Friday , October 21, 2011 : LAND AND ONLINE SLOTS DEVELOPER TARGETS SOCIAL MARKET
 
WMS is creating a stir with Player's Life
 
The rapid growth of social network gaming has attracted the attention of land and online slots developer WMS Gaming according to a report in Businessweek.
 
Increasing numbers of social gaming fans are congregating on the WMS website Player's Life, where they exchange tips, post videos of their casino triumphs, and arrange get-togethers to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the publication reports.
 
Created last year by WMS, Player’s Life already has 650,000 members and counting. John Grochowski, a slots columnist and author of The Slot Machine Answer Book, opined to Businessweek that it was only a matter of time before innovations like social networking on the gaming front sweep through the global land slots industry.
 
“It’s somewhere that everybody is going to go,” he says.
 
Player’s Life is connected to a server linked to WMS’s more advanced slot games, like The Lord of the Rings. Player’s Life members can battle Orcs in casual online games and then unlock the opportunity to play potentially lucrative bonus rounds when they return to the casino. The site also awards users virtual trophies for their online and offline victories.
 
“We pretty much offer everything you find on Xbox LIVE or Facebook,” Larry Pacey, chief innovation officer at WMS, told the publication.
 
WMS revealed that the average bet by a Player’s Life member is 10 percent to 15 percent higher than the typical land slot devotee. It claims the boost is even greater when members play the bonus rounds they’ve unlocked online at Player's Life.
 
The company is now focused on getting more Player’s Life-connected slots into the land casinos, boosting the present 1,072 socially networked slots that it has in place.
 
That’s a fraction of the 854,000 electronic gambling machines in the U.S., according to the American Gaming Association, which says that 63 percent of the currently $34 billion plus land gambling market is from slot action.
 
WMS has also been active in the European online gambling scene, launching its own Jackpot Party Casino with a regular flow of internet-ready games sporting a variety of themes
 
In the United States, some land operators have voiced the opinion that WMS is using Player's Life and its land-networked slots to prepare the ground for the legalization of internet gambling in the United States.
 
Pacey strongly denied that WMS is planning anything along these lines, but not all casino executives are convinced, Businessweek reports.
 
“I can’t imagine that WMS doesn’t want to be in that field,” said Chuck Hickey, vice-president of slot operations at Barona Resort & Casino in Lakeside, Calif.
 
“Come on. This could be a multibillion-dollar business.”