If you’re looking for a new side hustle, gaming could be the solution. There are many games that pay real money while being entertaining. These games are available on different platforms, such as mobile devices or the computer. Some are free to play, while others cost money to sign up or require in-app purchases. From cards to word puzzles to competitive online tournaments, there’s the potential for anyone to win real-world cash prizes through games.
Pro tip: Watch out for microtransactions (those inexpensive in-app purchases to customize your game or boost your odds of winning money.) Those add up quickly — some to the tune of thousands of dollars — and you’ll end up spending more than you earn. Don’t spend more than you can afford, particularly for slot games, casino games or other gambling apps.
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40 Games That Pay Real Money
Many online games out there offer free money. But if you’re playing them for this reason, there are a few things worth knowing. Among other things, check which platforms the game runs on, what kinds of rewards it pays and how, and whether it costs money to play. With that in mind, here are the best online games and game apps that pay real money.
Cash’em All is a GPT, or a GetPaidTo app, meaning it lets the user earn free gift cards and cash rewards. It’s available through the Google Play Store and runs on Android phones. It has an array of mobile games to choose from, each with the potential to win money. There are no in-app purchases, advertisements, or deposits necessary.
Zogo isn’t so much a game as it is a series of quizzes, but you can rake in real money fast. Zogo helps you learn about personal finance and investing, then you’ll complete a short quiz to earn “Pineapples.” Topics range from budgeting and credit, to investing and insurance. The questions are relatively simple and the Pineapples add up fast. After you have amassed 5,000 Pineapples (worth $5) you can cash out for a variety of gift cards including Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and GameStop. Earn extra points by referring your friends, who will get a 1,000 point startup bonus. You can download it here for Apple and here for Android.
Freecash.com lets users earn coins by completing different tasks, such as taking surveys or downloading specific apps. When they’ve gathered enough coins, they can redeem them for cash rewards or gift cards. It’s possible to earn around $1.00 every 5 to 10 minutes.
GameHag is a GPT mobile app that’s available on both Android and Apple iOS. It has a wide variety of RPG, strategy, arcade, puzzle, and other games. It also has premium games that cost money to play. GameHag has a currency called Soul Gems that can be exchanged for rewards. To earn this currency, users need to do things like complete quests, answer surveys, or create content.
Bananatic is available on Android and Apple devices. People can play and test Free2Play games, download apps, take surveys, and perform other tasks to earn “bananas”. These “bananas” can then be used to purchase gift cards or other in-game currencies. They can also be used to purchase unlockable characters on select video games. Players can also spend real money to buy “bananas.” Bananatic also has the occasional giveaway or event for earning extra rewards.
VeryDice is available on Google Play and can be played across most devices, including Android phones, iPhones, computers, and tablets. There are a few ways to earn money, but the most popular one is through rolling six-sided dice. When you roll the dice, you receive tickets equal to the number rolled. These tickets can be exchanged for rewards, like gift cards or raffle prizes. There is also a bonus tab where you can earn more rolls through completing other tasks like taking surveys or watching videos. There’s also the option to pay for more rolls.
PCHGames is a gaming website owned and operated by Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Through it, people can play different games — ex. slots, cards, strategy games — to earn money through sweepstakes. There are also scratch cards which sometimes pay out. PCHGames also has a few apps on the Google Play store under the Publisher Clearing House banner.
It’s a bit difficult to win the larger sweepstakes. However, some of the smaller games — like Mahjong — can earn tokens, which can be redeemed for gift cards or entries into drawings.
Blackout Bingo, which is available on Android devices and through the Apple App Store, is Skillz’s take on the classic Bingo game. To win money, players can deposit real money through a credit card or with PayPal. They can then use that money to enter Bingo tournaments for cash prizes. Another way to win is through referring friends or playing other games by Skillz.
