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May
15th

Experts Discuss Online Gambling and Real Money Social Gaming

Social gaming has generated a lot of discussion and excitement in the internet gambling industry. Social gaming is a hot topic and the amazing success stories of social gaming companies such as Zynga and Double Down have many in the industry taking a second look at the potential of social gaming. Zynga’s Texas Hold Em game on Facebook has millions of regular players and their new online bingo game had over one millions players a month after its release on Facebook. Since Facebook has 900 million regular users worldwide many in the industry say that Facebook could easily become the most valuable player acquisition took in history. In April the enthusiasm for social gaming was obvious at the 12th annual Global iGaming Summit and Expo held in San Francisco Zynga’s hometown. The conference drew twice as many participants than it did in 2011 largely as a result of the December decision by the Justice Department which has cleared the way for states to offer legal online gambling.

Since the decision Nevada has taken applications for internet gaming licenses and many states are expected to follow Nevada’s lead. Many believe that soon legalization will create a multibillion dollar a year business in the US. Legalization could also clear the way for real money gambling on Facebook. Some casino companies are getting ready for real money social gaming. International Games Technologies and Caesar’s Entertainment have already spent $700 million acquiring social gaming companies like Playtika and Double Down. Large corporations do not spend that amount of money unless they are sure that legalization will take place soon. Simon Burridge, the chief executive of Virgin Games, told the iGaming Summit “Social gaming is obviously the coming thing and in some sense it has already arrived. Social gaming meets [real gambling] is the high ground of the future.”

Jim Ryan, the co-chief executive of Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, spoke about internet bingo and gaming companies. Ryan stated “As an industry we have missed the ball. Bingo is easy. That is the one and only social game that our industry has gotten right.” Internet bingo is a game that fits perfectly into the world of social gaming. Speakers said that identifying the intersection of social gaming and gambling is important. Although internet bingo does not draw high rollers it is a very social game. Burridge told conference attendees “People meet spouses while playing Bingo. They come to play at a site because of the people that they play with, and that makes the site very sticky. “Malcolm Graham, the chief executive of online gambling firm PKR, predicted a bright future for social gaming on Facebook and said “We have all missed the opportunity to build tournament-style gambling games (for no real-money betting) on Facebook. But in the next 12 months to 18 months, our gambling industry will move onto Facebook.”