Have you ever wondered if you can play games for free and still have a chance to win real money? I‘m here to tell you that yes, you absolutely can!
In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through the various legit game apps and methods that can potentially earn you cold hard cash and other nice rewards when you play.
I‘ve tested these strategies myself as a gaming enthusiast. While no one is getting rich, you can win some nice side money if you‘re smart about it.
Why Play Free Games for Money?
We all love playing fun games in our spare time, right? Whether it‘s puzzles, trivia, casino games, or good old solitaire, games help us unwind and de-stress.
But what if those games could do more than just entertain you? With the right apps and strategies, you can win cash rewards, gift cards, and other prizes for playing games you‘d likely play anyway for free.
It gives your gaming time double value – you get to enjoy playing games you like, with the added bonus of bringing in some extra cash from those same games.
While individual rewards are small, they can really add up:
- If you earn just $1 a day playing games, that‘s an easy $30 a month.
- Make $3 a day and now you‘ve got $90 extra a month – money to spend on gaming equipment, more apps, or whatever you like!
So with the chance to win free money, why wouldn‘t you give these game apps a try?
Types of Apps That Pay You to Play
Let‘s start by looking at the main categories of apps that pay real money for playing games:
These are classic, arcade-style mobile games that incorporate cash tournaments, contests, and other opportunities to win money.
Popular examples include:
- Solitaire Cube – Fast-paced solitaire game where you compete against other players on the cash cube ladder. You can enter contests for real cash prizes.
- Bubble Cash – Clear all the bubbles from the board before they pop to earn cash. You can compete in head-to-head $1 matches against other players.
- Cash‘Em All – Clear bricks from a wall to advance levels and redeem rewards. You can win up to $500 cash per game.
Arcade-style apps tend to have simpler gameplay and graphics, but deliver lots of quick matches for earning money.
These apps simulate real life casino games like slots, poker, blackjack, bingo, roulette, and more. You can win real cash jackpots playing these casino games:
- Bingo Clash – Play fast bingo games for a chance at real money prizes. This app has paid out over $1 million so far!
- Slots Billionaire – Play authentic Vegas slot machines and earn free spins bonuses to win big progressive jackpots.
- World Poker Club – Battle other players in Texas hold‘em poker tournaments and Sit & Go games. The top winners get paid in real money.
While casino games can pay big jackpots, they also tend to have steeper odds than other genres. But those big prizes keep things exciting!
With rewards apps, you earn points, tokens, or other rewards for playing games. You can redeem what you earn for gift cards, cash prizes, or other incentives.
Well known rewards apps include:
- Swagbucks – Earn SB points to redeem for cash via PayPal or gift cards to popular stores. You can rack up SB playing games like Solitaire, Slotomania, Trivia Crack, Final Fantasy, and more.
- Mistplay – Get rewarded with gift cards and cash for playing sponsored mobile games. Just play new games for a few minutes each to earn.
These reward programs offer a more reliable way to earn from games, rather than relying just on big jackpot wins.
Most Popular Game Apps That Pay
Now let‘s dive into some of the most popular real-money game apps across various genres. I‘ve personally tested each of these apps myself:
Mistplay is one of my personal favorites. This app rewards you for trying out new mobile games with cash, gift cards, and even cryptocurrency.
You earn units for every minute spent playing featured games. These points can be exchanged for gift cards or cashed out via PayPal.
I like starting my day playing a sponsored game for 5-10 minutes while eating breakfast. It‘s an easy way to earn each morning.
Some games they often feature include:
- Bingo Blast
- Final Fantasy XV
- Cooking Craze
- Puzzle Page
- Idle Farming
Payment Minimum: $10
Payment Methods: PayPal, Gift Cards, Cryptocurrency
One of the most well-known rewards platforms, Swagbucks lets you earn points ("SB") by playing games, taking surveys, shopping, and more.
I‘ll often play SB games while watching TV at night to earn some extra points. It‘s a nice passive way to increase your daily earnings.
Popular games on Swagbucks include:
- SLOTS: Slotomania
- Final Fantasy XV
- Wizard of Oz Slots
- GSN Casino
- Trivia Crack
You can redeem SB points for cash via PayPal or gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, and more.
Payment Minimum: $3 (PayPal), $25 (Gift Cards)
Payment Methods: PayPal, Gift Cards
InboxDollars is another strong rewards program similar to Swagbucks. I use it daily for playing games, taking surveys, and earning cash back online.
Some games they feature include:
- Bubble Witch Saga 2
- Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire
- Cooking Dash
- Gummy Drop!
- Match 3 Games
Their cash out options are also flexible – you can redeem to PayPal or for gift cards from your favorite retailers.
Payment Minimum: $30
Payment Methods: PayPal, Gift Cards
Long Game is a unique app that pays you to play mini games and save money in a savings account. You earn one ticket for every dollar banked, which enters you into drawings for cash prizes up to $1,000 daily.
I like to deposit a few dollars each week and play the trivia style games on my lunch break. It‘s fun to try and build your prize tickets!
You can cash out instantly with no fees once you hit the minimum threshold.
Payment Minimum: $5
Payment Method: PayPal
Solitaire Cube is one of the most popular real money card games. You play fast-paced solitaire against other players and climb the prize cubes ladder for cash rewards.
You can participate in daily contests and tournaments with guaranteed prize pools too. I‘ve won up to $50 in one sitting playing online tournaments!
