Casinos / Entertainment

What are Social Casinos and how do They Work?

social casinos

Whenever the topic of casinos comes up, many people automatically think of online casinos. Theres a great deal of excitement surrounding them since theyve only been legalized (in some states) in recent years, and theyre already earning billions for the US economy.

But as the online casino industry is going through explosive growth, another form of online gaming is also booming: social casinos. The popularity of these casinos is undeniable, as over 85 million people play at a social casino each day. Despite this popularity, however, people tend to have quite a few questions about social casinos, like what they are, how they work, or how they make money.

If youre among those unsure of what a social casino is, let alone how one works, youll find the answers to your questions here.

What Are Social Casinos?

A social casino is usually an app or a website that allows people to play classic casino games, like slots, blackjack, roulette, or poker, without paying money. They can also be called free casinos.

The name can be misleading and imply that theres a connection to social media, but the reality is that not all social casinos need to connect to your social media accounts. Many allow you to engage with their online community or your friends and family playing on the same platform.

Although real money isnt required to play at a social casino, the social casino scene has become incredibly lucrative, generating $6.2 billion in the US alone. This amount, projected to continue growing, has been earned through in-app purchases and ads — much like video games and mobile game apps make money.

How Do Social Casinos Differ From Other Casinos?

Like online casinos, social casinos allow players to play casino games online from the comfort of their homes (or anywhere they decide to play) without going to a physical casino.

Both of these casino types typically allow players to take part in live dealer games (think games like blackjack, Texas Holdem, or baccarat) and slot games. They also all require players to be of age to legally gamble (which means you must be 21 or older in the US if youre hoping to test your luck).

And, like online casinos, social casinos also often provide responsible play tools to their players, like reminders about how long youve been playing and setting spending limits for in-app purchases. These tools are usually available through the apps account settings section. While social casinos are fun, they can still be linked to addictive behaviors.

Social casinos have a few noteworthy differences from online casinos, including that theyre free to play, use virtual currencies, and are legal in most states where online gambling is illegal.

Theyre Free to Play

Social casinos dont require their players to make a deposit using real money to play. Instead, players can simply create an account and start playing with the social casinos coins. Depending on the casino you play at, the name of these coins will change; some popular names include gold coins, wow coins, or credits.

Because you can play without real money, you also cant win real money. This lack of payment and wins makes the gameplay all about the fun and excitement of gaming rather than the chance of winning big. Most social casinos will award you a certain number of coins when you sign up, and as you play, you can collect more and even purchase more (a key way this industry has made so much money).

Because theyre free to play, they appeal to people who want to play games without worrying about spending their money. Some people even use free casinos as a way to learn the ins and outs of games that require in-depth knowledge of the rules and skills to play (like honing their Texas HoldEm abilities) without the worry of betting their cash on the learning process.

They Use a Virtual Currency

social casinos

Photo by Roger Brown on Pexels

Another few terms youll hear around social casinos are sweeps coins and free SC coins. These are a virtual currency available at some social casinos to add to the excitement of gameplay by offering the potential to earn real money prizes. The casinos that offer sweeps coins are sometimes called sweepstakes casinos, and at, youll find a selection of social and sweepstakes casinos.

Sweeps coins can be exchanged for real cash (typically, one coin is the equivalent of one dollar), which is why they allow you to earn real money. However, you cant simply buy sweeps coins or free SC coins. Instead, you have to earn them by playing games, entering contests, or through promotions or bonuses from purchasing coins or credit packages.

Theyre Legal in Most States

Since social casinos dont require using real money to place wagers or bets, theyre legal to play even where online casinos are illegal. Because theyre legal, they allow people to play free versions of the table games, live dealer games, and slot games offered at paid online and land casinos, even if you live in a state that doesnt allow online gambling. This means you dont have to be located in states like Connecticut or Florida to participate in the thrill of gambling.

While social casinos are legal in every state, its important to note that sweepstakes casinos are currently illegal in Washington.


Social casinos have seen incredible growth that only shows signs of continuing. They appeal to people with their free-to-play model and ability to connect with others during gameplay. They offer much of the same fun and excitement as online or land casinos but with more financial freedom, which only adds to the experience.

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