There are many different facets that go into making that happen. You don’t just need excellent game content, but world-class software providers, platform diversity, social innovations, great customer service, and generous incentives, just to give a few examples. The genius of great social casino gaming is that it feels effortless, but there are so many different areas that an operator needs to get right.
Here, we are going to break down exactly what social casinos are, and what makes some head and shoulders above the rest.
The Main Aspects of the Top Social Casinos
As there are so many different facets to what makes social casino gaming so great, we thought we’d provide a brief bullet point list here to give you an idea of what to expect from the top social casinos. This is, of course, only intended as an overview and really only the operator’s imagination is the limit in terms of what social casino gaming can achieve.
- Social media integration
- Innovative ways to socialize
- Free coins, free spins, bonuses and gifts
- A wide selection of games
- Highly developed apps and easy to use desktop sites
- Supportive customer service
- Simple and fair in-game transactions
- Unlockable content
What is Social Casino Gambling?
A lot of people think that social casinos are defined by what they are not. They are not traditional gambling sites. You do not play these games with the aim of winning real money, and you also don’t risk losing huge sums on your bets either. There is no need for a gambling license for social operators either, because once again, social casinos are not dealing with real money gambling.
All of this is important to getting your head around the concept of social casino gambling. However, we are much more interested in what they do, rather than what they don’t. They provide free to play gaming experiences, with any payment for additional content being completely up to the individual if they wish to enhance their experience or increase how often they can play.
They also give you a way of interacting with friends and fellow players, often through social media, and should be available across a wide variety of apps, mobile platforms, and desktop sites. We’ve given you a shortlist and we’ll be breaking down how we review them shortly, but we would say that whether we’re looking at our House of Fun free coins review, Slotomania free coins review, Billionaire Casino free chips review, and plenty in between, that these are the basic requirements of what we would consider to be a social casino.
Virtual Stakes and Free Chips
The other thing which makes a social casino what it is are free coins and, often, free spins too. These games don’t use real money but this virtual currency provides virtual stakes and a way of progressing, keeping score, and is the benchmark for which the fun is built around. Sometimes, like with Huuuge Casino free chips, you’ll have a different token to focus on, but the purpose is still the same.
You can get these tokens for signing up, for logging in on certain social media platforms, and they can usually also be gifted or rewarded randomly. But these are how you play these games and are what you play for.
If you want to buy more because you enjoy the games so much and you want to be able to play for longer, you can do so, but you will not receive any money in return for winnings. This is more like putting money in an arcade game, but much more generous with how much time (in most instances) you get for your money. You are paying for entertainment, as opposed to gambling for real money. And if you don’t want to pay for that extra content, you don’t have to – it’s as simple as that.
Social Interactions and Shared Experiences
The appeal of the social elements of these operators is obvious – everyone likes sharing good experiences with friends and making new friends. But all this is tied together with the casino games.
What is really interesting about this type of casino operator is that when you take away the gambling element, you get to focus on how fun and well crafted these games truly are. If anything, the pressure from a software developer standpoint here is higher than any traditional casino option.
We’re not saying that traditional casino sites don’t have a lot of great games and offer really excellent experiences – we know many that do. But what puts the pressure on these social sites here is that there are no potential winnings to help mask the quality of the experience. They need to provide truly excellent games content to stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
The Advantages of Social Casinos
One of the biggest advantages of this type of casino operator over more traditional casino sites is the social element – after all, that is their main selling point. Being able to interact with your fellow players and influence their gaming experience, and vice versa, is one of the biggest appeals of playing these casinos.
Plus, they can add a new sense of interactivity to social media, helping to create a more positive and engaging environment that you can share with others. This is especially the case when we’re talking about games you can play together. Card games, in particular, provide the perfect environment to chat and play in an environment that is competitive but where there is not a chance of losing serious money. Many operators even have leaderboards to further enhance the sense of competition and fun.
Excellent Casino Games
However, you can choose from a wide selection of different game types, with many social casino operators providing a huge selection of slot titles. With no monetary risk, you can instead focus on the quality of these games libraries and appreciate all the different formats, themes, and features for how great they truly are. Social casino gambling is all about the fun factor, and if the games aren’t good, if the app or site doesn’t work right and if the social elements are poor, there’s nothing to hide behind.
