Social casino

Social casino: Where all bets are off

KamaGames asks why people play social casino games in the first place. If your answer is “gambling” you haven’t been paying attention

Words by Sam Forrest, global director of PR

Social casino games are in the ascendancy across all territories, from Dublin to Dubai, from New Guinea to New York, and everywhere in between. Speaking from our own experience, we have over 90 million accounts at the moment, climbing at an average rate of over 1.2 million per month. And we’re not the only multinational social casino providers in operation. We are just part of the story.

Despite the “casino” tag, players of these games don’t gamble any real money. In fact, gambling is illegal in many of the territories where our biggest game, Pokerist, enjoys a huge audience. So why are they so popular?

The short answer is the competitive element. A longer answer involves the social aspect.

World party

Before delving into the appeal of poker and casino games, it’s worthwhile examining the numbers for social gaming.  A report this year from Eilers Research found that social card games’ revenues are expected to hit $3.9bn for 2017, and climb to $4.17bn next year. While the phenomenon is popular worldwide, it’s especially taken hold in the Far East. There are 581 million active social gamers in Asia right now, and counting.  The market penetration is immense, rising, and set to benefit from numerous external factors – namely, the continued proliferation of social media and innovations like AR and VR.

Playing your cards right

Here are some reasons why poker and social casino work so well together:

1- The rise of mobile

As our phones get smarter and faster every single year, gamers are migrating to them in greater numbers: 85% of social casino gamers play in smartphones. Poker is suited to mobile gaming for many reasons: it requires a simple screen, it’s suited to social networking, and controls don’t have to be complicated.

2- Poker itself has many of the qualities of popular games

Poker’s continued success is partly because poker shares the same qualities as the best games in history (from Scrabble to Tetris to Halo and everything in between). It’s simple to learn, but players can improve over their entire lives.

When playing a social, online poker game you only have a few seconds to decide what to do. This is a feature, not a bug: With other real-life players waiting their turn, it makes sense to speed things up. An added bonus is that it adds a sense of momentum and excitement to a traditionally sedate game!

3- Poker is flexible

The speedier game also means a flexible commitment for the player: A game of social poker can be as brief as being dealt a hand (less than two minutes) or as long as every last player’s supply of chips (literally days on end).

4- Poker online social games have real-life applications

While plenty of our players engage in poker for game-play and socializing, others play it to improve their poker skills in a no-risk environment. Unsurprisingly, playing fast-paced, digital poker, with real-time hints and access to instructions, easily translates to real-life poker skills.

(Don’t) Place your bets

Poker without gambling is just poker. As any gamer will tell you, you don’t need financial incentive for emotive, exciting competition. Winning a million dollars feels great, regardless of whether that money is virtual or real. Videogames have always been about approximating and recreating visceral feelings; the dangerous thrill of outrunning the cops in GTA, the excitement of running faster than the speediest hedgehog or the wonder of exploring alien and fantasy landscapes.

Social casino gaming replicates the fun of classic card games, but with zero real life stakes.

Social casino