Long Game is available on mobile devices through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Players can earn in-game coins by playing a daily game or other games through the app. Once they’ve earned enough coins, they can exchange them for cash prizes. Doing this requires linking an active bank account compatible with the app. There are 45+ games, including scratcher games, Plinko variants, and Connect Three. The more money a person sets aside in their Long Game account, the more coins they can earn and redeem for cash.
Brain Battle is a mobile game on the Google Play and Apple App Stores. It gives players multiple-choice math questions they must solve as quickly as they can. The more you play, the more tickets you get. These tickets can be used in cash draws, which sometimes pay out in cash.
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games is the sister site of Gamesville, which recently closed down. It has many of the same games as Gamesville, including live-action Bingo and slots, which pay real cash. It’s possible to win anywhere from $10 to $2,500. As an added bonus, playing these games supports charity, too.
Available on both Android and Apple devices, WorldWinner offers free games like Scrabble Cubes and Trivial Pursuit. Players can win real money or prizes by playing games or competing in tournaments. There is a required deposit through PayPal, Mastercard, or Visa to play. However, it’s also possible to earn in-app currency, which can be used to pay the entry fee instead of cash.
Launched in 2003, Second Life is an online platform that allows individuals to make a character avatar and roleplay in a virtual world. It runs on both Windows and Mac Operating Systems. The game has its own currency, the Linden Dollar, that can be either earned in-game or purchased with real money. Players may be able to exchange the Linden Dollar for real money as well.
Dabbl is a mobile app on Apple and Android. Users can earn points by completing tasks, such as taking surveys or rating or watching videos. These points can be converted into gift cards. There are no cashout methods available.
Another offering by Skillz, Dominoes Gold lets players win money by making an initial deposit, referring friends, entering real-time Dominoes tournaments, and more. It’s available on Apple and Android devices.
Available on the Google Play Store for Android, Appstation is a cash app that lets you earn coins and redeem them for either cash or gift cards. You just need to download and play their mobile games. Popular games include Angry Birds 2 and Candy Crush.
Pool Payday is an Apple and Android app that lets people play against one another in billiards tournaments, cash matches, and free matches. It requires the user to connect a valid account, such as PayPal, to withdraw any earned cash.
Lucktastic is an app on the Google Play Store that lets users play games and scratch tickets for gift cards or daily cash prizes. It’s free to play.
Big Buck Hunter
This highly popular Skillz game is found at bars, arcades, and restaurants, but it also runs on Apple and Android devices. You can deposit real money to compete in cash tournaments. If you win, you can earn more money to withdraw later.
If you were a fan of Zynga’s now-defunct Mafia Wars, Grand Mafia might be the game for you. You can earn 10,000 Swagbucks (10,000 SB is equivalent to $100) for reaching level 55, and you continue to earn Swagbucks as you continue to level up. You build an avatar and the goal is to become a mafia boss. SBs can be redeemed for gift cards to Starbucks, Target, Amazon and PayPal. Download it here for Android or here for iPhone.
Bubble Blitz is a classic bubble shooter game in which players can win real cash prizes by competing in tournaments. High scores earn bigger prizes. It’s free on the Apple App Store.
Offered on the Google Play Store, Bubble Burst is another bubble shooter game in which players can earn real money. Playing can net prize tickets and cash rewards that can be retrieved through PayPal.
From Solitaire to Poker, there are quite a few mobile card games that pay winners real money.
MistPlay, which is available on the Google Play Store for Android users, is a free downloadable app with a wide range of games. Popular games include the World Series of Poker, Rise of Kingdoms, and more. Once you sign up, you can begin earning MistPlay points, or Units, by playing the games. The more you play, the more Units you can earn and eventually redeem for gift cards.
Another Skillz game, Solitaire Cube is available on both the Android and Apple Stores. Although it’s similar to classic Solitaire, players can earn bonus points based on how quickly they beat each game. They can also compete head-to-head with other real players for fun or money. In these matches, the player with the most points is the winner.