That’s why good social casinos are very good indeed. In fact, one advantage we discovered here is that, away from the financial consequences of the traditional casino site, we finally got to appreciate how much we enjoy these titles purely as games. We discovered new favorites and found new respect for those we’ve enjoyed for years.
No Monetary Risk to Play
Speaking of financial consequences, that is, of course, a very big advantage for many. While you can pay for extra playtime, you’re not needing to risk any of your own money – and you are not gambling for real winnings. This not only means that these operators provide a safer environment, but they are also available to people who don’t gamble for religious or moral reasons, or those living in places where real money gambling is prohibited by law. Plus, the use of mobile apps means you can play wherever you want.
When it boils down to it, the key advantage of social casino gambling is obvious: it’s the fun of casino games that you can enjoy with friends, with a much lower risk.
Considerations When Playing at Social Casinos
When discussing social casino gambling, we have been careful to be clear that while the monetary risk is much more limited than a traditional casino site, there are still considerations to take into account. First off, while you’re not gambling with real money, if you choose to make in-app purchases, you are spending money. Obviously, it’s never a good idea to spend more than you can afford or wish to pay, so think carefully about how much you are willing to spend on this additional content.
Think about how much that entertainment is worth to you. If you need to, create a budget and stick to it. You can’t lose money through gambling like a normal casino, but you can overspend on additional content or coins, so bear that in mind and keep social casino gaming fun – just as it should be. Always remember, if you want to play, there’s plenty of free coins and tokens available, from Big Fish Casino free chips to High 5 Casino free coins, meaning that you don’t need to spend a lot, or anything, to enjoy these games.
Another point is that some people use social casino gambling as free practice for games they intend to gamble on with real money. That’s entirely down to them, and we can see how some people may use this to actually gamble less money. However, never assume that because you win during social casino gaming that means you will win at a real money casino. The risk is always there, and one game is not the same as another. Social casinos are meant to be fun: they are no guarantee of success elsewhere.
How We Review Social Casino Operators
Like we’ve said, there’s a lot of different elements to social casino gaming. We’ve discussed some of these elsewhere on this page but thought it was important to really break down exactly what we look for when it comes to these apps and sites. This will allow you to see piece by piece exactly what makes a good social casino, so you know what to look out for when discovering the right social casino gambling experience for you.
On top of that, it will also show you the lengths we go to in order to ensure that any recommendation we provide is given under the highest possible levels of scrutiny.
Security and Licenses
Social casinos provide the ideal solution to the USA’s often restrictive gambling laws. There’s no need for these types of operators to hold a gambling license at all, in fact, because they’re not providing real money gambling. They are entertainment – just like other popular mobile app games – and, therefore, allow people to play the casino games they love legally.
We also check that the operator provides reliable payment options with fair and reasonable fees and transaction times. Even though you’re not gambling with real money, if you buy in-app purchases, you still need to know that your money is safe. Even though no license is needed, all of this provides evidence that the site is adhering to decent standards of quality and security.
The bread and butter of social casino gambling is, of course, the games that are available. The quality of the games is first and foremost. We look at who developed them, their reputation amongst users and we also check them out ourselves to get a first-hand look at the kind of quality you can expect. In addition to this, we look at how generous they are. In other words, how long can you play them with your coins, credits, or other tokens? The longer you can play for less, the better.
There’s also variety to consider. Before we begin, we do want to point out that we’re aware that different apps and sites have different target audiences. Therefore, if a social casino operator chooses, for instance, to focus on slots, and that is their target audience, we would not consider that necessarily to be a negative.
What we do though is base our views on social casino gaming variety on how well they achieve their goals. So, if they wanted to offer classic casino games like roulette and table games, we review not only how good those experiences are, but what kind of variety of experience you can get from that concept. The more they can provide you in any genre, the better they will score in our analysis.
It could be a DoubleDown casino code, a welcome bonus, Bingo Blitz freebies, free coins, free spins or giveaways on Facebook – wherever they come from and whatever form they take, our expectations of social casino gaming promotions are sky-high. We value generosity and the ability to play for as long as possible without needing to add additional funds. Anything that tops up our playtime or gives us an extra incentive or virtual reward to play for is just fine by us.
