As a reviewer of Slots Games, Online Casinos and Bookmakers, I’ve clearly run across so-called Social Casinos. Over the last few years they have become massively popular.
To be honest, they mainly leave me bemused.
Essentially they are betting-style games on mobile devices, where you can win “virtual coins” and bet “virtual coins” but they have a social element, meaning that you can play with friends or challenge people in your social network.
Of course, as you aren’t betting real money to win real money then, technically, it isn’t gambling.
The benefit of this technicality is, that you can play slot-style games even in countries where gambling is illegal and at any age. All you need is a smart-phone or tablet.
I can understand the desire to play slots, of course, especially in a place where you can’t legally play.
But if you can play “real” slots, and you are over 18, then why would you choose pretend betting over the real thing?
Maybe i’m just an out-of-touch traditionalist, but the point of playing slots, even at the smallest level of wagering, is surely to try and win something back.
I know that gambling should be a fun hobby, but where is the fun in hitting a “jackpot” that is worthless?
So I thought i’d take a look at one of the latest popular social games – Coin Master.
In this article i’ll look at:
What is Coin Master?
Coin Master doesn’t promote itself as a slots game. But it certainly has all the elements of one – mixed in with the popular base building and raiding games.
In Coin Master you have a base to build up and protect and you can attack other people’s bases. How you do this is where the Slot Machine element comes in.
Basically you get some free “coins” every hour or so to spin on the slot machine interface. The spins can result in either winning more coins or winning the opportunity to “raid” or “attack” another players base.
When you attack one of your friends bases you can steal coins from them and upgrade your own base. You can also win “shields” with your spins to build up your defences.
By getting more coins and destroying bases, you move up the rankings and unlock more features and bigger “jackpots”.
How Does Coin Master Make Money?
It probably sounds like Coin Master would struggle to make any money for its designers.
Far from it.
Coin Master has generated over $100M in a few months. With no money spent on payouts.
Like most “free” mobile games, Coin Master has two main revenue streams. Advertising and In-game purchases.
Video Ads present automatically and can also be viewed voluntarily to get extra “coins”.
And if you can’t wait hours for a few free coins you can obviously buy them.
You can get 60 spins at Coin Master for £4.99.
Given how many spins you need to get coins to build up your base and attack others, there is a clear incentive to buy more rather than wait.
And if one of your opponents is buying more spins, then they have an advantage and might destroy your base while you wait around.
Is Coin Master Promoting Gambling?
Your probably thinking that this is just the way all Social Games work. From Angry Birds to Candy Crush.
No big deal.
And i agree with you. No one is forcing people to play these games and if they do play them, no one is forcing them to pay anything.
But, Coin Master isn’t Angry Birds. It has all the mechanics of gambling. The base building and attacking is essentially a background feature for the slots machine aspect.
It has all the elements of online gambling but with no regulation and no chance of winning.
To me it’s like playing slots games on demo mode at a Casino. But in that case, at least it costs nothing to play with their pretend money.
Imagine you were playing a Demo Slots game with pretend dollars and the game gave you the option to play with real money – but the winnings were still in pretend money.
Would you get your debit card out or just laugh at the audacity of it?
That’s how i feel about these Social Casino games.
But each to their own, i suppose.
Should You Just Play Slots Instead?
As i said at the start of this article, I understand why people might choose a game like Coin Master over a real slots game.
Maybe you don’t want to get into gambling. Or maybe you can’t because of your age or where you live.
However, if you are old enough and you live somewhere where it is legal, then why wouldn’t you.
Imagine being one of those people who spend a fortune on games like Coin Master with no hope of winning anything back.
Of course, you could easily lose that money playing real slots too – but at least you’d have the chance of winning.
Most Video Slots have the option to bet small amounts per spin and also have features which are like little mini-games. They have progression systems too and with some Casinos you can compete with others and have a more social experience.
I realise that i probably come across in this article as an old fuddy-duddy. Sneering at modern pastimes.
Or a shameless shill for Online Casinos. Fair point.
But, it really annoys me that these social games companies can basically promote gambling to all ages with no regulations or licenses and they don’t even pay anything out.
If you like games like Coin Master then all the best to you. They aren’t my thing, but clearly millions of people love them.
But if you do find yourself tempted to pay them for pretend money – maybe think twice.
As always, best of luck. Whatever game you play.
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