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Saturday May 26, 2012 : MGM PARTNER EXPANDS ON SOCIAL GAMING PLANS
Playstudios going live on Facebook in first beta phase
The recent disclosure that Las Vegas land gambling giant MGM International Resorts is involved in social gaming start-up Playstudios founded by former Wynn exec Andrew Pascal has been fleshed out through an article this week on the investment publication Venturebeat.
The article reveals that ace casino game designer Nicholas Koenig is also involved in the start-up, and that MGM's role is largely marketing-oriented.
“The idea is to capture the fun and excitement of a Las Vegas weekend,” said Pascal. “Here’s an interesting fact: More people will play slot machines on Facebook this month than visit Las Vegas this year. The profile of the player is very similar — affluent, middle-aged women, with an above-average education.”
Playstudios' myVegas app on Facebook is intended as a social gaming destination, where players enjoy games such as Blackjack or slot machines, earning virtual currency and real rewards such as trips to real-world casinos.
They can also build their own fantasy version of the Las Vegas Strip in a kind of meta-game, Venturebet reports. Users can populate their creation with their friends, clicking on them as they walk down the street to see their stats or the games they’ve played recently.
The high quality app is currently in closed beta testing and will be fully available in the summer, Pascal revealed.
Bet the Farm is just one of the games that will be featured - it's a slot machine with an isometric 3D viewpoint. Another is Lost In Time: Jules Verne, a slot machine where once a user reaches a certain level, a bonus round kicks in where objects hidden in a scene can be discovered for reward.
The Playstudios tie-up with MGM gives that organisation a foothold in the social gaming space, where rivals Caesars Entertainment and IGT have commercial activity ongoing through Playtika and Double Down Interactive respectively.
Pascal told Venturebeat that he believes the social casino game market is a great business, with roughly 65 million of Facebook’s 900 million users already playing casino games on the social network.
“We are focused on virtual currency-based social goods gambling,” Pascal said. “A lot of people are very excited about for-cash gambling as an opportunity. It is an enormous prize when it gets sorted out. Everyone will position themselves for it.”
Working with a company like MGM enables Playstudios to offer loyalty prizes and rewards that include a weekend at MGM Grand, a chance to choose the song for the Fountains of Bellagio show, an intimate dinner at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant and tickets to the latest Cirque du Soleil show.
Pascal started Silicon Gaming to make casino games more fun, and sold the enterprise to IGT in 2005. After that, Pascal returned to Wynn and opened the Wynn and Encore resorts in Las Vegas. At its peak, he ran a business that had 14,000 employees and $1.4 billion in revenues before starting Wagerworks in Europe, where a more progressive attitude to online gambling was developing.
Wagerworks was eventually acquired by IGT, too.
In 2010 Pascal left Wagerworks and explored social gaming possibilities, leading to his Playstudios venture, which was initially disguised under the brand Incubet.
The company has 30 employees at present, and has the exclusive social and mobile gaming rights for big Las Vegas properties, including ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus.
Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts International’s chief marketing officer, said, “We have actively watched the explosion of the social gaming landscape and evaluated the options for extending our brands through these increasingly important channels.
“In partnership with Playstudios, we have created a platform that will engage and entertain existing MGM Resorts customers, attract new ones, and allow us to strengthen our brands in a new and relevant fashion.”
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Big Fish Games Partner With Bitcoin Wallet -
Bitcoin wallet Coinbase has entered into a partnership with casual games developer Big Fish who will provide its online customer with a new method to buy games and in-app purchases with bitcoin.
Single Set Of Gambling Rules for EU -
Adopted by an overwhelming majority, the updated rules for the first time subject all gambling services to EU-wide rules for the prevention of money laundering while bringing greater legal security and consistency to online gambling operators offering their services across EU states.
UK Football Association Considers Betting Ban -
The UK Football Association is reportedly considering a blanket ban on players and club staff betting on football matches following an admission by Newcastle United Football Club player Dan Gosling to a FA misconduct charge earlier this week.
Three Stooges II Launches on Mobile -
One of RealTime Gaming’s newest and most popular online slots is now available for iPhone, iPad and Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 users following the launch through Jackpot Capital Casino of Three Stooges II.
Delaware Online Gambling Report Delayed -
The commission set up by the state of Delaware to recommend how the state can become more competitive in its gambling industry has struggled to reach consensus, leading to a delay in the submission of its recommendations.
REVIEW OF ONLINE GAMING IN EUROPE -
Ystats has concluded that European internet users - and especially those in West and Central Europe - spend significantly more time playing online games that is the case in other parts of the world...and that the devices of choice are increasingly mobile - smartphones and tablets - and socially oriented.
Sam Trickett Signs With Everest Poker -
Top international and British poker professional Sam Trickett has signed up as international brand ambassador for online gambling group Betclic Everest and will work with the Everest Poker team in London, from where he will attend Live events and take part in video updates and blogging efforts covering the world of poker.
UK gambling advertising requirements -
Judging by the frequent Advertising Standards Authority decisions on unacceptable advertising that go against online gambling firms, more needs to be done to educate marketers on what is appropriate… and more importantly what is not.
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