Social casinos are fairly different from traditional online casinos. They give you free chips and the option to buy more chips at a later time.
Regular online casinos, in contrast, see you bet real money to win money. You’re normally taking a bigger risk with real-money gaming sites.
However, I’m not saying that social casinos are extremely cheap either. You could find yourself tempted to reload on chips too many times.
Therefore, you might want to adopt a bankroll management strategy when playing at social gaming sites. This guide discusses how you can better manage your funds in social gaming.
How Do Social Casinos Work?
A social casino draws its name from offering more social elements than a traditional online casino site. It’s about engaging with your social media friends as much as it is about beating the games.
Here are the social elements that come into play:
- Play games with friends.
- Invite buddies to your favorite casino.
- Share achievements on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites.
- Try to outdo friends in reaching a certain level or getting another achievement.
In keeping with the social theme, these sites don’t require you to send money right away. Instead, they give you a signup bonus that involves a certain amount of free chips or coins.
At some social casinos, this welcome bonus represents the only time that you’ll get free chips. In other cases, you’ll receive a daily or weekly chip boost.
The whole point of these coins or chips is to build your bankroll, complete missions, and accumulate achievements. You can play slot machines and table games in hopes of winning more chips and collecting additional accolades.
You can also use your coins to purchase gifts for friends, too. These gifts can either be acts of kindness or incentives to get your friends to join a gaming site.
Typical Cost of Playing at a Social Gaming Site
Social casinos don’t offer their services for free, at least not in the long term anyway. Instead, they want you to eventually buy chips.
The cost of these coins and chips varies based on the casino. Generally speaking, though, you can spend a variable amount ranging from $10 to $100.
Social gaming sites offer incentives to get you to buy more chips at once. Here’s an example on how they do this:
- Spend $10 get 100,000 chips
- Spend $25 get 300,000 chips (50k extra)
- Spend $50 get 1,000,000 chips (300k extra)
- Spend $100 get 4,000,000 chips (2m extra)
Of course, you don’t have to take the bait and spend large amounts of money. But you may do so in the moment when considering that you’re getting a better deal at $100 versus just $10.
Challenges With Social Casino Bankroll Management
Nothing compels you to spend money at social gaming sites. However, you may be tempted to spend more and more due to the following reasons.
Site Hopping Is Time Consuming
Theoretically, you can keep signing up at different social casinos and taking advantage of welcome bonuses. This strategy ensures that you never have to spend a dime of your own money to play.
But hopping from site to site becomes quite time-consuming. You have to register at each social casino before getting your coins and playing.
Furthermore, you may eventually run out of casinos to join. This is especially the case when you’re trying to play at casinos that your friends also use.
They won’t be so quick to join you at dozens of sites just to get free chips. Eventually, you might be convinced to stay at the casino that most of your friends are using.
You Can’t Win Money to Replenish Your Bankroll
The nice thing about online casinos is that they give you a shot at winning real money. Sure, the house still holds the advantage on each game.
Even if you do succumb to the house edge, you’ll at least be winning some money back. Assuming you don’t lose too much, you’ll receive enough back to fight another day.
The same scenario isn’t true at social sites. You’re spending real money to buy Monopoly money that has no cash value.
You may win 2 million coins in a single day. However, these coins only give you more play at the casino and don’t have any standing on your monetary bankroll.
Social Gaming Is Deceiving
Many consider social gaming to be harmless in comparison to real-money gambling. After all, what’s the harm in spending $20 here or there on coins?
Social casinos can serve as legitimate forms of entertainment. But they can also create addictions just like real gambling all the same.
In fact, some people have leveled lawsuits at social gaming sites after spending or losing too much money. Gambling regulators, such as the UKGC, have called this type of gaming into question.
So far, social casinos have survived all the criticisms and remain legal in most jurisdictions. Whether this situation stays as the status quo forever, though, remains to be seen.
Pressure to Keep Up With Friends
You probably wouldn’t spend much money at a social casino if you couldn’t brag to your friends a little. Social sites know this, which is why they let you share accomplishments on social media and send gifts.
You may even start to feel competitive about the matter. For example, you might see a friend achieve level 50 at a certain casino and want to match or beat them.
You’re not going to reach the highest levels with the free coins that a casino provides the beginning. Instead, you’ll need to spend money at some point so that you can keep racking up accolades.
Sample Bankroll Plan for Social Gaming
Social gaming isn’t the completely harmless activity that it’s often made out to be. But then again, it doesn’t have to put a massive dent in your bank account either.
You can adopt a bankroll management plan to spend money at these sites in a reasonable manner. But if you’ve ever used bankroll management at a normal real money online casino, you’ll find the social side to be a little different.
At social casinos, you need to treat each chip or coin purchase as a complete loss. Again, you don’t win any money back from these expenditures.
You also want to focus on placing coin or chip purchases on certain days, rather than making impulse buys. Having a set schedule prevents you from getting more chips on random whims.
That said, here’s a sample plan for how to manage your bankroll at social casinos:
- You go through your finances and deem that you have $200 extra to spend
- This $200 will serve as your social gaming bankroll for the foreseeable future
- You plan on making $25 chip purchases
- 200 / 25 = 8 times that you can reload
- You want to reload every Tuesday and Saturday
- 8 / 2 (days per week) = 4
- Your bankroll will last for 4 weeks
Bankroll Management at Social vs. Online Casinos
Above, I mentioned some differences between managing your bankroll at social gaming sites vs. traditional gambling sites. Now, I’d like to get more into the specifics of this matter.
You can actually win money at a traditional Internet casino. These winnings help replenish your bankroll and extend your play.
You even have the option to cash out your funds at any point. After all, deposits put real money into your account rather than fake money that’s only meant to earn achievements.
Here’s an example of online casino bankroll management to highlight the differences:
- You have a $200 bankroll
- You enjoy playing online blackjack
- Your favorite blackjack game has a 0.5% house edge.
- You play approximately 500 per hour
- You make $1 bets on every hand
- 500 x 1 x 0.005 = $2.50 in losses every hour
- 200 / 2.5 = 80
- Your bankroll will theoretically last for 80 hours
Despite what they may purport, social casinos aren’t totally free. They dangle free chips and free coins as a means of coaxing you to join and eventually buy actual chips.
Some people have spent thousands of dollars at social gaming sites. In a way, these casinos can be just as costly as regular online casinos.
You can avoid the trap of overspending on social gaming by adopting a simple bankroll management plan. First off, you want to only make purchases on certain days. Secondly, you need to budget out how much you’ll spend on buying days.
Always remember that you can’t actually win any money from these sites. Instead, your purchases are purely for entertainment.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …