Social Casinos: How Its Growth Affects the Online Gambling Industry


Social gaming describes online games where players can engage with one another. Online gaming can include card games, slots, board games, and interactive social network games.

As players can make bets and pay for virtual casino money (e.g., $4.99 for $1 million in play money), social casinos are becoming the largest section of online gambling.

The Social Casino Market

The impact of the social casino market size is massive as it reaches tens of millions of players. Estimated at $6.2 billion in value, the mobile casino gaming industry is gaining momentum as more people enjoy gambling on the go.

While gamblers could not venture out to brick-and-mortar casinos during the pandemic, online games gave them positive experiences online where they can gamble in virtual environments without spending much of their own money.

Benefits of Online Features

Social casinos include paid and free versions of popular games (blackjack, poker, slots) where gamblers play online or download the app. Most sites offer free play, and users can pay for virtual cash online.

Because these games include colorful graphics, push notifications, and lucrative ways to add free virtual cash (spins, bonuses, scratch cards, contests), these sites can become addictive. Additionally, more social casinos include online versions of top-grossing social casino games (Game of Thrones, Buffalo Gold, Caribbean Poker).

Top social casino gaming companies include key market players like Zynga, Caesars, Scientific Games, Playtika, and Playstudios.

Market Growth and Monetization

The online gambling industry is increasing every year, with market growth driven by easy online access. Expect significant change in the coming years. Customers the market is converting most include casino distributors, suppliers, manufacturers, organizations, and government bodies.

What differs in the social casino market today versus Facebook’s mobile game introduction in the early 2010s is the games now offer more bonus levels and push notifications. Players can stay connected and receive emails with extra points.

With monetization from in-app purchases (for points, virtual cash), it is not uncommon to see players spend $24.99 in real currency for $500 billion in virtual casino cash.

Biggest Social Casinos and Titles

As games increase player spending limits, users can bet millions and win billions or trillions. Hence, virtual cash gives them hours of entertaining fun versus physical casinos, where the enjoyment ends when physical money runs out.

However, a concern is that only 25% of non-casino games generate revenue. In 2021, the average value per player increased from $11.88 to $12.28.

The most successful game title is Zynga’s version of Texas Holdem, which grossed $88 million in revenue (2021). Other popular apps include Slotomania, Bingo Blitz, and Coin Master, which saw IAP revenues of $73.98 million.

Social Game Outlook

While it spiked during the pandemic, social casino games are gaining popularity despite social distance easing.

In January last year, Take-Two Interactive bought Zynga for their mobile game portfolio. And yet, some social casino companies are diversifying to avoid over-reliance on gambling.

Playtika generates revenue from casino-themed games, but Zynga is decreasing in card and slot game segments. Coin Master is taking a lucrative approach combining microtransactions and in-app purchases to nearly $3 billion (lifetime player spend on mobile).



Is online gambling a growing industry?

Yes, it is increasing as people play on mobile devices instead of in physical casinos.

What are online social casinos?

Online social casinos let gamblers use virtual cash to play slots, table games, and specialty games.

How big is the social casino market?

With $6.2 billion in revenue, it includes hundreds of millions of online players.

Why is online gambling growing?

Players can gamble with millions or billions of virtual dollars for unlimited enjoyment.

What are the social impacts of gambling?

It can be addictive and more people isolate themselves in these virtual environments. Additionally, some gamblers bet more money with virtual cash.

What is the future of online casinos?

It is growing exponentially as more games become available and ease of use increases. Expect more AI assistance, cryptocurrency payment options, and e-sports betting.

What are the risks of social games?

Risks include gambling addictions, fraud, scams, and rogue sites that steal data.

Expectations and Impact

Social games are evolving robustly. Expect cryptocurrency advancements and AI to enhance customer marketing preferences in digital games, e-sports competitions, and sports betting apps.

New tools like deposit limits, self-exclusion, and superior encryption technologies will protect players, while enhanced security protocols protect operators.

Final Word

Given the appeal of social games in this expanding digital landscape, it is easier than ever to learn how to play casino games, and customer experiences are better than in-person casinos.

With hundreds of millions of online players playing and making in-app purchases on mobile devices, expect more blockchain, AI, and virtual reality trends to dominate in this $6.2 billion market.

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