Live Casinos Go Online

In recent months casinos have been partnering with social game developers to create applications that will eventually lure players into live casinos via Facebook. For example Las Vegas’s Rivera has partnered with Buffalo Studios, the creators of Facebook’s wildly popular Bingo Blitz to increase awareness of the Rivera brand. Bingo Blitz’s online bingo games attract young players who would never set foot in a real bingo hall. Just about half of Bingo Blitz players fall into the 18 to 34 age group which is much younger than the average bingo player. Salim Mitha, vice president of Buffalo Studios stated “It’s really about supply and demand. Las Vegas has always had the supply. I think we can help create more demand.”

Caesar’s Entertainment introduced Margaritaville Online which is a cyber 3D world where users can build and design beach resorts, fish from customized boats and drink margaritas. Zynga’s Farmville game on Facebook has attracted a large following of middle aged women with money and time to spare. Caesars Entertainment hopes that its Margaritaville brand will attract a similar demographic. Caesar’s believes that if this group of players love Jimmy Buffett’s virtual world they will be inclined to visit the live version of Margaritaville in the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Margaritaville online was launched shortly after the Flamingo introduced the Margaritaville mini casino.

Fertitta Interactive, the developer of ultimate poker, is eyeing a different demographic. The company wants to tap into the popularity of Ultimate Fighting using the company’s Ultimate Fighting interactive brand. The company plans to advertise during Ultimate Fighting events. Market research has shown that ultimate fighting attracts men in their 20’s and 30’s and that they are the very same group attracted to internet gaming. Even better the UFC audience is worth billions. WMS is connecting the real world with the virtual one by creating online versions of casino games that enable players to earn credits that can be used on a casino floor.

About 1 million people have signed up for Player’s Life and during the past six months over a million players have registered to play WMS Gaming’s Facebook slot game titled “Lucky Cruise.” Rob Bone, senior vice president of WMS Gaming stated “You can’t go from a physical gaming environment straight to online gaming. You have to have that intermediary step where you’re creating communities of people and engaging with them. Then you go into a more monetary online gaming format.” Bone continued and said “Online is about accessibility for the player. I think people are very fearful that once online flips over, all these beautiful buildings on the Strip will have a shelf life of five to 10 years and everyone will have moved online. I think the goal is to find out how they coexist, how do people move from one place to the next. Capture them online, and get them to redeem an offer at the casino.”

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