IGT Undeterred By Zynga’s Retreat From U.S. Real Money Gaming
Last week we covered IGT’s impressive Q3 results for 2013 which were boosted by their social casino gaming division led by DoubleDown Casino. While players like Zynga have seemingly given up on pursuing real money gambling in the U.S., IGT have made it clear that they are not going to follow in Zynga’s lead. In an article in AllThingsD, IGT’s executive VP Robert Melendres was quick to clarify that they are in a different league to Zynga in that they are global leaders in in real money gaming already and should not have difficulties in converting their social casino base of players to real money gaming when it becomes legal. He said,” What Zynga’s finding out is that breaking into real-currency wagers is a difficult thing. They built their business as more of a causal social gaming business. We are well situated to take advantage of [real money], just as we’ve done in Europe.”
Like all social casino companies, IGT is banking on the fact that fans of their free-to-play DoubleDown Casino will make the transition to the real thing with the thrill of playing for real cash. It is also no coincidence that the games on offer on DoubleDown Casino are identical replicas of casino games available in brick and mortar casinos.
The stakes in online gambling are getting higher all the time and conservative estimates from research companies like H2 Gambling Capital place the value at over $30 billion. Anyone in the gaming industry knows that this figure is lower than the actual amount of cash spent by online gamblers as there is a black market of illegal gambling which is impossible to gauge.
IGT have got a strong foothold in the social gaming and real money gaming industries and the payoff is almost guaranteed. Traditional gambling companies like IGT and Caesars realized the need to invest in social casino gaming with their DoubleDown Casino and Playtika products respectively. This forward thinking is what could well separate them from the real money “wannabes” who underestimated the resources and planning needed in order to be the last man standing when real money gambling opens ups on a wider basis.