Social Gaming - Is This The Future of Online Casinos?

Dec 04

Many players from all over the world enjoy playing social online casino games each and every day. Although social casino games are free to play, these share the same elements of normal casino games. Whereas before, you needed to go over to the nearest casino to enjoy a round of poker or two, the advent of technology has allowed many players to enjoy gambling on the go.

And with the rise of social media in the last few years, it wasn’t before long that you could enjoy online gambling on that platform as well. These days, you can now enjoy a wide array of online slots, scratch cards, table games and also poker games that you can play for free on social media sites. This fusion has sparked the phenomenon known as social casinos.

And so, for today, let’s train our focus on social gambling through both online and casino apps to see what the future holds for the two.

What is Social Gambling?

Simply put, social gambling is gaming on social media. Over the last few years, a lot of gambling operators have introduced social media games on Facebook and other social media platforms with the goal of reeling in more players.

Before this came to be, prominent gaming firm Zynga was already operating a real money online poker game on Facebook to UK players as early as 2014. All social gambling apps offer players the chance to play for free.

With Facebook becoming the most popular social media platform, it comes as no surprise that social gambling is particularly popular on Facebook. Research shows that 61% of all players who gamble on social media do this on the social media giant. Real money gambling on Facebook is, however, only permitted in certain countries that have been granted prior authorization. Since only a few countries are able to fulfill these criteria, free games and apps are likely to stay put and will continue to further dominate the social gambling scene.

Some of the most common games around on social media include slots, Texas Hold’em poker as well as blackjack, all of which can be played for free.

What are Social Casinos?

Brick and mortar casinos are establishments are familiar with, having been a dominant presence in many urban locales all through the years. These businesses are prominently featured in pop culture with many movies, books and music videos using casinos as the central theme.

Recently though, these casinos have been joined by more advanced online versions that already allow players to gamble from the comfort of their own home or on the move without the need to pay a visit to a purpose-made venue. They can also play and have interactions with gamers from all around the world, rather than just those within their vicinity.

Because of this technological innovation, conventional gamblers’ horizons have opened up considerably. There are casino options to suit everyone’s tastes and these selections continually develop. This stretches from the kinds of casinos available to the genres of the games that they have, as casinos wage wars to offer the largest and most diverse selections possible. These businesses have seen a substantial increase in demand for their retro-themed games, as well as their connective live casino and social offerings.

This surge has also extended to mobile platforms with online casinos available across multiple devices and operating systems. Being able to place bets on smartphones and tablets has no doubt paved the way for more socially integrated gaming systems.

Online casinos now utilize social media such as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more than just marketing games. Many of these social portals are fully integrated into the gaming experience. Players can play games straight from their social media app and then, share the results of their gameplay with their friends.

Gambling activities that are conducted on social media are referred to as “social casinos” and a lot of operators now offer these kinds of services. The games are developed to be played directly within social media platforms and link to the player's current profile for ease of use and much greater social flexibility.

Who Can Play?

Any player that is linked to the Internet on any device can go ahead and play social casino games. And the great news is, the majority of these games are free to play. The social aspect is enticing as players can link up with their friends and like-minded gamers from halfway across the globe to make the experience more exciting, meaningful and a lot more competitive. This feeling of being connected to a community, mixed with the convenience of play, is what makes social casinos so attractive to players of all qualified ages and levels.

Live casinos are prepared to become a big part of this growing equation. These are online casinos that allow players to come together in virtual gaming halls to compete for prizes. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of rooms that have live dealers and players can interact with the dealers and other players as if in a real-life casino. And another great thing about this is that finding a seat at the table is never an issue.

Live casinos cover all the popular casino games and there are even dedicated poker and slot machine rooms. The combination of social casinos and live casinos is just another burgeoning development that players and developers alike should look out for in this competitive sector.

What are the Key Features of Social Casinos?

A lot of social casinos provides players the chance to get their name on a leaderboard. This brings fame and kudos among friends and throughout the social gaming world. And, of course, the best players can win in-game prizes.

Social casinos are also bringing along traditional gaming essentials into casino games. This gamification essentially means that players play through numerous levels to unlock various aspects of the game, adding an extra layer of achievement. Players can even share rewards among their friends on these social platforms.