We also really highly rate anything that improves the social elements of the operator. Promotions are different for a social casino, as they are not based on increased winnings – because there are no real money winnings available. They can, however, add value in a multitude of other ways, whether it’s by allowing you to interact with other players in new ways or unlock additional game content. That creativity and value are what we’re looking for here.
Accessibility and Design
When it comes to both the website and mobile app for social casino gambling operators, we expect nothing less than excellence.
The bar has already been set high by so many excellent examples, meaning we want an aesthetic that appeals to a lot of people, a structure that makes everything easy to use and find, and on a technical level, as close to flawless a performance as we can get. That means responsive touch screens, no slowdowns, the ability to instantly play games, and a smooth and seamless interface in general.
There are more elements to customer service for social casino gaming than you probably think. First off, there’s how the operator explains itself. This can be through a dedicated Help or FAQs section, or just more generally throughout the content. What’s really important though is that newcomers to the website or app – or even to social casino gambling in general – can understand exactly how everything works and know immediately how to proceed and make the most out of their offerings. People don’t always view this as customer service, but it is.
Often, informative and clear content means you don’t actually have to go to the customer service team at all. But if you do, we’re looking for a variety of contact options, including live chat, social media engagement, and email, to give a few common examples. We also give credit for the hours they are available, alongside the speed and quality of the responses.
Choosing the Right Social Casino For You
Something we feel is often overlooked is the personal element of these operators. The truth is we don’t think there is any individual social casino which we would view as objectively being the best. There’s too many variables and too many subjective elements for that to be the case.
We do, however, think there can be a best social casino gaming experience for you. We’ve gone through the different factors we consider when it comes to objectively assessing the quality of social casinos. Here, we’re going to discuss the things that you can consider alongside our recommendations to make sure that you’re not only getting a world-class gaming experience, but also an experience that is tailored to you, your needs and preferences.
Looks and Feel
We mentioned earlier that we do check out the aesthetic of a social casino site or app. This is true, however, we’re not here to tell you what looks good to you. That’s entirely down to your personal preference. What we do is look at how well we think a site pulls off a certain look. If they’re going for a late-night casino vibe, then a fluffy rabbit mascot might not work, for instance. Even then though, it really is down to you, so check out the options and see what feels right for you and what you’re after.
Mobile App vs Online Site
This is a more practical discussion, as to whether you prefer the mobile app or online site casino options comes down to how you access the internet – or at least, how you prefer to access this kind of entertainment. There’s no right or wrong answer, which is why we try to equally weigh up the quality of both, assuming both platforms are available and leave which you prefer down to you.
We mentioned before that we understand that some social casino options have different focuses and that picking a direction doesn’t make one necessarily better than the other: they just have different target audiences. And that target audience is, well, you. So, it’s down to you to decide what kind of social casino you’re looking for.
You may like slots, you may like table games, bingo, anything that’s available, really. You may want a little bit of everything, and that’s fine too. Deciding what you want to play is a big part of finding your perfect social casino.
Now, we may not make any assumptions regarding your preferred platform for an operator, but we do judge the availability of a social casino. In our opinion, more is better. The more app stores and social media platforms it’s available on, the better. We also feel the same when it comes to the variety of banking options. That said, what matters to you is whether it’s available through the platforms and methods of your choice.
Social casino operators, naturally, should be social. It’s in their name, after all. That said, there’s quite a bit of variety as to which different social elements they can incorporate. They could provide you with the full ability to play with friends and talk to them while doing so, for instance. Or, they could be more of a single-player experience with the social elements being available through things like sharing scores and leaderboards. Some may have a mix of both, or something rather different. However you like to play, there’s no wrong answer, just preferences.
Conclusion: Find Your Ideal Social Gaming Experience
While we conduct thorough analysis of all the best social casinos to ensure they meet our high standards, we always encourage you to check them out for yourself too. You can use our reviews and recommended sites as a starting point for some of the most popular social casino offerings, but gain your own insights into the appearance, promotions, games content and unique features of each site or app, so you know you’re getting a fun-filled and social gaming experience that ticks all of your boxes.