Who are the Players Behind the Social Casino and Betting Games Hype?

Social casino and betting games are a hot market. Gambling operators are eyeing and buying social games developers in hopes that social gamers will convert to real money gamblers or to include a new stand-alone business with a lot of growth potential into their portfolio. Social casino and betting games – with a virtual rather than real money payout – have been bringing in high revenues. The relatively small sums paid for virtual goods add up well due to the huge reach of social games. Although there are far fewer online gamblers, their lifetime value is impressively high. When offered in tandem with real money (payout) games, social casino and betting games’ revenue potential is remarkable.
Two major factors have created much excitement regarding the potential of social casino and betting games. First, Facebook has been rumored to be in talks with gambling operators to allow real money gambling on its platform. Second, there’s a greater chance than ever that the U.S. will legalize online gambling. While these important variables are being negotiated by influential parties, gambling operators and social games developers can turn their focus to game-player data. These companies must gather and interpret data determining potential synergies between virtual and real-money payout casino gaming that are not contingent on regulations beyond their control.

Successful social games require a deep knowledge of social graphs so that they are designed to generate maximum reach. And maximum reach is the key factor for monetization. Gambling operators have demonstrated their need to seek social games expertise by investing in or purchasing social games companies. Here, we investigate the player demographics and behaviors of social casino and betting games players to elaborate on why the social casino and betting games market is heating up.

Social betting games, in which users bet on sports, politics, gossip, etc., are a very new category of social game that Crowdpark is pioneering. As the number of social games grows, social casino games are becoming increasingly popular and now include: slots, bingo, blackjack, roulette and poker on Facebook. Casino games are among the best monetizing social games. The Casual Games Association Sector Report describes casino, poker and role-playing games as, on average, monetizing the best of all social games categories with 5-10 cents expected average daily revenue per daily active user (DAU). This number compares to 3-7 cents for hidden object, adventure and tournament games and 1-5 cents for puzzle, arcade, caretaking and simulation games.

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Social games developers must be extremely responsive to their players’ behavior, especially since players expect games to be constantly evolving with new features and ways to connect and compete with friends. Both virtual and real money payout online gambling games currently offered by gambling operators tend to be single player games. Social games, on the other hand, leverage a social graph to motivate gameplay through relationships. Another difference between online gamblers and social casino and betting games players is that gamblers play online games for the chance to win big while social gamers play to show off achievements and to advance in the game, as well as for fun.

The average social network games player is a 40-year-old woman, quite closely resembling the average land-based casino user. Social casino games, however, attract a slightly older population with the average player being over 45. Virtual goods purchasers in social games are 58% female, 42% male.

Social casino apps like Crowdpark’s Pet Vegas appeal primarily to women.

Of top spenders, 70% are female and 30% are male. One of the most successful slots games on Facebook has a user base that’s approximately 60% female. Women, who are more likely to play casino games, are also social games’ money makers.
Social casino and betting games offer the gambling operator not only the chance to convert players to real money gaming, but also the opportunity to reach a broader audience than their traditional games. Real money online betting is notoriously male-dominated with over 90% of players being male. Overall, social games are played mostly by women, and so social betting games can achieve higher rates of female players than their real money betting counterparts.

The prospect of converting millions of social casino and betting gamers to real money gamblers is driving social games company acquisitions despite the uncertainty of major variables such as real money gambling on Facebook and its legalization in the U.S. Nonetheless, virtual payout social casino and betting games offer an opportunity for gambling operators to diversify their offerings and widen their net.