Social casinos generally are known to provide online casino gaming without offering any opportunity of winning real money. At the end of March, the Australian Communications and Media Authority released a market snapshot of social casinos. This document is intended to provide information regarding industry trends and consumer habits.
Social casinos provide casino-like gaming without any chance to win real money. However, users can often still purchase “play” money chips that can be used to play casino games for entertainment purposes. It should also be noted that the majority of these kinds of games are designed to be played on a smartphone or tablet device.
It is also important to note that social casinos are not generally regulated by the ACMA or the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 because these businesses do not offer players a chance of winning. Instead, the players are only participating in a “pay-to-play” mobile game, much like any other mobile game. The ACMA has been on quite a tear including when it recently blocked No Deposit Kings and a few other online gambling sites. Fortunately for the social casino operators, these regulations and provisions do not apply.
What is a Social Casino?
Social casinos are primarily known as operators that offer casino games like blackjack and slots. The main difference between a social casino and a real commercial gambling operator is that a true social casino does not offer any chance of winning or withdrawing real money. The games only exist to simulate the gambling experience.
Most of the time, social casinos allow players to download the app for free. The apps usually provide new players with an allotment of free coins to get started and play. Social casinos will then extend players offers to purchase coins or chips to continue playing or make larger wagers.
As the ACMA puts it, social casinos essentially offer a form of “simulated gambling”. Social casinos have exploded in popularity of late with the industry achieving a $7.3 billion market cap as of 2021. The ACMA’s market snapshot estimates that over $300 million has been spent on social slot games alone.
Major Social Casino Companies in Australia and Around the World
According to the data from the ACMA documentation, 60% of the global social casino market is comprised of the five largest brands in the space. The five largest brands are Moon Active, Playtika, Aristocrat, SciPlay, and Zynga.
According to Stratview Research, there is a higher demand for social gaming in developed countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia. This is thought to be attributable to the widespread availability of smartphones and a larger presence of key players. In short, countries and areas with knowledge of these kinds of games and the means to play them are the areas with the highest some of the highest prevalence.
The United States is the largest market by far comprising 60% of the entire market. In an interesting tidbit, although India is not one of the top five markets for social casino gaming, India did lead the first half of 2022 in terms of social gaming downloads.
As we can in reviewing the chart in the photo above, the largest brands in the online social casino space are bringing in a significant amount of revenue. When considering that these casinos do not offer players an opportunity to win, it seems a bit mindblowing that Moon Activethe most successful brand in the space by revenue, brought in $1.8 billion between January of 2020 and December of 2021.
If we take a closer look at a few of these brands and their products, we can see many similarities. Playtika, Aristocrat, and SciPlay mostly offer slots while Moon Active operates a bit differently by offering a small portfolio of social casino games that include casual visuals and game mechanics rather than more traditional slots. Zynga is primarily known for offering free poker through the Zynga Poker app but the brand also offers slots.
Similar Casinos and Social Gambling
In addition to the companies discussed above, it is also worth mentioning another subset of online gambling that is quite similar to the social casino model. While true social casinos like Zynga do not offer players a way of winning real money, there are other “social” casinos that utilize a similar model to actually perpetuate real money gaming.
Brands like Room Casino and Global Poker mostly use “play” gaming chips to specifically disguise their real money gaming offerings. These kinds of sites often do offer customers the ability to cash out or win real money.
The way that this works is that these so-called “social” casinos will have two separate currencies that players can use to play their games. If we use Chumba and Global Poker as examples, we can see that players can purchase Gold Coins or Sweeps Coins. While Gold Coins offer truly “social” gaming with no opportunity to win real money, Sweeps Coins actually mimic a real US dollar. 1 Sweeps Coin is worth $1 and players can cash out in a variety of ways, some of which are easier than others.
Why Play at a Social Casino?
Social casinos are widely estimated to be the most popular kind of mobile game. There are around 85 million daily players worldwide and there were approximately 1.39 billion downloads in 2020.
As demonstrated in the chart provided by the ACMA above, the global social casino market has been growing rapidly and is expected to grow around 5% per year through 2025. The question you may be asking yourself which crossed our minds was: Why would so many people want to pay money to play a casino-style game that offers no potential wins?
In the ACMA’s newly released snapshot, we can see that a company called Aarki has provided a detailed look at some of the main demographics and how the average social casino user usually looks. They estimate that 63% of social casino players are employed (and married) while 86% of users earn in excess of $75,000 per year.
While it is a bit difficult to nail down what these indicators really mean, there are a few additional items to note. Players who prefer games like slots, card games, and bingo tend to be over the age of 45. Social casino gaming is almost evenly split between male and female players.
An Australian study referenced by the ACMA compared 521 non-paying and paying social game players who were willing to take part in an online survey. The research concluded that paying players tend to be male, younger in age, have a university education, and even speak a language that is not English.
One other notable portion of the market snapshot is a list of motivations for playing online social casino games. Although research is still early, recent studies suggest that common motivating factors include having fun or relaxing, alleviating negative emotions, addressing boredom, to practice for real money gambling, as a substitute for real gambling, and for the challenge.
Play For Real Instead to Win Real Money
Although social casinos are clearly on the rise and gaining traction worldwide, it seems like it would make more sense for folks to either play for free without paying for any additional coins or products. Alternatively, you can play real casino games at a reliable and reputable online casino. The vast majority of legitimate online casinos like Cafe Casino and Ignition allow players to play all of their casino games for free if they so choose.
Of course, you won’t be able to win any real money if you go to a reputable online casino and choose to play for free play only, but you can experience casino-style games like slots without any cost whatsoever. These kinds of free games are widely on offer to allow players to try games before deciding if they want to wager real money, so it just doesn’t make a ton of sense to choose to play at a social casino over an online operator like Ignition Casino.
At ProfessionalRakeback.com, we have prepared a detailed guide to help you choose the best online casino in the United States. For Australian players, you may wish to instead peruse this page dedicated to the top offshore casinos that cater to Aussies.
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