Social Casino Apps vs. The Real Thing: Which One’s Better?
By Simon Burns On 13 Sep, 2017 At 09:44 PM | Categorized As Special Feature | With 0 Comments

You wouldn’t believe how popular casino games are on smartphones. According to statistics published by market research expert Verto Analytics, casino slots were the fifth most popular game genre played by smartphone owners on a global scale in 2016, beating card games, racing games, and RPG card games by quite a few million monthly unique users. Social casino apps like Slotomania, DoubleDown, and Big Fish Casino are constantly among the top grossing iPhone apps in North America, and they are pretty popular in other areas of the world, too. They are, of course, far more widely available than the “real thing” – operators like the Vegas Palms have no access to the US market, where social slots are especially popular and are frowned upon in markets like Canada and Australia. This in spite the fact that many consider the Vegas Palms to offer the best Canadian mobile casino app for iPhone and Android devices. This raises a question, though: how do these social casino apps measure when compared to the real thing? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Game variety

Slotomania, one of the most popular social casino apps currently available on iOS and Android, has around 150 slot machines its players can play on their computers and smartphones alike. This number of games is similar to what the Vegas Palms Mobile currently has to offer. But when it comes to other platforms, social slots fall way behind the variety of the real money gaming business.

The Vegas Palms currently has close to 400 titles that can be played free of charge on its desktop website, and more than 750 included in its downloadable casino suite (Windows only). There are other online gaming venues that offer an even bigger game variety, though – some of them have libraries that easily exceed 1,000 titles.


Social casino games can be played on smartphones and – usually – through Facebook. This makes them accessible to virtually anyone with an internet-capable PC or a smartphone in their pockets. Real money operators are also accessible to anyone – with quite a few exceptions depending on the policies enforced by their local gaming regulators. While completely blocking access to certain gaming venues is rare, it’s not unheard of, hampering some players’ ability to make use of their games.


Social casinos usually function by the “freemium” business model: the games can be played free of charge but extra benefits can be bought for real money. This can lead to pretty strange situations. In 2015, a woman from Illinois, USA, has initiated a class-action lawsuit against DoubleDown Interactive LLC, the publisher of the popular social casino app DoubleDown Casino, claiming that it was, in fact, providing unlawful gambling services to its players. This after she purchased virtual currency worth over $1,000 without any hope to cash out her winnings. The case was, of course, dismissed the next year.

Players at real money operators can also play their games completely free of charge – they don’t even have to register an account when playing through their desktop websites. They do need to register to play with their downloadable suites or their mobile versions, but they can log on choosing “Practice mode” and play free of charge. In this case, of course, they can’t win real money in the process – to do that, they need to make a real money deposit and play at the casino in “real money” mode. In “practice mode”, players can claim as many virtual coins as they like, with no restrictions whatsoever. This makes real-money gambling apps a potentially much more cost-effective option than the social variant.

It’s hard to decide which variant is better. Real money operators probably appeal more to true fans of casino games but the social variant is the more popular among casual players, especially those who like to brag with their big wins on social networks. Which one of the two do you prefer?

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Simon Burns

About - Simon Burns is the editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. He has been a fan of technology for over twenty five years and loves playing with gadgets and spending time with his family. You can get in touch with him via the ‘contact us’ section of the site or on Twitter by following @smartappreview

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