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Online Casino

The Real-Money Casino Pros and Cons Online

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The US consulting company Grand View Research reported the value of the global interactive gambling market stood at $57.54 billion in 2021 and projected further growth of 11.7% by 2030. The increase in internet penetration and mobile device usage are the main drivers of this growth.

Online casinos are now more popular and widespread than ever, with real-money gamblers having a broad choice of options at their disposal. Let’s move on to conventional gambling sites and see how they compare to social casinos in terms of advantages and disadvantages.

THE PROS OF REAL-MONEY ONLINE CASINOS

Online casinos have entirely transformed the way people gamble these days, offering greater flexibility, diversity, and convenience to players worldwide. Undoubtedly the biggest perk here is that you get to cash out your winnings if you experience an unexpected windfall.

Players Can Win Actual Cash

The biggest difference between social and real-money casinos is that the latter provide players with the opportunity to win real cash and withdraw it from their balance. Furthermore, licensed gambling sites tend to facilitate secure, simple, and speedy withdrawals, with winners typically receiving their money within several business days.

Richer Gaming Libraries

Most real-money casinos outperform their social counterparts by a large margin where diversity is concerned. The best gambling sites feature thousands of enticing slots, table games, and live dealer options, catering to a broad audience of players.

This is rarely the case at social casinos where users usually face a couple of hundred slots at best and a limited selection of card games. Playing against live dealers is out of the question on social gaming platforms to the detriment of people who seek a more authentic experience.

Demo Versions Are Available for Free

The overwhelming majority of online casinos give you the option to first test the waters by playing the demo versions of the games with virtual credits instead of real money. If you deplete your virtual balance, you simply reload the game and you are good to go. There is no need to pay for instant refills as is the case with social casinos.

THE CONS OF REAL-MONEY ONLINE CASINOS

One obvious drawback of gambling for real money is that you run the risk of sustaining substantial losses if you are not careful. Real-money players can mitigate this risk by setting up individual deposit, wagering, and session duration limits on their accounts. All licensed and regulated gambling operators offer this feature as part of their responsible gambling policies.

Players Can Win Actual Cash

The biggest difference between social and real-money casinos is that the latter provide players with the opportunity to win real cash and withdraw it from their balance. Furthermore, licensed gambling sites tend to facilitate secure, simple, and speedy withdrawals, with winners typically receiving their money within several business days.

No Community Vibe

Playing at online casinos is often a solitary experience, especially if you engage in randomly generated games where you cannot interact with fellow gamblers in any way. Sharing your achievements and results is impossible and so is competing against friends. In most casino games, you play against the house rather than other gamblers.

Some Jurisdictions Restrict or Prohibit Online Gambling

Unlike social gaming which is subject to very few restrictions, online gambling is heavily regulated or altogether prohibited in some countries. Since real money is involved, strict regulations are in place to minimize gambling-related harm and prevent illegal activities like money laundering or terrorist financing.

You May Run into Rogue Operators

Players based in jurisdictions that fully outlaw online gambling often resort to using the services of offshore operators licensed in countries with lenient or non-existing regulations. Such people risk running into various issues, including delayed or denied withdrawals, voided bonuses, biased games, and a lack of a secure gaming environment.

So Which Should You Choose?

So should you choose social casinos or should you go for real-money gambling? It is up to you to answer this question as it ultimately depends on what type of person you are. Social gaming is great for players with low risk tolerance who want to socialize and have some fun without spending any money in the process.

On the other hand, if you are looking to win some cash and have the guts (and the budget) to stomach the potential losses, perhaps you should consider giving real-money online casinos a try. Just make sure you choose a reliable operator you can trust with your money and sensitive information.

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The Pros and Cons of Social Online Casino

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Social casinos allow you to engage in gambling without incurring any monetary risk. They give you the opportunity to master different casino games, learn their rules, and practice before you start playing for real money. Socialization is the main drawing attraction here as you get to compete against your friends, send them gifts, and share your achievements with them.

