Social vs. Real Money Casinos – Which One to Choose

Social networks – and when I say this I mean Facebook – were invaded by a host of online casino games lately. Casino gaming is becoming very popular among their users. Players engage in battles of Texas Hold’em and Blackjack, or just spend their time playing video slot machines and video poker games for virtual currency. I am not an expert in the secrets of the human soul, but my humble guess is that these players prefer to gamble for virtual money as this way they can avoid feeling guilty about playing for real money. Still, they often pay for various features of these social casinos, while getting nothing in return.

How do players generate revenue for social gaming operators while playing for virtual money? There are two ways – by purchasing extra features for real cash or by viewing (and sometimes clicking on) the ads that appear in the game. Certain companies – like Zynga or, one known for its various “ville” games, and the other for Candy Crush – have built billion dollar businesses on these in-game purchases and advertising, and people are gladly paying them. Maybe the scale of social casino businesses is smaller, but the revenue is there – it exists, and players only get the joy of risk-free gambling in return. No revenue at all.

I, for one, consider this a form of hypocrisy. Real money online gambling operators – some of them offering the best casino games online – tell you clearly from the beginning that they expect you to pay them. What do they offer in return? Well, let’s see: the entertainment and the joy of gambling (and the freedom to decide how much of your money you are willing to risk) AND the possibility to win real money, which you can use as you please. If you think of it, this is a much more fair and honest way to ask for your money than having you click through an ad at the beginning and the end of every Candy Crush level, or the persistent calls to “buy special money to get special items” we all hate so much in games like Farmville, for example.

You know what? Zynga has launched more than one online gambling game packs through its various channels: it has the Hit It Rich! Casino Slots game, individual slot machines, Zynga Poker and Zynga Poker Classic. All these games can be played for free, but with ads (that generate revenue for the operator) and the possibility to buy extra coins and extra features for real money. Sometimes the same amount you spend at various social games (especially if you count the ad revenue) is enough for you to play for days, or even weeks, at a real money online casino, with a much bigger game variety, and offer you the chance to gain some extra bucks instead of just spendin