Difference Between Social & Real Money iGaming

Online gambling has exploded in popularity around the globe in the past decade. However, today, most people who enjoy this pastime do so at platforms operating from smaller foreign nations that accept an international clientele. That is so on account of most countries’ laws that have a strict anti-gaming stance or because they still need to pass legislation that deals with their residents enjoying games of chance remotely. That is also the case with the US, where only six states have done this. They are Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan, West Virginia, and New Jersey, with Rhode Island joining this pact in March 2024. Hence, social casinos have gained sizeable steam in recent years.

Without question, the social casino sector in the US has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity, with companies like Zynga, Playtika, SciPlay, and DoubleU Games entering the North American market in a big way through various apps. This article will detail what differentiates these gaming platforms from traditional real-money gambling hubs online. 

Wagering Types & Monetization Models

Naturally, when one visits a real money Web-based casino, they do so to test their luck on classic and novel gaming products like those found at brick-and-mortar locales, using actual currencies. The latter term refers to established forms of payment like euros and dollars. So, most tactics and rules in play at physical gaming venues also apply to their digital counterparts. That means that anyone can follow the tips of Bill Krackomberger on online casinos, just as well as implement the pieces of advice this famed gambler dishes out on YouTube at their nearby gambling venue.

Also, in the modern age, many Internet gaming hubs have moved to adopt crypto transactions, diversifying their payment arsenals to cater to new demographics and players who crave anonymity and convenience.

Social casinos, on the other hand, do not accept real money wagers. They utilize virtual currencies (often gold coins) that users buy with real money. Winnings accumulated in this currency can then be redeemed for prizes. Or, in some cases, for cash rewards or gift cards. Consequently, they primarily incorporate a freemium model, providing access to games while offering in-app purchases for additional virtual currency or other features. The monetization here is chiefly based on players’ optional spending. Not their gaming activity, which happens at real money casinos, where operators generate revenues directly through users’ bets/losses.

Legality & Regulation

Most high USA-ranked real money casinos are based in foreign countries, operating under the watchful eye of these regions’ regulators. For example, Antillephone N.V. and Gaming Curacao are two of the four Curacao master license holders authorized by this nation’s government to issue sub-licenses to fit operators. In the six mentioned US states, these territories have created their regulators, who license and monitor real money online casino hubs. For instance, in New Jersey, gaming sites are overseen by this state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Regarding social casinos, these websites and apps enjoy a more relaxed legal environment. That stems from the fact that no one is wagering real money there. Still, despite this, some jurisdictions may regulate specific aspects of social gaming. Others may outright ban citizens from enjoying this pastime, classifying the activity as gambling. Nevada, Washington State, and Idaho do not allow them. But in others that do. Usually, the permitted access age is eighteen compared to the twenty-one for gambling.

Bonuses & Various Other Promotions

The online casino sphere heavily leans on welcome deposit matches and VIP benefits for loyal players as enticement factors to lure gamblers to their platforms and grow their user pool. It would be strange to stumble upon a quality Web gaming hub that does not offer free slot spins or free-play funds up to a specific amount for a minimum deposit sum. Moreover, these platforms also seek to treat frequent users with various perks such as higher withdrawal limits, personalized support, tailored bonuses, gifts, and more.

On the social casino side, the promotions largely rest in operators giving away more virtual currency in exchange for regular activity. Some may even award extra coins daily for those who log into their accounts at least once every twenty-four hours.

Risk/Reward & Entertainment Factor

Social casinos largely look to feature the same types of games as their real money counterparts. They mimic much of the gameplay found at sites/apps that accept actual currencies but do not offer the same thrilling experience because there are no massive looming prizes. No one can win a life-altering jackpot at a social casino. In contrast, real money platforms have a reputation for supplying wins in the millions on stakes of less than a dollar.

In real money, players expose themselves to the inherent risk and reward of potential winnings and losses. The financial stakes add excitement because they directly impact a player’s financial standing. Social casinos lack this, and they do not feature the same anxiety that comes with losing actual funds or winning real money. As such, they create a more casual and risk-free environment.

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