One thing is for certain, as a fast-thinking online gambling company, the bwin.party merge is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to conquer this industry. They have made no bones about the fact that they want to be top of the heap, and recently announced a new JV with a Californian Indian Tribal alliance in the USA, to enter the online poker market in this state – should it ever become legal. Their latest advertised push however, is into the social gaming arena.
See what we mean by ‘leaving no stone unturned’, just about everything is becoming grist for their mill? Their planned entry into social gaming has only taken shape recently, but was birthed at the merge of ‘bwin’ and ‘Party’ last year. We have to admit we were surprised to hear that €40 million or US$50 million has been earmarked for an investment. This funding will be used to establish a dedicated social gaming unit named ‘Win’, and scheduled to be based in Gibraltar.
The focus of its strategy will be on leveraging existing skills and assets, together with existing know-how. It is their aim as part of the investment, to position them-selves securely within the marketplace, and do this meaningfully within the next two years.
Broadening their reach into social gaming means investing in two eastern European gaming developers to the tune of $23 million! These companies are Velasco and Orneon, where bwin.party will purchase the contracts of three-hundred and thirty software developers to accelerate the social gaming push. This also includes some existing social gaming contracts.
Social gaming and online gambling are rapidly becoming symbiotically integrated; online gamblers want their gambling to be more social, and social gamers might want to take more of a risk. But the social gaming market place today has approximately 750 million users. These users may also be potential feeders for online gambling websites.
When we think that the potential for growth for social gaming could reach 1.5 billion by 2015, and the fact that this is already an $8bn market, it is no wonder that industry players such as bwin.party want in! Growth rate in money terms is expected to be $15 billion during the next three years!
The first of these social gaming products to be launched by bwin.party will be a poker-based game; closely followed by applications for casino-styled games and even some form of sports-book betting. Applications should be launched by the end of 2012, and every two weeks new content will be added. Revenues will be boosted by in-game sponsorship as well as banner advertising.
Most social gaming players never pay to play these games, but a small (2%) percentage will. They basically pay to access additional features, or credits which allow them to move faster through the game. Bwin.party expects that their new ‘Win’ division will become profitable within two years, however, if it fails, this will not be due to lack of investment, not with $50 million in the kitty to make sure that all goes well?!