Solitaire Gold is an Apple App store game that lets players win money, bonuses, and other rewards each day by playing or referring friends. These rewards are immediately available and can be withdrawn at any time.
A cross between Solitaire and Blackjack, 21 Blitz is a popular card game offered through Skillz. It runs on Android and Apple devices. Players can earn points the faster they beat each round. They can also play for free or for cash prizes against real players.
Spades Cash (Skillz) is a game found on the Google and Apple App Stores. The most popular way to earn cash prizes is by participating in tournaments with other players. It does cost a small fee to enter a tournament, starting at $0.60. Players share a game board and have set time limits for their turn.
Solitaire Cruise (Through Inbox Dollars)
Inbox Dollars lets you earn cash through online surveys, grocery shopping, email reading, and playing games like Solitaire Cruise. To play Solitaire Cruise, you must register for an Inbox Dollars account first. There’s currently a $3 signup bonus.
Solitaire Cruise is a complex, entertaining puzzle game that takes players on a voyage around the world. As you play, you can earn digital rewards and prizes, some of which can be converted into cash. The game is available on the Google Play and Apple App stores. There are optional in-app purchases.
Pro tip: Gaming through Inbox Dollars can be very lucrative if you’re careful. Offers to earn cash for playing new games are emailed out a couple of times a week (recent offers have included $40 for playing Yahtzee and $50 for playing Monopoly Go. However, note that you’ll need to progress to a certain level. Most of the games are free but allow in-app purchases. Remember that you aren’t making money if you spend more to hit the goal than you earn. There’s currently a $3 signup bonus.
Gin Rummy Stars (through Inbox Dollars)
Another Inbox Dollars game, Gin Rummy Stars, runs on both Apple and Android devices. You can play with friends, participate in seasonal quests, and unlock in-game achievements. It’s free to play and a fun way to earn small cash. To get the maximum amount of cash, download the game through Inbox Dollars instead of in the app store.
World Series of Poker
World Series of Poker is available on the Google Play and Apple App stores, as well as through Kindle Fire. After downloading the game app, you can play Texas Hold’em with players all around the world. It’s free to play, but there are also special events in which players can win real money.
Casino Games With Real Prizes
If you love the casino but prefer playing games on your phone, here’s a great casino game that pays real rewards.
If you have an account through MGM Resorts, you may be able to get real rewards by playing MyVegas Slots. These rewards include free or discounted hotel rooms, show tickets, free meals, and more. To do this, simply play the game, earn points, and redeem them. MyVegas Slots is available on Apple and Android devices.
Game Show Format Games
For trivia lovers and game show fanatics, here are some great game show-style apps that pay real money.
Now known as Swagbucks Live, Swag IQ is a game app that runs on Android and Apple devices. The game asks timed trivia questions and is multiple choice. Even if you get a question wrong, earning in-game digital currency is still possible. Once you’ve earned enough of this currency, you can redeem it for either gift cards or cash.
HQ Trivia is another challenging, yet fun, game that involves answering trivia questions and solving puzzles to win. The more you win, the more points you can earn. You can exchange points for cash prizes or other rewards without having to spend money of your own. There are in-app purchases, but these are optional. The app is available for both Android and iPhone users.
Here are a few games that pay real money for those who love word puzzles.
Real Money Word Search
Available through Skillz, Inc. Real Money Word Search is an online multiplayer word search game that lets you compete with other players from around the world to win real money. It requires a small entrance fee to compete. Players who win can cash out their monetary rewards by requesting a secure withdrawal to their Visa, Apple Pay, PayPal, or another participating account.
Another offering by Skillz, Inc., Word Star is a puzzle game that pays real money. To win, simply compete with other players and solve the puzzles faster than your opponents. Rewards are primarily based on how quickly you resolve each puzzle. There’s also a “final word” bonus that can give more rewards.
Similar to Scrabble, Word Cube is fast-paced, addictive, and fun. All games are played with real people on a competitive basis, meaning you can win cash rewards by completing your words first.
