Zynga Plus Casino review

Zynga Plus Casino is a new real-money gaming service from the social gaming giant. At present, it is available in the U.K. — its availability in other territories will depend on local laws relating to online gambling. Zynga Plus Casino is one of two real-money gaming services that the company has launched recently — the other being Zynga Plus Poker, which we’ll take a closer look at tomorrow.

Zynga Plus Casino may be accessed either via the Web or a dedicated downloadable piece of client software. The Web version does not work correctly on Mac OS X-based devices, failing to recognize when the user is logged in, and the downloadable client is only available for Windows-based computers at this time — so either way, Mac users are out of luck at present.

A Zynga Plus Casino account may be used in Zynga Plus Poker and vice-versa, so it’s only necessary for the player to create one account. In order to do so, they must provide their personal details, including their name, address and date of birth. There’s no apparent means of identity-checking in place to verify the user’s age aside from the birthdate selector — gamblers in the U.K. must be at least 18 years of age in order to play. There’s also no means of registering for an account with Facebook or other social networks — the Zynga Plus services use their own proprietary accounts.

Once an account has been created, the user can make an initial deposit using a variety of different payment methods, including various types of debit/credit card or PayPal. Initial deposits earn a bonus of “free” money, and subsequent deposits can also earn extra “free” money if a special redemption code is entered — though the existence of this special offer is buried in some small print on the service’s front page.

Both the Web-based incarnation of the service and the downloadable client work in much the same way, with the only difference being that the downloadable client offers a wider selection of games to play. Web games are streamed to the user’s computer as and when they are accessed; the client, meanwhile, downloads each game and stores it on the user’s computer for future access in subsequent play sessions. The games accessible in the client tend to be slightly more graphically-intensive titles with larger file sizes, while the Web-compatible games tend to be limited to simpler slots and card games.

Starting a game presents the player with a few options: to bring in some or all of their current real money balance, or to play with £500 of “play money” to try out the game without risk. The service appears to be a little buggy at present, occasionally failing to recognize the user’s existing balance and prompting them to make a deposit even though there is already money in their account — reloading the game sometimes fixes this issue, but it probably won’t fill the user with confidence to see that sometimes the real money they have paid into the service isn’t recognized. This problem occurred considerably more frequently when using the downloadable client than when playing games on the Web.

The games themselves vary from straightforward multi-line slot machines on various themes (including machines based on popular Zynga titles such as FarmVille, and licensed machines featuring Marvel comic book characters such as Spider-Man) to tabletop casino games such as blackjack, roulette and craps, to more obviously “computer game”-like experiences with attractive, appealing graphics, animation and sounds. Despite their appearances, however, these games are still almost entirely luck-based, with very little in the way of skill required. Even games that require judgement calls such as video poker tend to have “auto” functions that automatically take the “best” course of action for the player — though these features can be turned off for those who wish to take full control of their experience. All real money games also feature a log facility, allowing the player to review their spending habits and how well the various games have performed for them.