Unlike mobile casinos, casino apps promote sociability amongst friends who like to gamble in an environment where they don’t have real money on the line. There are apps versions of all the games you’d expect to find in a mobile casino, so whether you prefer slots, table games, bingo or poker, there’s sure to be a casino app out there for you.
Here at Casinoreef we spend hours testing out new apps to find the best ones for you. We’ve shared our expertise below, starting with the best casino app bonuses:
What is the difference between a casino app and a mobile casino?
The biggest difference between a casino app and a mobile casino is that with the latter, players bet with real money, whereas playing for fun tends to be the norm in casino apps.
Social interaction is encouraged with casino apps, with players able to invite and challenge their friends to play casino-style games like slots and poker in a way that wouldn’t be possible in a mobile casino, but with virtual currency and bragging rights at stake.
With casino apps, rewards and incentives are distributed based on interactivity and engagement, with progression within the apps the primary goal of players, as opposed to winning cash prizes.
The apps are downloaded to be used through social media platforms, or as standalone apps, whereas mobile casinos are accessed through players’ devices’ browsers.
Real money vs free apps
When using free apps, players can experience all the fun and excitement offered in real-money casinos, but without having to risk any actual cash.
Free apps afford players the opportunities to develop strategies and staking plans too. It’s the ideal environment for sharpening skills before graduating to playing for real.
Another advantage of the trying out the free apps before stepping up into real play is that it allows players the chance to familiarise themselves with the different games offered by different casinos. Many real-money apps give players the chance to play their games for free, so they can get a feel for/learn how to use their products before risking their own money.
The obvious drawback to using free apps is that players can’t win money they can actually withdraw. Real-money casino apps are required for this part of the experience.
Which free casino app is right for me?
It all depends on what type of games you prefer.
Zynga are one company in particular who have tried to provide games to encompass a wider audience, combining their famous poker games, which are incredibly popular on Facebook, with a range of slots and a separate branch of table games, while Playtika have a vast array of slots to try out, with the opportunity to do so in tournament format too.
Are casino apps legal?
The short answer is, yes. Play-for-free apps that are used on social media platforms like Facebook are legal all over the world, due to the fact that they are not taking real money on their games. For example, a spin on a slot using Playtika’s Slotomania wouldn’t cost players any actual money, just in-game, virtual currency.
Players can then buy extras within the game, like more virtual currency or extra lives, but this is seen as a product for sale, as opposed to a bet being made.
Casino apps that look to function as an online/mobile casino are not as common due to the intense regulations they face in order to make their products accessible on social media. This is largely down to gambling laws that change from country to country.
What is social gambling?
Social gambling is the playing of casino games with and against friends through social media platforms, and it’s an activity that, according to some estimates, is enjoyed by over 4 billion people per year.
The games can be played on desktop, mobile or tablet.
Owing to the legal restrictions many countries have in place on social gambling for real money, the majority of the games and apps tend to be play-for-fun. However, these play-for-fun games and apps typically offer in-app purchases, giving players the chance to buy extras such as coins and other benefits. ‘Gaming capital’ is usually what social gamblers are looking to win. This tends to take the form of badges, trophies etc., which are awarded after tasks have been completed.
Various social media platforms offer users the chance to get involved with social gambling, with the likes of Bebo, Google+ and, most notably, Facebook all providing services of this kind. They enable players to take on their friends, opponents they’ve never met, or even play solo if that’s their preference. Objectives for players tend to include winning virtual currency and improving their level within in the game. The more time you spend playing, the quicker your stature will improve, allowing you to unlock new games and bonuses before other players.
The big draw of social gambling is, as the name suggests, the ease with which it allows you to play with friends and family. The social media platform hosting the game or app enables players to locate their desired partners/opponents in a way that wouldn’t be possible in an online casino. Similarly, the ability to share achievements on social media lets players broadcast their successes to friends, offering them an insight into how well you’re doing and also providing a form of free advertising for the game’s developers.
The increasing popularity of social gambling has seen the industry’s value boom, with various estimates valuing it anywhere between $2-$4 billion. The bulk of revenue is generated through the in-app purchases previously mentioned.
How can I download casino apps?
Predominantly mobile-based, free casino games can be downloaded in the App Store and Google Play Store, depending on whether you’re an iOS or Android user.
The apps can also be downloaded via social media platforms. For instance, typing ‘poker’ into the search bar on Facebook will bring up all the free-to-play programs it supports, players enter their details and then they’re good to go.
Top casino app providers
Zynga, in particular, is a dominant force in the free app industry. Their poker software has huge popularity on Facebook especially. It’s estimated that over 130 million hands of poker are played on Zynga each day.
In addition to poker, Zynga also have their Hit It Rich casino, which boasts a vast range of slots with great graphics and big-name titles including The Wizard of Oz, Terminator and more.
Hit It Rich also offers new players a $1,425,000 in free credits as a welcome bonus, so players needn’t worry about having enough credit to play games for a while after they start out.
Much like Zynga, Playtika also specialises in designing apps for social gaming.
Playtika are best known for their slot games, with around 60 available to play on Facebook through their Slotomania suite of games. One of their key selling points is how they customise some games to suit specific players. Reel Friends, for instance, uses the faces of your Facebook friends as the icons on the reels. For those craving an extra competitive edge, Playtika also offers players the chance to get involved with live tournaments through their Tournamania format. For those looking for a bit of variety from slots, Playtika also provide table games and bingo too.
Playtika’s games are played with virtual currency, so there are no real cash prizes to be won. Welcome bonuses are typically awarded upon downloading their gaming platforms, such as Slotomania. If you download that particular platform on your mobile, for example, you’ll be credited with 20,000 virtual coins. More free spins and free coin bonuses are awarded as you improve your level in the game, which is achieved through increased interaction and engagement.
As with most social gambling companies, one of Zynga and Playtika’s most important sources of income is through in-app purchases, whether that is paying real money for extra coins, extra lives or boosts and bonuses that will help players complete their missions. The payment methods to make these purchases are very similar to a real casino, with well-known credit cards like Visa and MasterCard accepted, while money can also be transferred using PayPal and Postepay, among other mediums.
Top 5 tips for playing social casino games
- Take advantage of the various sign-up offers – big bonuses can be wonby signing up to a mobile version of a platform you usually play on desktop, for example.
- Sign up with the providers that offer a variety of games – this prevents boredom incurred through constantly playing the same type of game.
- Make sure your friends on social media also play the games – even though you can play solo, the whole point of social gambling is to play with/against friends.
- Share and like the games you enjoy– this improves your stature within the games.
- Remember you’re not using real money – this allows you to be more aggressive in your betting strategies than you might be if real cash was on the line, leaving you with a better chance to win bigger jackpots.
How do we review online casino apps?
Casino apps are great for players who enjoy gambling with friends but don’t want to risk real money in doing so. The wide range of games offered means there’s something for all players to enjoy, while the inclusion of features such as tournaments in these apps means the competitive edge is not lost.
Social gambling is another aspect of casino apps that is to be commended, allowing players to battle their friends in various scenarios in a way they’d never be able to do in an online, real-money casino.
Through their availability on social media platforms such as Facebook, casino apps are accessible to millions of players and as their popularity grows, the quality and quantity of games is only going to improve.