While social gaming generated billions in virtual currency via chip trading and players purchasing add-ons, it is estimated that a social gamer generates only about $1 a month per user and only $2 lifetime value. In contrast to his a real money gambler generates $300 per month and has a lifetime value of $1800. While these figures may vary depending on whom you ask there is no questioning the fact that the real revenue in online gaming is in the real-money player market.
It is for this reason that there has been a frenzy of interest from just about every major gambling entity in increasing their presence in the social casino and gaming area. Major players like IGT who purchased DoubleDown have signed numerous agreements with land based casino in which they offer their free-to-play DoubleDown Casino offering as an additional feature in these land casino gambling sites.
This partnership between social and real money gambling is one which benefits all parties. On the one hand money players like IGT get to attract and increase their brand presence with social casino gamers. The hope and expectation from players like IGT is that they will succeed in converting many of their free-to-play online gamers to the real thing. This is by no means a stretch as the social casino games are identical to the cash versions.
On the other hand social casino gaming developers are producing cutting edge free-to-play games that could be easily adapted to a real money version if and when it becomes legal to do so in places like the U.S. It is basically a fait accompli that online gambling will eventually be legalized in the U.S. the question is just a matter of when and not if.
It is at this point where the issue gets complicated. The process of acquiring gambling licenses anywhere in the world is filled with bureaucracy and could take years to obtain. This is a major headache for nay social gaming company looking into this possibility. The expertise and infrastructure needed are well out of many smaller gaming companies.
There is a new UK startup called Betable which may well be the ideal matchmaker which will be able to merge the worlds of real money gambling and social gaming. They have a unique system in which they basically do all the work for any company looking to monetize their games. They are already licensed with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and as such are in a position to offer betting and gambling services anywhere where it is legally to do.
They are a one stop shop for everything which is needed in order to start monetizing games. This includes all the support and infrastructure and licensing issues. It in effect frees up the gaming developers to concentrate exclusively on producing the best games and frees then from having to get involved in the lengthy process of obtaining a gambling license. Betable employs technology which can ensure identity verification and player location which is essential to comply with most of the global gambling jurisdictions.
Betable seems like a perfect solution for smaller gaming companies who do not have the resources of other gaming giants who are in a position to develop their own real money gambling platform.
It is no surprise that Big Fish announced only today that they will be launching a real money gambling option in the UK in partnership with Betable. The trend is clear to anyone who follows social gaming and gambling. These two worlds are becoming inseparable as it is impossible for social gamers to resist the temptation of real money gaming cash which makes social gaming revenues look like small change.
It will be interesting to follow Betable as they seem to provide a much needed solution for the many social gamers looking to cross over to the real world of gambling.