Gambling Operators Look to Social GamingPublished June 10, 2012 by OCR Editor
MGM, Bwin.Party are among those allocating millions to social gaming investment.
Leading land-based and online gambling operators are increasingly looking to social gaming as the next area for growth, as shown by recent decisions made by MGM Resorts International and by Bwin.partyVegas Social Gaming Boom
Las Vegas-based casino giant MGM Resorts will launch myVegas this month: a free-play social gaming casino where virtual money is wagered and virtual prizes are won. MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren told a gaming conference in May that a combination of casino gaming and social media will be the industry's "next big thing."
Caesars Entertainment bought a majority share in social media and mobile gaming business Playtika for approximately $90 million last year, and slot machine powerhouse International Game Technology bought virtual casino Double Down Casino for almost $500 million in January this year.
Facebook, the world's largest social network, now houses a variety of free gambling options. These include myVegas, Playtika, Double Down, RocketFrog, and the biggest name of them all - Zynga Poker. Facebook users can treat the network like a virtual Vegas, moving from casino to casino and choosing their favorite games and offers.Bwin.party to Spend Big
Bwin.party joined the party last week, announcing that it will spend $50 million over the next two years to broaden its social gaming reach. It said it had agreed to pay a total of $23m. to eastern European gaming developers Velasco and Orneon to buy their contracts of 300 internet software engineers.
According to Bwin's head of social gaming strategy, the social gaming market today has about 750 million global users, and this is expected to grow to 1.5 billion users by the year 2015. In other words, a market currently worth a staggering $8 billion is expected to grow even further to $15b. over the next three years.