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Seattle angel investor scores from IGT acquisition of social casino product
The $500 million dollar deal that saw IGT take over Double Down Interactive earlier this year brought with it a serious return on investment for Seattle angel investor Ron Erickson, reports the publication Xconomy.
"The Double Down saga was one of those fascinating hit-it-big entrepreneur tales," the publication observes in its interview with Erickson, a technology entrepreneur and investor who has experienced the peaks and valleys of investment in start-ups like Double Down.
Erickson was cagey about how much he put into the company, but Xconomy claims it was less than a million dollars - the amount spent on developing the company's first commercial offering. And Erickson admits that the DD investment has given him the most significant return of all his endeavours.
Cooper DuBois and Scott Wilburn, the co-founders of DD with Greg Enell already knew Erickson from previous enterprises in which they had come together, so when they approached the investor with their DD ambitions he listened carefully then wrote out a check to augment the profits the two founders were putting into the new business.
The company's first blackjack game for Facebook launched in the spring of 2010, and Double Down started earning money on it immediately, pouring the proceeds back into further development to improve the product.
By January 2012, the land casino industry had locked on to the possibilities of social gaming with Caesar's Entertainment’s purchase of the Israeli company Playtika, and IGT moved in on DD shortly thereafter. Since then a slew of social gaming oriented deals have taken place, bringing internet, mobile and land interests together.
Erickson told Xconomy that he remains sanguine about the spread of gambling online. It’s an inevitable development, he observed, noting the established precedent in the U.K., among other places, and the thirst for tax revenue by local governments.
“It’s an activity that appeals to people’s base emotions," Erickson said. "In this Puritan nation in which we live - and that’s really what it is - we struggle with that. And people in other parts of the world do not struggle with that, because they’re not burdened with the Puritan ethic that goes to the core of our culture.”
Erickson commented on fears in some quarters that the spread of online gambling could adversely impact land casino business.
“I think there are people in the real-world gaming industry that are really feeling the inevitable. If you can have a robust experience in your own home, and gamble, and win and lose money, that’s certainly a threat,” Erickson says. “The IGT purchase of Double Down was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Clearly, the ability to extend their branded products … into the virtual space just makes so much sense.”
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