Caesars Entertainment and International Gaming Technology (IGT) are betting a combined $700 million that real money gambling is on its way to Facebook. Both companies have dropped big bucks acquiring social gaming shops in an indication that the face of online gambling is in for big changes in the months ahead.

IGT Acquires DoubleDown

Recently, slot machine maker IGT purchased social gaming giant Double Down Interactive for approximately $500 million. Even though the Facebook based Double Down Casino has 4.7 active users and is still growing, some industry analysts thought IGT was paying way too much for a relatively new company. (Double Down has only been in business for little over a year.)

Some industry analysts also suggested that IGT’s focus on social gaming could negatively impact their cored, slot business. Others, including some IGT customers, hinted that the company would wind up competing with its own customers for limited gaming dollars.

However, in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, IGT marketing VP Stacie Alonso denied the company will be treading on their Nevada customers’ turf, “IGT has no plans to operate an online casino in Nevada and compete with our customers.”

Whether or not the company will operate an online casino somewhere else remains to be seen, especially in light of the fact that they spent $110 million last to purchase Swedish poker outfit Entraction Holding.

Recommended Reading: How to Market Online Poker on Facebook

Caesars and Playtika

Caesars Entertainment recently completed their two-part acquisition of Playtika for $170 million. The Israeli social gaming company is the force behind Slotomania, one of Facebook’s most popular games.

Caesars has made no secret of its plans to get into the online poker market the moment its made legal. Company officials have already partnered with 888 to develop software and hope to have a site up within a year of legalization, should it actually happen.

Between the Playtika acquisition and 888 partnerships, Caesars is well situated to take advantage of almost any scenario involving legalized online gambling on Facebook or elsewhere.

The company behind Las Vegas’ most famous casino is also making social media a bigger part of their non-gaming marketing efforts. Visitors to their Vegas properties are given Total Rewards points for checking in with social media like 4square and Twitter. So Playtika could be leveraged to social, rather than cash money, gaming depending on how this issue works out.

Facebook Matters

When established names like IGT and Caesars start dropping this kind of money on social gaming, it’s a pretty clear indication that something big is in the works. Real money poker on Facebook has the potential to be absolutely huge for the igaming industry and their affiliate partners.

Facebook is looking at launching its initial public offering in May and it’s believed that is the force behind their interest in gambling. Investors demand ever increasing revenue and Facebook is uniquely situated to take advantage of legal gaming markets across the planet.

This story is nowhere near its conclusion and CAP will be covering every aspect as it develops.