The online casino industry is worth billions of dollars worldwide – but how did it get this way?
Lots of things have contributed to the online casino industry’s popularity and success. Some people play for the love of games and the thrill of earning rewards. Others simply enjoy the challenge and like to compete against skilled players with a lot of experience. As social media platforms expanded globally and gained more popularity, social games became widespread. There are a lot of touchpoints between the social games found in an online casino and the social games on social media platforms. Social games have also helped raise the podium of online casinos, and social media had a huge influence on the development of the gaming industry. Here, we will look at how social games have helped online casinos grow.
The first online casinos appeared in 1996 and within two years the first internet poker game had commenced, closely followed by industry regulations, like the Regulations Concerning Interactive Gaming established by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
Within just five years of the birth of online casinos, there were approximately eight million internet users playing casino games around the world.
Aerial view of the traditional casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada
It did not take long for these types of casinos to gain momentum and build an even bigger following. Just a few years later, in the early 2000s, social casinos followed suit. However, it was not until the expansion of social media platforms, which became vehicles for social games, that social games found a larger fanbase. Online casinos were also able to grow due to the growth of social games, which continues today.
Social games are not the same as online casino games. Nevertheless, there are many similarities between the two, which is part of the reason why people who play social games quickly start playing games in online casinos as well. Here are some key characteristics of social games:
Free to play
Social games do not require any stakes to play. They can be accessed through websites, apps or social media platforms and players can start playing instantly without registering card details. Because it's so simple to start, these games attract people from different walks of life, including those that would not class themselves as risk takers.
Despite these games being free to play, this does not mean that purchases are not possible. These games do usually include micro-purchases, enabling gamers to buy things within the game. Examples include tournament entry fees, special tokens or bonuses. In 2011, Facebook launched Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that enabled players to purchase items in one of their most popular social games at the time, Farmville.
Famville Sweet Seeds (by Sabrina Dent on flickr.com)
Chat rooms and leaderboards
Social games often include private chatrooms for players to talk about the game, as well as leaderboards to track the best scores. This encourages players to interact, share their experiences, and raises engagement.
Most reputable online casinos such as Royal Vegas CA offer a live casino service, and this enables players to enjoy social games in real-time. Users can easily communicate through chat and enjoy an immersive experience.
The most popular social casino games have been known to include bingo games and poker tournaments. However, slot games also have a large following in the social gaming world, and these slot games can vary greatly. They are much more advanced than the first slot games that came to market and they are often made into tournaments.
The difference between bingo, poker, and slot games highlights just how large and diverse the groups of people who play social games are.
However, social games are not for everyone. They require players to interact and they are generally enjoyed by extroverts. If you are a person who likes to enjoy games during your downtime or alone time, the social aspect may actually be negative at times. Moreover, the community chat function often found on these games may distract you from your game and become a nuisance. Social games may also require you to create a user profile, and this might seem like a waste of time for people who just want to get on with the game.
On the one hand, social media has launched social games into the stratosphere by making them well-known and accessible to a wide audience. People who may not have been interested in gaming in the beginning are now playing them daily and sometimes make the next step to playing in online casinos.
Social media heavily promoted games and some of them became famous brands. Games like Farmville received so much exposure that they even brought into existence digital currencies. Online casinos have followed this example and transformed some games into brands.
Social gamers are more likely to use their mobile devices to play these games rather than desktop PCs. This means that these games become easily accessible on the move. Online casinos cater to mobile users as well by developing dedicated apps optimized for a wide range of devices and available on all major operating systems.
As online casinos continue to develop mobile apps and become more accessible, the surge of online casino gamers is likely to increase. Some of the new users come directly from social media platforms. Another reason for the growth of the online casino community is that more secure methods of making payments are now possible thanks to cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology plays a major role in developing secure payment methods and in assuring transparency and better protection of players' personal data.