Real Money social gaming is a hot topic in the online bingo and gambling industry. For online bingo operators the potential is enormous. For example two of the most popular games on Facebook are Bingo Blitz created by Buffalo Studios and Zynga’s new Facebook bingo game that was introduced in March. Since Facebook has over 900 million regular users the potential can easily be seen. Late last year Facebook did an about face and the company indicated it was interested in real money gaming.
A new report by UK research firm Juniper Research found that a surge in social gaming activity couples with the introduction of intrastate lottery and casino services in the United States will help to push gaming revenues generated by mobile devices to $100 billion annually by 2017. Last year mobile gaming generated about $20 billion. The Juniper report, titled ‘Mobile Gambling: Casinos, Lotteries & Betting 2012-2017,’ pointed out the huge increase in wagers that had taken place in UK sportsbooks during the past year. The report said that about 20% of online wagers were made using mobile devices and tablets.
The report said that while currently sportsbook betting accounts for the largest share of mobile gambling it will be overtaken by online casino gambling within five years. According to the author of the Juniper report, Dr Windsor Holden, “Social gaming companies such as Zynga are seeking to move from play-for-fun casino games into real money gambling, while pureplay mobile casinos including Probability have begun to integrate with the Facebook mobile platform. In this way, consumers will be able to use their social networks to register for casino games, substantially increasing both the reach and engagement of such services.”
The report took note of last December’s riling by the US department of justice that reopened the American remote gambling market. In a memo the DOJ said that under the wire act of 1961 only sports betting is prohibited on the internet. The ruling opened the door for states to set up their own intrastate internet gaming operations including online bingo. The state of Nevada has been taking license applications from gaming operators. Some casino interests have already invested in social gaming companies and are well positioned to enter the market once full legalization takes place. The report goes on to say that while currently mobile applications are viewed a retentive tools for operators in the future mobile devices will become a valuable player acquisition tool.