Social Casinos: Insights and Trends for Australian Gamblers

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Ryan White
by Ryan White
Online Casino Social Games

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has recently released a report entitled Snapshot of Social Casinos, which highlights the latest trends and consumer habits in the growing market of social casinos that are different from real money online casinos. The recently released report shows that Australia is among the top ten markets in terms of consumer spending as of the six months of 2022.

What are Social Casinos?

Social casinos actually provide online casino-like games that do not offer players the chance to win real money. They are typically free to download and are therefore free to play. However, users can spend real cash on in-game purchases. According to industry projections, the global revenue from these games is expected to grow around 5% per year through 2025.

Social Casino Market Leaders and Revenue Streams

Five of the biggest social casino companies, namely Playtika, Moon Active, Zynga, SciPlay, and Aristocrat, comprise around 60% of the global market. While some companies depend solely on revenue generated from social casinos, others have more diversified portfolios with less reliance on social casinos.

The ACMA report suggests that social casino gaming saw a significant substantial increase in demand and income during 2020 and 2021, with a sharp uptick in usage during the pandemic. As restrictions lifted, the fight for users’ time and money has grown, and revenue from social casinos declined from its apex during the pandemic lockdown periods.

Social Casino User Demographics and Regional Markets

Research indicates that social casino player users are older with a close-to-even proportion of females and males. However, younger males are more likely to spend money on social casino games. According to industry data platform, the United States is the biggest market for social casino games by consumer spending, followed by China, Taiwan, Australia, and Canada.

In Australia, pokies are the most popular social casino game, with Aussies spending AUD 302 million on mobile slot games in 2021. Some companies have created games that are a combination of traditional casino games with other types of gameplay to increase their marketability and allure.

Social Casino Expansion and Regulation

Social casino developers are currently exploring other gaming genres to expand their increase their popularity and consumer population. They are incorporating in-game mechanics like guilds and leaderboards, often seen in casual and competitive games, to encourage engagement and keep users playing. Social casinos are not regulated under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 as users cannot cash out winnings, and the games do not meet the definition of a gambling service.

ACMA insights into social casinos

Industry data on social casino game download trends shows that global downloads declined after their pandemic peak of 291.6 million in Q2, 2020. It recovered in Q1, 2022, when the download trend exceeded that figure, reaching 322.2 million downloads worldwide.

The social casino market is experiencing significant growth in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the three key markets of China, Japan, and South Korea, and in the emerging market of India. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to see the fastest growth in social casinos by 2026 due to the growing use of smartphones, easier internet access, and increasing digitalization in the region.

ACMA explains that the non-homogenous approach to payment, infrastructure, languages, and regulations in the Asia-Pacific market previously discouraged global operators from entering the market. However and I quote, “with the success of domestic social casino games in China, South Korea, and Japan, global operators are now entering the market by localizing games with repackaged user interfaces and cultural themes. This includes games mimicking the look, feel, and sounds of local land-based casinos to give users a sense of cultural familiarity.”

Social Casinos: Conclusion

The report provides valuable insights into the social casino market’s trends and growth potential, highlighting the industry’s significant contribution to the global gaming landscape. With strong uptake during the pandemic and the potential for growth in the Asia-Pacific market, social casinos are an industry to watch. Remember social casinos are not regulated under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 because users cannot cash out winnings.

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