OPINION: social casino apps – harmless fun or a waste of time?

  • How much time would you spend on something in which you don’t actually win?
  • As one New York casino enters the sector, will we see others follow?

Social casino apps are the sugar-free candy of the gambling world. They’re the diet soda to their paid counterparts’ calorific equivalent.

online poker
Can you really get anything new out of combining your casino play with social apps?

That being the case, the games are surely harmless, right? After all, surely you can’t lose in a game you never put money into in the first place?

Time on your hands

Well, it all depends on how you choose to value that other finite commodity we all possess, the one that isn’t money – time.

What price do you put on your spare time? Or rather, how many hours a week would you be willing to expend on social casino apps, knowing that even if you win you aren’t going to win anything of substance?

On the one hand, these apps insulate gamblers from the sort of heavy losses that are almost inevitable in the long-term when wagering with real money. But on the other hand, they get players into the habit of gaming for long periods of time at the exclusion of all else.

If those players later make the transition to real money gambling – as is often the intent of such apps – there is a danger that they could quickly run up losses. Without the safety net provided by social gambling, what’s to stop players from getting in over their heads?

Social gaming is often thought of in the context of Facebook; many casino operators offer social gaming services as a means of boosting brand recognition and ultimately driving traffic to their website. An increasing number of social casino apps are also being released however, and it’s not just online casinos that have been pushing them out – their bricks and mortar equivalent have also been getting in on the act.

Casinos getting in on the act?

New York State’s Turning Stone Resort Casino is the latest gambling operator to have a go at social gaming, debuting a free online app that contains more than 50 games.

Available on the Apple’s App Store and Google Play, as well as for desktop users, the app is loaded with slots, keno and table games. Unlike a conventional casino app, players don’t wager for real money. Instead, they compete for virtual chips as well as earning points towards on-site purchases.

Players are awarded 5,000 chips for creating an account and another 2,800 every day when they log in. They’ll receive 10,000 more for linking their TS Rewards Card with the app, connecting the real world casino with its social counterpart. Whether the venture converts social gamers into bona fide gamblers at Turning Stone Resort Casino remains to be seen.

Given that there are no tangible prizes to be won from playing such apps, players must ask themselves what they value more: their time or the fleeting enjoyment to be derived from slots and table games where, win or lose, they’re guaranteed to walk away with a big fat nothing.

* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Casinopedia

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