Despite recent attempts by certain governments to suppress online gambling, in many markets it still thrives and evolves. Major factors in that evolution are mobile gaming and social gaming, two relatively new trends that will only get bigger as 2011 moves into 2012.

Social media milestone
Chili Poker has launched the first online poker/social media interface. The new feature, called Chiliconnect, allows online poker players at to share their results with friends and any other connections via Facebook and other popular social media networks.

“Chilipoker is the first online poker site to implement a feature like this, but with the social media craze not going away anytime soon, we’re sure to see something like this pop up again,” notes

PokerStars social bid criticized
That concept of social gaming — combining the wild popularity of social networking sites with profitable Internet poker gaming — is also behind PokerStars “Home Games”, software that “premiered in January and provides players with the opportunity to re-create their home games as ‘poker clubs’ in virtual space,” per the San Francisco Chronicle.

Players download the application then play, for real money or play money — but the money is between the players, not paid out by the company itself. The Chronicle criticizes the game as lacking intimacy, but that’s not an uncommon reaction to these sorts of games.

Zynga acquires PokerRatings site
Also riding the social media and online poker gravy train — leading it, really — is online gaming service Zynga.

That company may not offer the standard real-money online poker affiliates promote — but it’s just for that reason that the company’s enormous success is worth watching. This week, Zynga announced the “acquisition of the team from MarketZero, who is behind the largest online portal tracking career statistics of online poker players, PokerTableRatings,” reports TechCrunch.

“It’s important to note that Zynga is hiring the team behind MarketZero, but will not operating or acquiring MarketZero’s existing business.”

Mobile updates
Many online gaming software providers are scrambling to create apps for mobile phones like the iPhone and Android platforms. But the companies are sharply limited based on what market they operate in. For example, bwin’s real-money online poker app — the first and so far only one for iPhone — can be played in the UK, but not the U.S.

Now, some companies may have found routes around that problem, figuring out ways to let casino companies offer services to mobile phone users that isn’t exactly the same as Internet gambling.

San Francisco’s MacroView Labs is already emerging as sthe “largest developer of casino apps in the United States,” with “millions of people around the world” using the company’s mobile apps every day, per the San Francisco Examiner.

The company has already worked with major Vegas casinos like Bellagio, the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, the Palms, and New York New York. The company lets the casinos set up mobile gaming that visitors can use to place bets.

So far, the technology doesn’t let the general Internet bet on these casinos, and that could only happen if the U.S. radically changes its online gambling laws. (Which is probably about to happen.) But for now, what MacroLabs is doing is helping to show the business world one possible future of online gambling.

Along with new social media innovations as described above, these changes to mobile gaming mean that the online gambling world in general is probably going to look a lot different in five, especially ten years. Smart, long-term-oriented casino affiliates will set their marketing plans accordingly.

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