Another Skillz game, Prize Crossword is a classic and a must-try for those who love crosswords but want to up their game in a competitive way. It runs on most mobile devices. Winners receive cash rewards for each game they win.
Other Sites That Allow You to Win Money Playing Games
Here are a few other ways to earn real money in addition to playing games.
There are several ways to make money with MyPoints. This includes taking online surveys, playing video games, using the MyPoints Yahoo! Search engine, and watching online videos. Other ways to earn money are to use in-store coupons from the site or refer friends or family to the program.
PerkTV is one of the many smartphone apps developed by the larger company, Perk. When you use the app, you can accumulate points that can be exchanged for cash rewards or gift cards to participating retailers, such as Amazon. With PerkTV, simply watch 2 or 3-minute video ads on your smartphone and let the points roll in. Depending on how often you use it, it’s possible to earn up to $250 or more a month this way. There is a limit of five PerkTV accounts per household, which can limit earnings.
CashCrate is a website that lets you earn money for watching videos, taking surveys, and more. Each of these tasks earns points, which can be redeemed for real-world prizes or cash incentives.
Can You Earn Real Money Playing Xbox Games?
You can, but this usually involves more than just playing games. In order to get paid to play Xbox (or Playstation), you usually have to be willing to teach others how to play, or to write gaming tips and reviews of games or gaming platforms for sites like Dorkly or The Verge. You also could set up a Twitch or YouTube account to offer tips and reviews. You may not earn a lot of money right away, but it helps you earn extra money doing what you enjoy, and if you put in the time, it can build into a solid source of passive income.
Skilled gamers can play their preferred game (or games) in a tournament format with other players to win big. The further you advance in these tournaments, the higher the payout. These tournaments do typically come with an entry fee, though, so keep this in mind.
Here are a couple of gaming tournaments that pay real money:
- Checkmate Gaming: This online tournament has many computer and console games, including Fall Guys, Call of Duty, Valorant, Halo Infinite, and Fortnite. Cash rewards vary with some being more than $2,000. Elite Members pay 3.75% of the pot, while Non-Elite Members pay 7.5%.
- GamerSaloon: GamerSaloon has video game tournaments and one-to-one competitions where players can win cash prizes. There is an entry fee for most of the games, which ranges from around $1 to $22. First-place prizes range from $0.50 to $40+. Games include Fortnite, Mortal Kombat 11, PGA Tour 2K21, and Call of Duty: Warzone.
- Players’ Lounge: Players can compete in head-to-head matches on games like Madden, Fortnite, and Apex Legends to win cash rewards ranging from a couple of dollars to $500+. Admission to the first tournament is free.
Want to learn more about game apps that pay real money? Check out this video:
Prizes and How to Collect Them
Prizes earned through video game apps and tournaments include real money, gift cards, and in-game bonuses or rewards. Some of these apps pay through your Venmo or PayPal account, while others make a direct transfer to Visa, American Express, MasterCard, and so forth. Gift cards are usually redeemable at specific retailers. Amazon gift cards are usually the most popular choice. There are even games that pay with virtual currency, like crypto or NFTs.
Some gaming apps offer a welcome bonus, but will then charge a fee to continue using them. Others will have optional or mandatory in-game purchases. These can be fun, and may even earn you some cash, but don’t expect to win the jackpot. In general, avoid playing games that require you to regularly pay to play.
Pro tip: If you start playing a game and start “winning” big at first but never get close to the total you need to cash out, move on to the next game. Throughout the testing process for this article, Credit Summit tried several games that promised cash winnings but either prevented you from hitting the minimum cash-out requirement or, when you did earn enough to cash out, there were no rewards in stock — ever. While there are plenty of legit games that will pay you real money, there are also some game developers who intentionally design new games to make cashing out difficult or impossible. They aren’t real money games if they won’t fulfill promises to pay you. Approach every game with a certain amount of skepticism.
