Candy Crush Saga 1.14 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)Candy Crush Saga 1.14 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Candy Crush Saga could become the legal Crack of the app world. Initially belittled for its close resemblance to Bejeweled, Electronics Arts’ addictive freemium game, Candy Crush is now the poster child for the freemium model, raking in a record $633,000 per day, according to one estimate. The key is simple: get players addicted to the game, then charge for larger and larger fixes. Theoretically, the company behind Candy Crush could pull in $230 million in annualized revenue from this single app, even turning the game loose on Wall Street…

The #1 top grossing app honor is being bestowed by ThinkGaming.

According to ThinkGaming, Candy Crush has more than 6.7 million active users per day, each one earning the publisher $2.84 on average.

“The Candy Crush craze is turning into a massive cash cow and incredible example of the potential for freemium apps,” Scott Buscemi wrote over at 9to5Mac.

A youth pastor told CNN the game has a childish appearance but offers a devilish amount of challenge for adults. With 365 levels – each one more difficult than the last – players will often turn to Facebook looking for clues while some even more dedicated fans have reportedly hacked the game to get unlimited chances.

Therein lies the secret to Candy Crush‘s revenue bonanza.

Although the app is free to download, that is only for the first five levels – any more and the user has to pay.

That freemium model is so successful for King, the creators of Candy Crush, that in mid-June the company announced it was yanking all in-app advertising to focus on micropayments.

For some time, Apple has seen more than 75 percent of revenue flowing to App Store developers coming from in-app payments. News of Candy Crush‘s success with freemium apps should only reinforce the growing realization that – in the case for apps, at least – some very profitable things in life really are free.