any growing, globally successful business cultivates intrigue, innovation and a consistent stream of inventive minds looking for the next significant development in the industry. For many, the stakes in the casino industry are higher, no pun intended.
While a range of game designers, developers and promoters all focused on what could be done within the confines of the traditional casino, there were a small number of innovators who decided to explore the idea of free-to-play casinos, more commonly known as social or sweepstakes casinos.
Now that there’s a greater number of these operators, they have been able to disassociate themselves from traditional casinos while remaining successful — which is a challenging feat.
For those who have a passing interest in social casinos, you may be aware of a handful of operators in the industry, such as Chumba. However, multiple social casinos like Chumba provide hundreds of avenues to explore casino gaming, and we’ll be exploring them in more detail today.
What is a social casino?
A social casino is a place where you can play casino games using coins or tokens that are specific to the site. You don’t have to worry about depositing your funds to play; you can use the site tokens or coins to play, and while the rest of the site will mirror a traditional digital casino, there is less of an emphasis on winning or losing your money.
Traditional and social casinos have a lot in common; however, they differ in payment methods and how they facilitate casino gaming. Everything else on the site or app is usually the same. Poker, roulette, blackjack and slot machines are prevalent in social casinos, just like they are with traditional providers.
So, while it might not seem like a huge difference, once you scratch the surface, you’ll see that this is a crucial reason why they’re two distinct entities.
A cost-effective approach to casino gaming
While using in-game tokens might seem a bit unnecessary for those who are looking for the rush that comes with winning a casino bet, the whole purpose of social casinos is to promote safe gambling and to put the emphasis on the quality of the game more than the endless quest to win money.
Although slot machine games aren’t the most challenging concept to understand, there are hundreds of types to explore. For example, you might want to check out the best candy-themed slots, or you might be into the more traditional fruit-themed games.
There are dozens of categories, including film and TV, Wild West, Asian and Irish. While traditional casinos might allow you to play free games via welcome bonuses or promotions, you will likely have to spend your funds while sampling the games. Not only do social casinos allow an alternative to this, but they also allow you to explore the types of games fully and cost-effectively.
Given that responsible gambling is such an integral feature of the maintenance and legislative agreements that casinos operate within, social casinos can manage their way around this and remove a lot of the potential harm and risk that comes with excessive gambling at traditional casinos.
Responsible gambling at social casinos
Unlike traditional casinos, where the stakes are often much higher, and there’s more potential of losing a significant amount of cash, social casinos have a much lower inherent risk. Social casinos are so different in this regard because they don’t fall into the same bracket as traditional digital casinos.
So, although traditional casinos are seeing a lot more activity online, especially over the last half a decade, social casinos mitigate a lot of financial risk. Once a considerable negative like this is removed, it appeals to a different type of player.
While you can purchase in-game tokens and win prizes at social casinos, the total removal of traditional payment wagers has resulted in them becoming a much safer alternative.
Despite not providing the same sort of pull for many casino gamers, there’s no denying that there’s a much more explicit emphasis on responsible gambling and ensuring you don’t lose too much money. Social casinos offer a genuinely unique substitute if you’re looking to gamble responsibly and want to avoid going through the specifics of setting up time or money limits.
Are social casinos safer than traditional digital casinos?
There have been several cyberattacks on traditional digital casinos over the last few years, and unfortunately, this number isn’t likely to drop anytime soon. Anywhere there is money, there will be opportunity, but there will often be rogue elements operating in the shadows, looking to take advantage of providers who might have holes in their approach to security.
Although social casinos will allow you to purchase in-game tokens, they deal with a lot fewer transactions when compared with their big adversaries in the traditional sense. While they’re not immune, hackers are more likely to target large, global online casinos, some of which handle tens of millions of dollars in transactions daily.
In a financial world that is forever changing with entirely new payment systems emerging as genuine contenders to the traditional banking system, casino gaming is a significant force in how people interact with their phones. Mobile app safety and cybersecurity remain among the industry’s top challenges.
With new payment methods evolving and sophistication of design posing new benefits and challenges, social and traditional casinos need to be on guard 24/7.
Different models to success
Due to the much smaller number of real money transactions that social casinos deal with, they have smaller profit margins and must be savvier when turning their platforms into successful models. Social casinos often benefit from not dealing with real money wagers and are not subject to the same fees and legislative requirements as regular casinos.
However, while this is a positive in some respects, it means they’re far less likely to turn a profit, especially as they’re in the process of starting their business. Social casinos need to develop unique business models and advertising campaigns. In the same way independent media has to fund itself organically, social casinos don’t benefit from the conveyor belt of success that the traditional industry is currently churning out.
One element of their success is offering social casino customers ways to purchase in-game tokens or incentivize winning prizes. However, social casinos are more dependent on on-site advertising and organic traffic, which help to drive up the price they charge for each advertisement.
Knowledge: The key ingredient in casino gaming
Depending on the casino game you play most often, you must have solid knowledge of how it works. Slot machine gaming is the most basic of the casino offerings, and it doesn’t take long to understand how the lines and different wagers operate. However, if you look at the table-based games at the casino, there’s more knowledge you need to play these games adequately.
Poker, for example, is the most challenging game to learn. The game itself has dozens of popular variations, all of which are variations on the original theme. It could be a steep and costly learning curve if you wanted to learn how to play poker in a live environment involving real money bets.
It is the only game where professional competition exists, so there is a lot of strategy and knowledge involved. If you’re going into a live game, you want to know how it works before you start placing your bets.
Purchasing literature and watching YouTube videos will help you learn the basic rules of poker, but most learning comes from a live gaming environment. Social casinos can offer this without the issue of losing money, so you can see how the table works, how other players play their hands and the inner dynamics of the game. This is arguably the most significant positive that social casinos have to offer.
The same applies to roulette and blackjack, of course, but they don’t have the same sort of rules to commit to memory, so they’re a lot simpler than poker and the variations and betting patterns that come with it.
Aside from the obvious differences, you can see that there’s a lot that separates social casinos from traditional online or brick-and-mortar ones. At the same time, they have some similarities that run through each sector like an iron rod. The critical differences in security, gaming safety and priorities on teaching how the game works are some of the other main points to consider.
Social casinos ultimately attract a different type of player, and some believe that social casinos are more aligned with purists. For example, professional poker players have been known to use social casinos to sharpen their skills instead of using traditional casinos and potentially losing their own cash. In addition to all these variables, the business models and designs are wildly different, so even from an operational perspective, there’s much more to consider.