For all that online casino gaming has become a dominant web industry, there are several niches emerging as spin-offs. For example, there are now hundreds of casinos accepting cryptocurrencies as payment. There’s also fervent talk about virtual reality casinos taking things to the next level.
However, the concept of the social casino is quietly bubbling away. The idea of free-to-play games between friends online isn’t anything new, but the demographic of the ‘casual player’ is still growing ever larger.
But what exactly do social casinos have to offer, and what should players look for when selecting one to play at?
What are social casinos?
Social casinos, also known as sweepstakes typically provide players with opportunities to compete in tournaments and challenges. While traditional online casino games allow players to bet and potentially win prizes, social games take away much of the gambling aspect.
Many social casinos don’t always require payment. There are several free game opportunities available online where it’s still possible to win prizes.
In some cases, social casinos may request token membership or subscription fees, or they may request payment for in-game purchases, such as tokens or chips. It’s a more ‘casual’ slant on traditional online gaming in every sense of the word.
What should players look for in a social casino?
It’s easy to assume that all social casinos fit the same mold. However, there are multiple features and facets to these platforms that new joiners may not be aware of.
Let’s take a look at the features and games that players can compare before deciding upon a specific casino to join.
Security and safety
While many social casinos won’t expect players to pay any money to get started, it is still important to compare security features.
Players should look closely at local regulations – is it legal to register and play at this specific site based on their location? What payment processors does it use? Is the site accessible via HTTPS, a secure protocol?
Players should always compare certificates when registering at new social casinos. SSL certificates should always be up to date to assure the safety of anyone visiting. These are easy to find and learn more about through the ‘lock’ symbol to the left of the address bar.
Range of tournaments and events
Many social casinos thrive on tournament calendars and event schedules. This allows players to get into the social side of gaming. Players may be able to compete against one another to get high scores, for example.
Tournaments will vary from site to site, which is why it’s worthwhile taking note of differences such as prizes and entry requirements. Some social casinos won’t expect any form of monetary entry for players to take part. Others, meanwhile, may expect a token amount to allow entry and registration.
Reputable and reliable casinos will share these details upfront. Players should, however, also take the time to learn more about what existing players have to say.
Some tournaments may be based around slot games, while others may ask players to try to get the best score possible on table games and roulette.
Given that all tastes are slightly different, these features are likely worth comparing between casinos and platforms.
Range of games and tables
Of course, the games and tables on offer at social casinos will vary depending on the site, as well as the development studios taking part.
For example, many social casinos focus mainly on slot games. Traditionally, players at online casinos would be able to try these games by placing bets on each spin of their reels. At social casinos, players may choose to try such games casually, or for a token fee at registration.
Slot games, even at social casinos, have evolved considerably over the years. Different themes, visuals and bonus features easily separate the different games available. Also, games providers, such as Microgaming and NetEnt, may have different approaches to how they design and build their slots.
Table games are traditional casino pursuits that you may find in a physical venue. For example, social casino players may find unique spins on roulette, craps, blackjack, or even poker.
The added twist for social casino players is that they can compete alongside other participants. This is particularly notable through highly social games such as poker.
Online poker has long since allowed people to compete against one another to win cash prizes. However, social casino poker dials this down a little so that it is more casual.
What may surprise some people is that these games can be enjoyed without needing to bet using real money. Social casinos take table games and slots down to their core entertainment facets, without the risk that can arise through real gambling.
It’s safe to assume that the majority of social casinos will be accessible on mobile devices, but to what extent?
For example, players may wish to compare apps and mobile sites from case to case. Does a casino offer a downloadable app, or will users simply have to access games through their mobile browsers? As always, tastes may vary here.
An app is not always a good indication of a casino’s quality, but for many, it can provide a faster, more intuitive experience.
Beyond this, how do menus and options appear on smaller screens, comparatively? One social casino may be easier to navigate on smartphones than another, which is why taking sites for a ‘test drive’ is always important.
Social casinos present casual players with an opportunity to enjoy classic casino games without the high risk. Before signing up for an online casino, it’s always worth taking the time to read what others have to say.
It’s likely that social casinos will be around for some time to come. There’s always going to be a thirst for casual twists on Vegas classics – and for this reason, there will always be the need for players to be discerning.
Disclaimer: This article contains sponsored marketing content. It is intended for promotional purposes and should not be considered as an endorsement or recommendation by our website. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and exercise their own judgment before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.