As new games are worked on, more skill-based play is being assimilated. This follows the trend that is currently being set by eSports and fantasy sports games, where the focus has shifted from random events and luck to actual skill. This is expected to entice a wider demographic of players to the social casino market.

The rise in popularity of virtual reality headsets would also help mold the course of social gaming as players look to interact in completely customizable gaming environments where they can meet players face-to-face.

The main goal is to raise the actual social interaction between players to generate real communities connected by their preferred games on their favored platforms. This would make it a lot easier to monetize games as players spend more time in the games, and advertisers have a clear picture of the profile of gamers in each sector.

As social gaming develops and grows into its own, more prominent and established names are being attracted to the market and this would mean more real money games. Experts project that this would bring massive growth to the market in the future.

What Does the Future Hold for Social Casinos?

Vicenç Marti, the CEO of Tangelo Games, recently said that despite somewhat sluggish that is brought about by new app regulations, social casinos are the future of electronic gaming. The industry has kept its resilience in the face of issues such as regional legislation and payment systems, many thanks to the way it embraces new innovations and fresh revenue streams.

The primary focus at the moment is on instant Facebook games but new platforms such as blockchain could see more changes and better growth as developers comprehend and then, subsequently use the power of related technologies.

In the middle of all these, there has been a fresh desire for online and land-based casinos to collaborate for the benefit of both industries. This could also yield new ingenuities, and closer alignment with regulators is also helping to mold the future of what is basically a global business.

To give you a better idea of just what the future holds for social gaming, here is a snapshot of how smart gaming industry innovators are turning their eyes towards the social casino market.

According to ResearchMoz, "The global social casino market is supported by various growth drivers, such as rising number of social media users, growing global population, budding internet penetration, emerging smartphones and gaming traffic."

Witnessing the future growth of this market, Tapinator, Inc., which is a developer and publisher of category-leading apps for mobile platforms, recently announced that it is working on a new social casino game that is slated to be introduced into the market very soon.

"This upcoming game features a slot mechanic, with innovative metagame systems that have proven their success in the world of real money gaming. The title is made possible through Tapinator's recent licensing deal with a major European real-money slots developer. The real-money version of the product is currently a top-performing slot game across over 200 online casinos in a number of European countries. The company will be announcing the details of this partnership closer to the game's launch."

Tapinator also added, "In 2018, the revenue for the social casino market reached $5.2 billion, according to Eilers & Krejcik. The social casino market grew 10.9% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2018. As a category, it is estimated that slots comprised over 70% of this revenue. Despite the significant revenue generated by slot games on mobile, there has been little innovation in the space.

Key developers have focused on improving production values, running live ops, and adding content. This has started to change with the success of Coin Master by the developer, Moon Active. Coin Master features a slot mechanic but its success is based on its metagame systems and social functionality. As a 'Top 15 Grossing' game on iOS, with an estimated $75+ million in annual revenue, Coin Master has proven the top-grossing potential for innovative mobile slot games."

"We are big believers in the social casino space on mobile and our social casino product, Video Poker Classic is 'Top 150 in Downloads and Top 100 in Grossing' within the Casino category on iOS. We look forward to using the expertise we've gained in the space to launch, what we believe will be, a successful slots product. The slots space on mobile has been a very lucrative area but has been sparse on innovation.

We are starting to see this change, with the introduction of innovative systems that promote player engagement progression and monetization. We believe that in 2019 we will see the launch of new innovative slot games that join Coin Master as top grossing products. Our expectation is that our licensing deal, combined with our social casino and mobile expertise, will allow Tapinator to successfully bring an innovative and proven slot game to mobile devices," explained the CEO of Tapinator, Ilya Nikolayev.

Global Market Insight also says, "The social gaming market is growing at a rapid pace on account of the increasing adoption of advanced gaming technologies, rising income levels, low cost of games, increase in online content, and digital distribution, which allow users to download the content on their systems. Popular social gaming genres, such as social casino is likely to drive the market growth during the forecast period due to the increasing social gaming traffic."

Bearing this in mind, many gaming firms are beginning to look into this direction, which lets users enjoy the buzz of gambling but without the over-the-top losses that usually come with real casino gambling. This is great news for consumers and gives companies a precious chance to gain popularity and include app purchases for profitability. Gaming is betting big on social gambling and based on current app usage numbers, so are consumers.