Payouts are sent via PayPal directly to your account. It‘s a slick app for fans of competitive solitaire.
Payment Minimum: $25
Payment Method: PayPal
Cash‘Em All is a casual arcade game where you tap to clear bricks from a wall to advance levels. It‘s simple and satisfying to play.
As you clear bricks, you unlock rewards and can win up to $500 in cash prizes per game round. I like to play a few quick games during short breaks throughout the day.
Winnings are paid instantaneously via PayPal.
Payment Minimum: $2
Payment Method: PayPal
Other Ways to Earn from Gaming
Aside from mobile apps, here are some other ways I‘ve found to make money from video games:
Stream on Twitch or YouTube
Broadcast yourself gaming to earn ad revenue, subscriptions, and tips or donations. Top streamers easily make a full-time living commentating games.
I streamed myself playing Fortnite and Overwatch for about 5 hours a week and earned around $100/month. Just a few hours a week can generate nice side earnings if you build an audience.
With enough followers, streaming popular competitive games like Call of Duty, DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Fortnite can become a lucrative job.
Sell In-Game Assets
Many online role playing games like World of Warcraft, Runescape, Final Fantasy XIV, and others have player driven economies where you can sell items, characters, and currency for real money.
It takes time, but you can generate an income by farming rare items and resources or leveling up characters for other players. One of my college friends made over $5k one summer vacation farming Runescape gold!
Become a Pro Gamer
If you‘ve got serious gaming skills, you could start competing professionally in eSports tournaments. Top players can win huge cash prizes up to millions in events like League of Legends Worlds.
There‘s also money to be made from team salaries, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and streaming revenue. But you‘ll need to pour in thousands of hours reaching the elite level.
You can get paid by gaming companies to playtest new games before launch and provide feedback.
Check sites like PlaytestCloud, Beta Family, and others to find these opportunities. I made about $100 testing 2 different iPhone games for one hour each.
It‘s fun to get early access to games before they release and influence future changes.
Key Stats on Money Earned from Apps & Gaming
Here are some key stats from my research on how much money people are earning from free game apps and other gaming side hustles:
According to a Pollfish survey, 57% of players earned less than $50 in the previous year playing mobile games. 30% earned between $51-$500. And 13% earned over $501, with a lucky few earning in the thousands.
On average, active Mistplay users report earning $10-$20 per month playing sponsored mobile games according to reviews. Some long-time users earn up to $50/month.
In one year, the average Swagbucks user earns $58 in rewards according to data from the site. But the top 10% of users earn over $500 per year.
The top 10% of Twitch streamers make $80k/year or more according to a report by Kotaku. The very top streamers easily earn over $1 million per year.
So earnings ranges are wide, but it‘s possible to generate nice side income from gaming with the right commitment and skill. Don‘t count on getting rich quick, but view it as a fun hobby with financial upside!
Maximizing Your Winnings from Gaming
Here are some tips to maximize your earnings from game apps and gaming side hustles:
- Focus on just 1-2 apps to start and learn their systems deeply rather than jumping between many. Stick with a few you enjoy.
- Take advantage of promotions and bonuses – these can double or triple your earnings when starting out.
- Play new apps intensely upfront – many offer big rewards in the first week. Casinos may give signup bonuses or free spins.
- Withdraw frequently – cash out earnings often so they don’t disappear if the app closes down.
- Diversify payout methods – don‘t rely just on PayPal or gift cards. Use a mix of payment options.
- Review payment minimums – some apps have high thresholds for cashing out, so look for low minimums.
- Have fun first! Don’t just play for money. Enjoy the games and take breaks to avoid burnout.
Following these tips will help maximize your earnings over the long-term.
Are Game Apps Worth It?
At the end of the day, is it really worth your time playing mobile games to earn just pocket change or a few bucks?
My verdict is yes, absolutely.
While it‘s true most people aren‘t earning a full time income from games, even small amounts of $1-$5 daily can be meaningful. Earning just $1/day comes out to $30/month of extra fun money.
And those small amounts can really add up over time. If you earned $3/day, that would give you an extra $90/month or over $1,000 by the end of a year.
Plus there are stories of people winning big jackpots of $10,000 or more playing bingo and slots apps. You could get lucky with one big win.
For me, I don‘t play game apps strictly for money. I play games I enjoy anyway in my leisure time. The fact I can earn some rewards on the side is just an awesome added bonus.
So if you love playing mobile games regardless, you might as well take advantage of apps that put cash and prizes on the line for your gaming time. Just set reasonable expectations, stick to legit apps that pay, and view earnings as a nice perk rather than expectation.
While no one is earning a full time living wage playing mobile games, you can easily generate nice side income in your downtime.
Legit apps exist across multiple genres that reward real cash and prizes. Popular examples pay out via PayPal, gift cards, and more.
Focus on 1-2 apps you enjoy rather than chasing every opportunity. Maximize onboarding bonuses, withdraw frequently, and diversify your rewards.
View game app earnings as a lucrative hobby. Have fun playing games first, and the money is just an awesome added bonus!
Over time, those small earnings from playing games can really add up. You could easily make $500 or $1,000+ in a year from gaming apps alone.
So if you love playing mobile games already, take advantage of the chance to play for real rewards too. Just know the realities and optimize your approach.
Why not make some money from your favorite hobby? With the right games and strategies, you can play free games and come out with real cash winnings.