Despite their benefits, social casino games have their fair share of disadvantages. You should carefully consider all drawbacks before you jump on the bandwagon and join the social gaming craze that has taken hold of the internet.

THE PROS OF SOCIAL CASINOS

The Social Element Is a Great Plus

Players are part of a larger community and enjoy higher levels of interaction with each other. It is difficult, if not impossible, for real-money casinos to replicate this sense of community as you mostly play against random number generators and cannot interact with fellow gamblers. At social casinos, your friends can cheer you on when you are winning or sympathize with you during losing streaks. You can compete against them, exchange gifts, compare results, and brag about your achievements.

There Is No Risk of Losing Real Money

With social casinos, there is no risk of losing real money unless you overspend on in-app purchases. Spending real cash is not a prerequisite to play, though. This is not the case with real-money casino games where you are bound to suffer losses in the long run due to the mathematical advantage the house holds against players.

No Need to Worry about the Legalities

Unlike real-money gambling, social casinos are not so heavily regulated and are largely legal in most territories and jurisdictions. Players from all around the world can enjoy some quality casino gaming even if they live in countries where online gambling is otherwise illegal or subject to heavy regulatory restrictions.

THE CONS OF SOCIAL CASINOS

It Is Impossible to Win Real Money

Unlike conventional online gambling sites, social casinos completely deprive players of the opportunity to win cash prizes. You can never withdraw anything from your balance no matter how many credits you have raked in while playing social games. This can be particularly disappointing if you land a huge progressive jackpot. The best you can do is use the credits to play some more.

Risk of Overspending on In-App Purchases

While free to play, social casino games still carry some risk of overspending. Players have the option to spend real cash on coin refills rather than waiting for a specific period of time to have their in-game credits replenished.

Refilling with real money spares them the frustration of waiting and often facilitates steadier and faster progress through the levels. Furthermore, the difficulty of earning sufficient credits to continue playing and level up increases with time. Some players cannot resist the temptation and purchase more coins instead.

Social Casinos as a Gateway to Real Gambling

Some researchers suggest social casino games can act as a gateway to real-money gambling. British psychologist Dr. Jonathan Parke and his team were the first to establish a potential connection between social and real-money gambling in a 2013 study commissioned by the UKGC.

According to the study, more than half of gamblers who sought treatment (58.3%) reported they first came into contact with gambling by playing social casino games. Another study from 2014 led by the Australian scholar Dr. Sally Gainsbury recorded similar findings. The study established social casino players are more likely to participate in real-money gambling and to do so problematically.

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How Social Online Casino Publishers Generate Revenue

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Social casino games are free to install and play, which raises the question of how their publishers generate profits. As far as real-money casino games are concerned, gambling operators hold a statistical advantage over players that ensures they always collect a given percentage from the overall amount of money wagered. This is not the case with social casino games whose publishers usually maintain profitability in the following ways.

 In-App Purchases (IAP)

 In-Game Advertising

 Product Placement

 White Label Solutions

Popular Social Gambling Platforms

Players looking to enjoy some quality social casino gaming can hardly complain of lacking enough options. Hundreds of social casino games are available for desktop and mobile play, including slots, video poker, and table classics like roulette and blackjack.

Let’s have a look at the most popular platforms for social gambling where you can play with virtual credits rather than risk real money.

 DoubleDown Casino Vegas Slots

 Slotomania

 Big Fish Casino

 Zynga Poker Texas Hold’em

 House of Fun

Social vs. Real-Money Casinos – the Pros and Cons of Both

Both social and real-money casinos have their fair share of pros and cons. You should carefully weigh out the advantages and disadvantages to determine which form of gambling is the better fit for you. Let’s start with social casinos.

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Forms of Social Interaction at Social Casino

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As you can see, most social casino games involve greater player interaction which is not always the case with their real-money counterparts, live dealer tables being the only exception. Said player interaction comes in various forms, including the following:

  1. Multiple players can engage in the same casino game.

2. Participants can share their results with their followers or friends.

3. Players can invite others to join the gaming action.

4. Participants can send gifts and credits to fellow players.

5. Players can post in-game badges and achievements to their profiles.

How to play Online Games Slot

  1. We navigated to the Google Play Store but there is also an iOS-compatible version you can download from Apple’s App Store.

