Is There Any Difference between Free Slots and Social Slots

‘Going social’ is the buzz word that has trickled over into the world of slots and online casinos. We find free slots and social slots touted by online casinos but are there any differences between the two. Read on to find out more.

The online gambling business is vast and ever-expanding. With eager and passionate players spread across the world, it is worth billions of dollars each year. And perhaps no other type of casino game attracts as much attention as online video slots.

One of the main attractions of online slots is their versatility - you can have them in many themes, colors, and designs, some of them offer free spins with no deposit. The inclusion of amazing bonus features and the promise of big jackpot winnings also set them apart from other classic card games like blackjack and poker.

In this wide world of online slots, today we will focus on one particular debate - between free slots with no deposit and social slots. We will try to answer these important questions:

  • What are these two avatars of online slots?
  • Where can you find them?
  • What do they have in common?
  • What are the key differences?
  • And most importantly, which ones should you play, and why?

Let’s get started with free slots first.

Free Slots - What are they?

Free slots are pretty simple and easy to understand - they are online video slots that you can play without depositing any money at an online casino. Functionally speaking, they are real money slots created by casino game developers like Netent, Microgaming, and Betsoft.

You will find them at most online casinos these days. Slots account for anywhere from 70-90% of an online casino’s income, if not more. The best online casinos will have hundreds or even thousands of these video slots

They are marketed as free slots to players with a dual purpose in mind:

To give new visitors to the online casino a taste of slot gaming, in the hope of getting them to sign up as paying customers

To give existing players a safe way to try out new casino slots, again in the hope of getting them to wager real money in future

From this description, it is quite clear that free slots are nothing but trailers or free samples - used by the online casino to give you a taste of the action. You can play these free slots at virtually all online casinos - many of them don’t even ask you to register or create an account.

Free slots are often offered under the banner of “free play” or “fun play” at these online casinos. When you start a game of free slots, you will be given a certain amount of coins, like 50,000 for example. You can place bets at the game with this balance - but any wins will not pay you any real money.

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Social Slots - What are they?

Online casinos with real cash bets are illegal in many countries in the world, due to anti-gambling laws. But the games like slots themselves are not illegal, as long as real cash is not involved.

So this led to the rise of many apps that offered slot games without cash betting. And big companies like Zynga and Big Fish, popular in the casual mobile gaming niche, added these apps to Facebook. This led to the rise of social slots - online slots that you can play for free on social media platforms and mobile phones.

They are called social because your gaming experience can be shared with your friends on Facebook. You can compete with them for high scores and big wins, and take part in frequent challenges and tournaments as well.

Similarities between Free and Social Slots

  • The main similarity is that both types involve online video slots. The gameplay experience is largely identical - you click/tap on a button to spin the reels and hope for wins based on how the symbols on the reels align.
  • They both use virtual currencies - in free slots, this is often fake dollars or Euros that are given to you for free play. In social slots, the app will give you X amount of free gold coins as a welcome bonus for wagering.
  • They are both accessible on multiple platforms and devices - Windows PC, Mac OS X computers, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, Windows Phones, Blackberry, etc. You can play them in browsers and on apps (though not all online casinos have apps).
  • Since they both involve betting games, both types have age restrictions. You cannot play either unless your age is above 18 or 21 in most countries.

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Major Differences Between Free Slots & Social Slots

Real Cash Wagers

Access to real money wins is the main point of difference between these two types of slots. With free slots at an online casino, you always have the option to make a deposit and wager real cash - giving you a chance to win actual money.

With social slots, the companies often allow you to purchase virtual gold with real money. You can do this once your welcome bonus runs out. But, the important point here is this - the money you spend is to give you more virtual gold - any wins you get with this gold cannot be converted back into real dollars.

Availability in restricted markets

Free slots are only available in countries where you have legal access to online casinos. Even then, there are certain restrictions in places like the UK, where you cannot get free play without registering at the casino. And in countries like the US, they are banned and not easily available.

Since there is no real money betting, social slots are legal in all markets. They are generally considered similar to other forms of mobile gaming. Social slots are freely available in all markets, including the big one - United States.

Game Variety and Quality

This one is a bit of a no-contest. There are far more free slots than social slots, simply because the online casino industry is bigger and involves many experienced slot developers. Companies like Netent, Playson, Playtech, Microgaming all have decades of experience in making high-quality slots.

You are spoilt for choice as a free slot player at an online casino, with thousands of games available. In contrast, social slots are far fewer in number. And though the best games are comparable to free slots, many of the social slots are inferior in quality, graphics, and animation when compared to slots from major vendors.

Which is Better?

It all depends on what you want from your slot gaming. If you just want an introduction to online slot gaming, both are perfectly fine options. But if you plan to experience the thrill of real cash wagers in the future, then free slots at online casinos will give you easier access to that.

Social slots are better if you are not interested in real money bets and want to stay away from actual gambling. They are also great if you prefer playing with and competing against your friends online. Plus, they are an easier choice if you stay in a place where online casinos are prohibited/unavailable.

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