Monday November 18 ,2013 : AUSSIE SOCIAL ONLINE GAMING FIRM TO EXPAND
Virtual Gaming World has a Philippines online gambling license.
Australian readers may recall the name Lawrence Escalante, the young Perth entrepreneur who raised capital online to launch his Facebook social gaming company Virtual Gaming World and its Chumba Casino subsidiary.
Escalante used a typically social gaming business model to generate revenues, allowing his online players to buy extra chips for premium action rather than playing the slots and card games for rewards.
The Australian Financial Review reported over the weekend that Escalante now plans to take the Chumba action wider and for real-money within the next few weeks, using a recently acquired Philippines internet gambling licence.
Escalante additionally has expanded his Facebook action by offering Chumba's 200,000 active monthly users sweepstakes action. Apparently two thirds of his player base is US-resident, where laws pertaining to sweepstakes-style gambling are ambivalent – pursued in some states and permitted in others, and Escalante is exploiting this.
The idea is to allow users to buy virtual credits with which to gamble on his slots, enabling them to "cash in" any credits they win for a variety of prizes.
Escalante hopes that the new venture will increase the revenues per head he currently makes from around 15,000 active daily users, along with attracting more punters to his Facebook casino.
There is some cause for optimism already – Escalante claims that after one month, with no marketing, he is already seeing sweepstakes users “deposit more and play far more often” than those in the “social casino.”
The Australian entrepreneur raised $A2.5 million in private investment and says he is mid-way through raising a further A$5 million from as yet unnamed investors. He has gathered experienced managers around the company, including Steve Parker, the former general manager of slot manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure, and ex-studio manager Edgar Pau, who has recently designed for US company Bally, and is the start-up’s head of slot machine design.
Innovative slot design is a key objective. “Better slot games are the biggest monetiser of a social casino,” says Escalante.