Gambling has probably been part of human culture since before written history. Betting on sports and playing various games of chance – often for real-money wagers – were popular pastimes for centuries, and even though their nature has changed a lot, they are still very much alive today.

Casino games today come in two big flavors: the “real” kind that you can find at Jackpot City Casino and the “social” kind that’s a far more widely available form. While the two are seen as completely different – especially from a regulatory perspective – they are very much the same in many aspects.

The games

If you take a look at the games at the Big Fish Casino, MyVegas, and their likes, you’ll see that their games are surprisingly similar to those at real-money outlets like the JackpotCity. You may argue that there’s only one “right” way to make a slot machine, blackjack, or bingo, and you’d be right.

Slot machines are among the most popular casual games ever invented. Their steep learning curve makes them easy to learn for anyone, and their fast pace and colorful visuals make them perfect for a quick break from everyday life.

The business model

This is what sets social casinos and their real-money counterparts apart.

Social casinos, like many other successful mobile games, have adapted the “freemium” model. In most cases, players start with a hefty amount of virtual coins that they can use at any game. When they run out, they usually have two options: either buy more coins (the “exchange rate” is usually some spare change for millions of virtual tokens) or wait for their stack to replenish. This business model makes them pretty profitable: Big Fish Casino has an estimated daily revenue of close to $80,000, according to Think Gaming.

Social casino games are very popular especially among adult and mature players, either through social networks like Facebook or on mobile.

The business model of real-money casinos is pretty straightforward: make a deposit, play until it runs out, repeat. The difference is, JackpotCity players have the option to cash out like they would in a real-life, brick-and-mortar establishment. The chips and games may be virtual but the winnings can be transformed into cold, hard cash.

A fun fact about real-money casinos: they also have a free version. Most of them come with a “practice mode” or another option to play their games with virtual tokens, just like the social casinos do. The difference is, they don’t require players to buy in to top up their virtual stack – all they need to do is ask.

Social and real-money online casinos are not so different after all – except when it comes to game variety: the real thing comes with a much bigger number of slot machines and other games to play with. And some of them are award-winning pieces of online entertainment.

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