Social Casino – How ‘Free’ Online Casinos Came Into Their Ownธันวาคม 6, 2019 Off By admin
If you think about it, the term social casino is an oxymoron. Times two
First, most social gamers are parked behind an iPhone or computer screen somewhere, all by their lonesome, even as they engage in virtual slots, keno or poker with their online “friends.” Not really very social.
Second, a social casino isn’t a casino at all, but a “freemium” version of same (though some players shell out plenty of dough for virtual coins, more playing time, digital tokens for pals and so on).
Whether the term is accurate or not, social casino games are widespread, wildly popular, and growing. According to a study by Eilers & Krejcik, the value of the global social casino market in 2018 exceeded $5 billion, growing 11 percent in the final quarter alone. That momentum is expected to increase, with some projections at 20 percent per year.
There seems to be room to grow—a 2016 Superdata report estimated there are 170 million active social casino players around the world, outnumbering casino gamblers four to one. Their favorite game by far is slots, and the player profile aligns with the casino slot demographic: mostly women, 40 years of age or older.
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The Rise, Fall & Rise of Online Gaming and Social Casino
Online casinos became widespread in the 1990s, but were cut short in the U.S. by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which sent most real-money operators packing.
The free-to-play models that remained were perceived by some as a sort of placeholder until real-money games returned.
But they also proved to be a crackerjack loyalty and branding tool, and social casino gaming became an industry unto itself, a separate entity with a largely separate fan base—though there is “significant crossover,” observes Jeff Berman, chief commercial officer at social gaming supplier GAN.
“There will always be people who want to play socially versus people who want to play for money,” Berman says, “but with our partners who operate both simulated and real-money gaming, we’ve found that the two (models) are in fact complementary.”Based on a study of its social gaming clients
“Social games are practice for their real-money gaming habits, whether online or offline. Qualitatively, when we talk to consumers they say, ‘I believe I get better at this, at slots and table games, by practicing online on social games.’”
A Busy Intersection
GAN blurs the distinction by referring to social gaming as “simulated gaming,” and says it attracts a full spectrum of players—old and young, landbased and online, women and men.
“We have plenty of cohorts who are male who are playing table games (and slots),”Berman says
“The pan-demographic is widespread, just like you see in typical gaming.”
Thanks to social games, he adds,
“our clients get more players in their doors, and they’re playing more. So we have found conclusively, with our brick-and-mortar clients who use our simulated gaming platform, a very big lift of visits on-property from the cohort of their users who play online. And on-property, their ADT is also significantly more.”
Aside from practice, these players play to “scratch their itch when they can’t play at a casino,” Berman says.
“Also, there’s plenty of data to show that the reason people don’t go play table games specifically at a casino is because there’s a lot of pressure. People don’t want to sit down at a blackjack table because they’re afraid of messing up the deck for other people. So learning and practicing online not only helps people get better, but more comfortable.”Berman says
For strictly social players, the appeal of the pastime is not gambling to win money but casual entertainment, interaction, competition and one-upmanship—bragging rights for topping the leaderboard.
The white paper Social Casino Gaming on the Rise
by Alison Drain of the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program says social casino games are viewed as “a phenomenal tool” by industry leaders that “extends ‘the house’ to an online platform and creates a deeper relationship with customers, as well as driving visitation to the casino floor.”