The online casino industry is always trying to find new ways to stay ahead of the game. By staying one step ahead of the crowd, casino operators and innovators bloomed and cemented themselves in the online world very quickly.
Recently, there have been those in the industry calling for online casinos to make a change to how they function and the question has been asked: Why aren’t online casinos more social?
Social Casinos: A Stellar Rise in Popularity
Free casinos (or social casinos) are very popular around the world. Every day, more people sign up to join these anonymous sites and apps where free versions of popular casino games can be enjoyed with tokens or free cash.
More than just a way to play casino games without the risk of losing real money, social casinos have a unique aspect that players seem to be searching for: chatrooms.
Whether in the form of chatrooms in an app or via forums, being able to connect with other players makes the experience of free casinos that much more appealing. Does it mean that these casinos are perfect or free from any issues? Definitely not, but being able to chat to friends you’ve made across the globe while playing free casino games has a certain appeal.
Often done using anonymous usernames and random images as profile pictures, chatting via free play apps is a huge hit. There are moderators present to ensure that the conversations stay safe and that there is no spam. Players greet each other like old friends and often connect each day when they log in to collect daily rewards while playing their favourite games.
Having experienced this myself, the conversations in these chatrooms are often not related to the games being played at all. Instead, questions about the weather, what kind of nightlife can be found in different cities and even checking in on more personal aspects of each other’s lives can be seen. Of course, there are those just popping in to ask for a quick referral code but for the most part, the social aspect of these apps can be a lot of fun.
Do Online Casinos Need a Social Aspect?
As more people begin to wonder why online casinos aren’t open to adding this level of social connectivity, the question of whether it’s needed or wanted comes to mind.
When we consider how popular live dealer casino games have become, and the social aspect they bring to the virtual table, it seems that real-money players are also looking for a connection. But could a chatroom at an online casino cause more harm than good? Let’s take a look at the possible arguments that could pop up.
✓ Possible Con: Would chatrooms encourage players to spend more time at online casinos?
This is a real concern for regulators and those who advocate for stricter responsible gambling rules at online casinos. And for good reason, of course. The chance that chatrooms and more social features could encourage more time spent at a casino is a factor that must be considered.
However, if the chatrooms functioned as they do at many free casinos, chatting only takes place outside of gameplay in a separate part of the site or app. This means that while players may spend more time at the casino, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be spending more money.
✓ Possible Pro: Could a social connection reduce problem gambling?
In 2019, GambleAware and the Gambling Commission published a report that revealed the connection between problem gambling, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. The report showed that “problem gamblers were more likely to feel lonely and isolated from other people.”
Another study done via a survey of US residents revealed that those who play games online can forge deep relationships as they do so. While this study focused on regular video games, the fact remains that humans are sociable by nature and connecting when playing is totally normal.
It stands to reason then that having a social chat function in an online casino could in fact reduce problem gambling as players use their time to chat, rather than to gamble. If someone who struggles with impulse control had a space to chat safely with online friends instead of making another deposit, would that not be better than having them log off only to visit a different online casino and keep playing?
Moderators in chatrooms could also use the space as a way to remind players to take a break, reiterate using responsible gambling tools, and even offer assistance to those who may need a link or phone number for an organisation that can help.
Many online gamblers do so from the comfort of their homes while alone. Chatrooms could be a social outlet that can provide companionship and a needed distraction. And it would be an interesting addition to the online gambling experience.
Looking to the Future
The online casino industry is always looking to the future. Whether it’s considering the possibilities of AI or VR or finding new ways to make online casino games more immersive, there’s always something new on the horizon.
While online chatrooms and forums are not a new idea, adding them to online casinos could make a huge impact. Whether or not operators will agree and begin to implement more social ways to play remains to be seen.
Hopefully, the popularity of live dealer casino games and the social outlets they provide will prompt operators to attempt something new in the industry and allow players to be more than just numbers and letters but provide a virtual voice to the casino conversation waiting to be had.