Different Types of Game Apps
There are a few different types of apps that let you win real money. Here are the key differences.
- Arcade games: Arcade-style regular games with a cash component. These will usually offer tournaments where you compete to win money.
- Word games: These can include word searches, crossword puzzles and word scrambles. The payouts usually require watching commercials and/or videos during game play.
- Trivia games: These are competition-style games where you face off with others to see who can correctly answer the most questions (or answer the fastest.) There can sometimes be an entry fee to enter the competition.
- Casino games: These are similar to arcade games, but usually involve the type of gambling games you would play in a casino. This includes competitive-style games like blackjack, poker and roulette, plus some that don’t involve competition, like slot machine apps. They may also be called “mobile casinos,” “casino slots” or “online slot machines.”
- Game testing apps: With these, you try out games that are still in development or have been newly released. You’ll have to provide reviews and/or feedback, though, in order to qualify for real money.
Watch Out for Scams
When it comes to making money online, whether it’s through playing games or something else, there’s the risk of scams. Here are some things you can do to avoid getting scammed out of cash:
- Read reviews from previous players or customers carefully to see what people are saying
- If anything seems too good to be true, such as the rewards or prizes, it probably is
- Only download games offered by reputable developers. If it’s a company you’ve never heard of and that doesn’t seem to have an established reputation, avoid it
- Approach every game with skepticism
- Never expect to win so that, even if you do, it will be a fun reward rather than something you rely on
- Make sure you understand how the game or app pays
- Read any terms and conditions before signing up or agreeing to anything
How Do These Games Make Money?
Here are the main ways gaming apps make money:
- In-game advertisements: Many developers bring in money through in-game video, popup, or banner advertisements.
- Pay-to-play or entry fee: Gaming tournaments often charge an entry fee to compete for cash rewards. Some premium games have a pay-to-play or entry fee, too.
- Microtransactions: These are small in-app purchases that can improve the user’s experience. These aren’t that common in games that pay real money, but they do exist.
When you play games for real-world money, chances are you’ll rack up those rewards fairly quickly in the beginning. But as you get closer to being able to redeem those rewards for cash prizes, you’ll start earning at a much slower rate.
Because of this, many people end up quitting in frustration before they receive any prizes. Check reviews to see whether there are multiple complaints about earning “money” that can’t be cashed out. If the complaints are common, don’t waste your time with that app. Usually once the complaints start mounting, Google’s Play Store and iTunes will shut down the games that don’t fulfill their commitments.
Pro tip: Focus on the types of games you enjoy. We all have different preferences and fun games for one person may not be fun for someone else. The key is to develop a money-earning strategy that you enjoy while you earn cashback. Download an array of free apps and play each for a few days to see which ones you prefer.
The Bottom Line
Gaming apps are a fun way to spend free time while potentially earning real money or gift cards. This makes them great for avid or casual mobile gamers. However, these rewards are usually small, meaning most people won’t be able to rely on consistent or high earnings. Still, if you’re looking for a simple way to earn a few dollars here and there, mobile games could be the way to go.
Similar to Swagbucks, InboxDollars is an online rewards program. It works by giving you cash rewards through the completion of various online tasks and activities. This includes things like taking paid surveys, playing various games, reading emails, and getting cash back from online shopping. Signup is free and done entirely online.
SwagBucks is another online rewards program, as well as a website and an app. It lets you earn points through such tasks as shopping, survey-taking, watching videos, and more. You can use these points to earn gift cards or get cash back through PayPal. There’s also Swagstakes, in which you can use these points for a chance to earn specific prizes. Signup is free and easy.
Based in Costa Rica, Bovada is a real casino app with over 250 casino games. It also has the option of betting on things like sports or horse races. You may be able to win real money, but you will need to use your own money to bet or play. Bovada is not legal in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada, or Delaware. You can access the site, Bovada.lv, via web browser with an Android or iPhone device.