Silicon Valley Optimistic About Internet Gaming Opportunities

Silicon Valley is betting big on the future of internet gambling including internet bingo. Companies believe that in the very near future gambling on the internet will be as easy as shopping at E-Bay or streaming a video or movie. There is opposition to online gaming but most companies believe the opposition can be overcome. Chris Griffin, chief executive of Betable, a London gambling start-up, told reporters “Gambling in the U.S. is controlled by a few land-based casinos and some powerful Indian casinos. What potentially becomes an interesting counterweight is all of a sudden thousands of developers in Silicon Valley making money overseas and wanting to turn their efforts inward and make money in the U.S.” There are also opponents like Sheldon Adelson but given the fact that he wasted tens of millions on a losing presidential candidate not many people take him seriously anymore.

Betable has an office in San Francisco and Griffin stated “This is the next evolution in games, and kind of ground zero for the developer community.” 15 studios are using Betable’s back end platform. Outside of the US online gambling is generating about $32 billion annually. Juniper Research estimates that mobile betting will be a $100 billion dollar a year business by 2017. Chris DeWolfe, a co-founder of the pioneering social site Myspace, stated “Everyone is really anticipating this becoming a huge business.” As companies wait for the lucrative American market to open they are focusing their energies to introduce betting games in the UK which has a mature regulated online gaming market.

Last summer Facebook launched the first real money social games in the UK. Facebook partnered with Jackpotjoy and developed an internet bingo games for Facebook. Since internet bingo is one of the largest gaming sectors in Britain more bingo games will follow. Zynga, the company that developed FarmVille, Mafia Wars and Words with Friends advertised the release of the company’s first games in the UK. In an ad Zynga stated “All your favorite Zynga game characters will be there, except this time they’ll have real money prizes to offer you,” an ad says. “Play online casino games for pennies and live the dream!”

Mark Pincus, the chief executive of Zynga, said his company is just following the market. In the past Zynga has generated a lot of controversy and has been accused of copying the games of other studios and promoting them as their own. Several states have announced plans to offer internet gambling to residents adding to the optimism in Silicon Valley. Although most states will limit games to poker for now if things go smoothly gaming experts believe it will only be a matter of time before states offer their residents a complete line of online games.