2. Then we typed “social casino” in the search bar and Slotomania was among the first results we came across.

3. After we installed and launched Slotomania, the app prompted us to sign in with Facebook but playing as a guest is also possible.

4. If you connect the app to Facebook, you can share your results with friends, invite them to join the gameplay, or send them gifts. You also receive gifts for each friend you invite to Slotomania.

5. Then we claimed the daily bonus which consisted of the app’s hard currency, free coins to play with. There is no need to deposit real money at social casinos like Slotomania.

You play with virtual coins and your winnings or losses immediately reflect in your balance. Players can also collect the app’s soft currency in the form of gems they can use to unlock various exclusive features.

6. Finally, we navigated to the main lobby where we picked the Crazy Train slot. As you can see, it plays exactly like a regular slot at a real-money online casino, the only difference being you cannot withdraw any winnings from your balance.

7. Slotomania obviously features slots only but other social gambling apps offer more casino games, including blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and video poker.

For clarification, you can spend real money at social casinos like Slotomania when making various in-app purchases. If you wish, you can purchase more credits to play with, buy gifts for your friends, or spend money on upgrades. With that said, you will never get anything of tangible value at social casinos.

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Online Casino

How Social Casino Work and Real-Money Online

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The global social gambling market witnessed tremendous growth over the past decade, with gross gaming revenue of $6.2 billion for 2020. Projections foresee this figure would increase even further in the following years.

This form of gaming is steadily gaining traction as it provides a social and highly enjoyable experience while eliminating many of the risks associated with conventional online casinos. Some people choose social over real-money online gambling because it stimulates them mentally and helps them destress without the possibility of suffering huge losses.

Today we shall examine the differences between these two forms of gambling and tackle the reasons for their popularity. Hopefully by the end of this article, you will be able to decide which type of online casino is the best fit for you.

How Social Casinos Work

The term ‘social gaming’ typically refers to online games that enable players to socially interact with each other. The category comprises multiplayer board games, card games, interactive video games, and of course, casino games. Players can usually access them directly in a browser or via downloadable mobile applications.

Another option is to launch them on social network platforms like Facebook. Either way, getting started with social casinos is beyond simple. Here are the steps we went through to launch the popular social gambling app Slotomania developed by Playtika.

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Redeeming Online Casino Bonuses

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Bonuses are a major attraction for online gamblers and often play a decisive role in choosing one online casino over another. Some gambling buffs consider them the equivalent of free money but these freebies are not without their downsides.

Playing with your own funds is sometimes better than claiming a bonus and you should be aware of all the caveats before opting in for one.

In this article, we put forward several compelling arguments for and against bonus redemption to help you make informed decisions about these promotions on your own.

Also included are several important bonus terms online gamblers often ignore to their own detriment. Let’s kick things off with the most commonly available bonus types at online casinos.

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Super Fun Online Casino

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Multiple software suppliers have released variations of this intriguing game over the years, including major names like Playtech, Microgaming, RTG, and OpenBet. One of the latest versions, Super Fun 21 Extreme, comes from Scientific Games.

Despite its attractive name, Super Fun 21 is not the best blackjack variation you can pick where winning odds are concerned. The game is deceptive as it offers many liberal and player-friendly rules but their merits are altogether offset by the reduced payouts on blackjacks.

 Super Fun 21 Extreme by Scientific Games

 Expected Return in Super Fun 21

ZAPPIT BLACKJACK – BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE CREATOR OF BLACKJACK SWITCH

1. Overview

Fans of extraordinary blackjack variations are perhaps familiar with the name Geoff Hall. Arguably the most popular game inventor in the gambling industry, Hall came up with a unique variant of 21, known as Zappit Blackjack, which he then sold to Scientific Games.

