When it comes to regular casinos, there are quite a few regulations to ensure fairness and protection of players.
Gambling is an activity that millions of people partake in every year.
In some cases, entire vacations can be based on spending time in casinos.
The immense popularity of destinations like Las Vegas or Macau is a testament to this.
But with popularity and attention comes the possibility of bent rules and sidestepping the red tape.
While both regular and online casinos are held to strict standards and regulations, social casinos reside in a gray area and often exploit their position.
Wait, How Is A Social Casino Different From An Online Casino?
Social casinos can be an app or website that hosts different casino games and allow users to play online and with friends.
There are a wide variety of these apps and websites, and they have become quite popular, especially in areas with tighter gambling restrictions.
Social casinos tend to be free to play and only charge for in-game purchases like cosmetic items and in-game currency.
They are designed to provide a similar if not identical experience to an online casino.
However, they avoid regulation by not exchanging real cash for winnings, thus not being labeled as gambling.
This for example is an online casino that accepts Canadian players and offers a localized experience.
Unlike social casinos, players here can deposit money and withdraw their winnings.
They are also granted various mechanisms which ensure fair play, self-exclusion, and responsible gaming. In the eyes of the law, online casinos are more regulated and need to follow stricter rules, which can be viewed as a positive thing, contributing to safer gaming.
How Are Social Casinos Skirting the Rules?
While not all social casinos are trying to sidestep the rules intentionally, certain social casinos continue to bend the rules and push the limit of what they can do.
In 2018, an American-based social casino was found to be illegal gambling by a district court.
This was due to a loophole where users could trade in-game currency between players and then sell it on an exterior market to “cash-out” their winnings.
While this might not seem like a big deal, adding these additional steps to the process can leave players vulnerable to scams and shady dealings.
But other social casinos have been charged with illegal gambling and have successfully fought off the lawsuit.
In 2015, a virtual casino successfully defended itself against allegations of illegal gambling by demonstrating the games it provided were skill-based rather than chance-based like a typical casino.
The casino also proved that the virtual currency it offered could only be spent in-game and wasn’t able to be “cashed out”.
As new services and platforms become available, laws and regulations often lag and leave users exposed to potential fraud and malicious actors.
That’s why it’s crucial to understand what you are getting into, and if you are looking for something to scratch that gambling itch, it might be better to stick to regulated channels.