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Social casinos have increased in popularity in recent years, with even real money casinos branching into this entertainment-focused vertical. It is not, however, a new gaming vertical at all, with early social casino games being available on sites like Facebook, where fans would play free games and use their points to compete with their friends to gain higher placements on a leaderboard. Initially, social casino games were only available on social media platforms, but since 2019 there has been a growing number of standalone casino sites dedicated to this unique gambling vertical. In this guide to social and sweepstake casinos, we will discuss the differences between the two types of casinos, their legality, popularity, the available games, how they are monetised and their impact on safer gambling. What is a Social Casino? Social casinos are online gambling sites dedicated to bringing international players the best games and casino entertainment for free. The focal point of a social casino is to allow fans of casino games to extract as much fun and entertainment from the pastime as possible without spending money. These sites offer the full online casino experience with a comprehensive library of games in various categories, access to casino support staff and even a promotional section where additional coins can be purchased once the daily gaming coins have been played. What is a Sweepstake Casino? A sweepstake follows the same template the social casino uses. One notable difference is that they offer players access to lucky prize draws where products, items, and cash prizes are up for grabs. These sites offer players free daily coins used to play their available selection of games. They also have engagements where players can win special tokens that allow them to participate in Sweepstakes, also known as lucky draws. What Are The Various Coins and Tokens For? When playing at a social or sweepstake casino, it is handy to know what the various tokens you will encounter are used for. These two primary tokens are: Gold Coins: These are the daily free coins given to players. Once they run out, additional bundles can be purchased. Sweep Coins: These coins cannot be purchased. They can only be won or given as rewards for participating in the casinos. ✓Gold Coins: It is important to note that there is no financial return in terms of wins or any option to convert these casino coins into real money once they have been purchased. The only utility of these coins is to play the available fun casino games. Regarding promotions linked to these fun play tokens, bundles are offered with increased bonus tokens, access to VIP games, and even point boosters which will help a player climb the leaderboard more easily. Again, there is no cash value to this, only bragging rights. ✓Sweep Coins: These coins cannot be purchased because they are used to enter prize draws where players can win real money rewards. To further distance the money, they may have spent in pursuit of gaining these Sweep Coins, the value of the money spent bears no direct correlation to the cash value of any prizes that can be won. Are Social and Sweepstake Casinos Legal? It is a common misconception that playing blackjack, roulette, slots, or other casino games is gambling. The term “casino game” does mean gambling. However, it becomes gambling as soon as a player can place a real money wager that has the potential to result in a cash-value win commensurate with the value of the bet. Social and sweepstake casinos are legal in most of the world thanks to this small but significant legal distinction. It is such as important distinction that these types of casinos are legal across the United States, with the only exceptions being New York, Nevada, Idaho, and Washington. It is interesting to note in Washington that these gaming sites are not illegal but have not explicitly been made legal. Their legislation disallows any gambling activities that have not specifically been written into law as legal. Are These Types of Free Casinos Popular? Despite increasing online gambling regulation in the US and longstanding regulation in the UK and much of Europe, social casinos are gaining in popularity rather than decreasing. This growth in interest and participation will naturally result in growing revenue, as seen in the market valuation and growth projections provided by the Research and Markets Group. They place the current market value at $7.26 billion, projected at $9.25 billion by 2027. We double-checked these values, pulling a report from the Stratview Research company. They are not as bullish as their peers on the current value, valuing the market at $6.7 billion but their projection scales in line with theirs, with an $8.2 billion market cap in 2026. In a world where customers vote with their wallets, the current income generated by free-to-play social and sweepstake casinos proves they are meeting a necessary demand. Do These Sites Offer High-Quality Games? Poor “Facebook” game quality is one of the factors that dissuaded many slot fans from engaging with early social media free games. However, as the financial value of the sector became apparent and real money casinos looked to enter unregulated markets with a legal casino product, award-winning developers began retooling their titles for this purpose. Joining a renowned social casino will mean being able to play instantly recognisable Online Slots like Great Rhino Megaways by Pragmatic Play, Starburst XXXtreme by NetEnt, Imperial Fruits: 5 lines by Playson, 15 Dragon Pearls by Booongo and hundreds more. Playing at a social casino with a robust blockchain infrastructure, like Stake.us, also means accessing various provably fair games, including Crash, Limbo, Plinko, and many others. Fans of social and sweepstake casinos often have access to more game variety than players at regulated real money casinos, as there are no restrictions on licensed versus unlicensed providers, given that social casino games are not gambling. How Do These Casinos Support Responsible Gambling? Social casinos are valuable tools for players who need to play casino games but do not have the cash to play for real money. This option allows them to enjoy their favourite games in a low-risk environment without exceeding their allotted budgets. As licensed software developers and brands become more involved in this space, they have also begun implementing the same responsible gambling measures they offer real money players. These safer gambling features include: The ability to self-exclude from the social casino. Setting loss and spending limits. Providing help links and educational information packets. As with any real money casino, all social casinos offer 24/7 customer support via live chat, which ensures that players who need assistance can reach out day or night when in need.
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.