2. Players Can Swap Hard 15 through Hard 18

Zappit Blackjack’s biggest claim to fame is that it enables players to swap their initial two cards for new ones if their original total is hard 15 through 18. “Where’s the catch?” you wonder. Well, the house pushes with all unbusted player hands bar blackjacks when the dealer obtains a total of 22. The following rules are also in place:

  • The variation plays with 6 standard packs of cards.
  • The dealer hits soft 17 and pushes on 22.
  • Blackjacks pay at standard house odds of 3 to 2.
  • Doubling down is available on all two-card totals.
  • Players can split only once to form two hands.
  • Hitting split aces is against the rules.
  • Players cannot zap hard 15 to hard 18 if they have taken any previous action on the hand.
  • Players can zap before the dealer checks for a blackjack.
  • If the player obtains a blackjack as a result of zapping, the payout will be even money rather than 3 to 2.

3. Expected Return in Zappit Blackjack

Zappit Blackjack is not as bad as some of the variants we discussed earlier, although it still carries a house edge of over one percent due to the “Dealer push on 22” rule. The casino’s long-term advantage in this game amounts to 1.13%. Players can anticipate a theoretical return of 98.87% over the long haul.

With a house edge this high, Zappit Blackjack is not your best bet, although it still offers better winning chances compared to other table games like roulette. Nonetheless, the ability to swap your initial cards when holding certain hard totals comes at far too great a cost. As intriguing as it is, your wallet will not like this blackjack variation.

Hall invented a similar game called Blackjack Switch which you can find at some Playtech online casinos. Here you play two hands per round concurrently, with the option to swap the top cards between the two and potentially improve your totals. We recommend Blackjack Switch over Zappit Blackjack as the former has a very low house edge (0.15%) with perfect strategy.

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Online Double Exposure Casino

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1. Overview

Double Exposure is a unique blackjack variation, also known as Face Up 21 or Dealer Disclosure. The variant is available at multiple landbased casinos across gambling hubs like Reno, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. It has also made it to the virtual realm thanks to software suppliers like Play’n GO and Pragmatic which have adapted the game for online play.

2. Both Dealer Cards Are Exposed but at What Cost?

As the name suggests, both cards of the dealer are dealt face up for players to see before they make any playing decisions. While this sounds amazing, other changes were made to offset the massive advantage this information gives to players. Truth be told, Double Exposure is an amalgamation of some of the worst rules one can possibly find in blackjack.

3. The Dealer Takes All Ties Bar Tied Blackjacks

To begin with, the dealer wins all ties which significantly tips the scales in favor of the house. The only exception to this rule is when both the dealer and the player obtain blackjacks, in which case the player’s natural wins.

4. Blackjacks Pay Even Money

What makes things worse, however, is that blackjacks pay at reduced odds of 1 to 1 rather than at the standard ratio of 3 to 2. Most of the other rules also work to the disadvantage of players. Play’n GO’s version, in particular, offers the following playing conditions. You will find many of the detrimental rules we discussed earlier on this list.

  • Six decks are reshuffled after every round.
  • The dealer must stand on all totals of 17.
  • Players cannot resplit.
  • Split aces receive only one additional card.
  • Doubling down is possible only on hard totals of 9, 10, and 11.
  • Players cannot double down after splitting.
  • Two-card totals of 21 after splitting count as regular 21 rather than blackjacks.
  • Players cannot buy insurance for obvious reasons.

5. Pragmatic Play’s Version Is Worse

As difficult as it is to believe, some online variations of Double Exposure offer even poorer rules than those described above. Such is the case in Pragmatic Play’s version of the game where you can play up to three betting spots simultaneously. The expected return to player is even lower as you shall see shortly.

  • Pragmatic’s version uses 5 standard decks.
  • The dealer must draw to soft 17.
  • Surrendering, resplitting, and hitting split aces are disallowed.
  • Players cannot split unlike ten-value cards, eg. K/J, 10/Q, J/Q.
  • Doubling down is allowed only on 9, 10, and 11, including on soft totals.
  • Players can double down after splitting pairs.

