Casino companies, slot makers not the only gambling businesses launching free-play casinos

29 May 2012

Casino companies MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment Corp. and slot machine giant International Game Technology are investing in a growing number of free-for-play casinos, as detailed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Some of the new free-play casinos are not connected with any land-based casino or a Nevada gaming licensee.

RocketFrog was developed by a team headed by Los Angeles-based Brett Calapp, who co-founded Centaurus Games, a subscription-based gaming network that was sold to PartyGaming in 2010. Calapp was also the president of Ultimate Blackjack Tour, which was televised by CBS.

While play on RocketFrog is free — and there is an opportunity for players to purchase virtual chips for premium games — the site will offer sponsorship opportunities to businesses. Calapp said a business could sponsor pages on the site, where gaming tables, playing cards, chips and slot machines would carry that business’s logo.

Facebook, Calapp said, provides a large audience of potential customers.

“There are hundreds of millions of embedded users,” he said.

Other companies have shied away from Facebook and created mobile gaming applications for smartphones and tablet computers.

U.S. Playing Cards, which produces such brands as Bee and Bicycle, is involved with the Zeniz Mobile Social Casino, which offers a variety of casino games, including slot machines and hold’em poker. The initial download is free but players can purchase additional chips.

U.S. Playing Cards President Marc Hill said the concept, which was recently launched, is similar to the virtual casinos found on Facebook. Initially, the idea is to build the Zeniz brand.

“We need to give consumers a reason to stay with you,” Hill said.

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