All of the other rules coincide with those in the Play’n GO version, which is to say the dealer wins all ties bar tied blackjacks and naturals pay at lower odds of 1 to 1. The only favorable rule featured in this version is that players are allowed to double down after splits.

6. BGaming’s Version Has the Best Odds

Younger software studio BGaming also released a version of Double Exposure in early 2018 and surprisingly, it comes with the lowest house edge out of all variations we have so far discussed. The majority of the rules coincide with those in the Play’n GO version, the only difference being here you have eight full decks in play rather than six.

7. Expected Return in Double Exposure

The expected return of Double Exposure is subpar compared to that in standard blackjack where you get to see only one of the dealer’s cards. The dealer taking ties and the even-money payouts on blackjacks, combined with the rigid doubling and splitting rules, boost the house edge to nearly one percent in Play’n GO’s variation.

If you do insist on playing Double Exposure, we recommend you go for the variation developed by BGaming as it carries the lowest house edge (0.70%) out of the three. This will cost you less money as you will lose ¢0.70 per every hundred dollars wagered on average.

Pragmatic Play has released the most expensive version thus far as players can anticipate long-term theoretical losses of $1.20 per every hundred dollars they risk on average. Play’n GO’s version is slightly better as you will lose a little less than a dollar per every hundred dollars wagered.

It is worth stressing that the return percentages listed above are only accurate if you play with perfect basic strategy for Double Exposure. With that said, the strategy is vastly different from that for conventional blackjack where the player’s decisions are based only on their card total and the value of the dealer’s exposed card.

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Online Casino

Free Bet Blackjack by Evolution Gaming

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This blackjack variation first debuted in Las Vegas casinos a decade or so ago. It also became available at many live dealer casinos after Evolution Gaming adapted it for online play in 2019.

The main peculiarity of this variant is that it enables players to double down or split their hands at no cost. Sounds great, right? Well, we hate to break it to you but there is a catch and it nearly triples the house advantage.

The main pitfall of playing Free Bet Blackjack is that if the dealer draws to 22, they push with the player instead of busting. This is basically the same as someone advertising free burger patties while requiring customers to pay thrice than normal for the bread bun.

 Rules of Play in Free Bet Blackjack

 Expected Return in Free Bet Blackjack

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Blackjack variants still offer better chances of winning

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Some rules will improve your expected value, while others work in favor of the casino. Below, we list some of the most common rules that boost the statistical advantage of the house and reduce the long-term profitability of basic strategy players. The percentages denote the corresponding increase in house edges.

  • +0.09% if doubling down is restricted only to hard totals of 9, 10, and 11.
  • +0.18% if doubling down is possible only on hard totals of 10 and 11.
  • +0.11 if no hole cards are in play for the dealer. This is often the case in variations that abide by the European set of rules.
  • +0.10% when hole cards are in play but the dealer never peeks to check for potential blackjacks when showing a ten. This rule is detrimental because players can potentially lose all their wagers, including those from double downs and splits if the dealer ends up having a blackjack.
  • +0.10% when resplitting is disallowed.
  • +0.14% when doubling down on split hands is prohibited.
  • +0.18% if splitting aces is prohibited.
  • +1.39% if blackjacks pay at reduced odds of 6 to 5.
  • +2.27% if blackjacks pay even money (1 to 1).
  • +0.22% when the dealer must draw on soft totals of 17.
  • +6.91% when the dealer pushes with the player on totals of 22 instead of busting.

Now that you know which rule variations are generally detrimental, let’s examine four of the worst blackjack variants that we found at online casinos. All of them produce house edges in excess of half a percent and offer poor rules that decrease players’ long-term theoretical returns. These are going to cost you far more money than blackjack games with friendlier rules.

Despite their poorer odds, these blackjack variants still offer better chances of winning compared to other casino games like roulette, online slots, and live game shows.

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