Meet the new social gaming

Any casino affiliate who still has doubts about the rapid convergence of social gaming and real money gambling (RMG) might want to take a look at the latest numbers from Caesars Interactive Entertainment.

According to recent earnings reports and analysis, Caesars has dethroned Zynga and is now the biggest player in the social gaming sector. The news is significant to everyone from affiliates; to land-based casino operators; and the executives at Zynga.

For starters, Caesars new spot atop the social gaming pyramid is fantastic news for a company that hasn’t seen a lot of good news over the past few years. Their gamble on a 51% percent stake in Playtika, theIsraeli social gaming outfit has definitely turned out to be a good one.

Not only is the company building a nice social empire, they’re tying it to their land-based operations through the Total Rewards program; and are well suited to funnel players into the RMG operation they’re setting up with 888.

Though Caesars’ investment in a relatively new and untested company was a bold investment in social gaming, it was hardly the only one. As we reported last year, that was just one of many such moves by land-based casinos looking to expand their reach onto the Web.

The timing ot these acquisitions was pretty good. According to a recent article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the social gaming market should clock at around $2 billion in 2013. That’s a whopping 67% jump over 2012.

One business sector whose role in the new social gaming order isn’t exactly clear is the casino affiliate business. Land-based casinos already have massive marketing operations; established rewards programs; and have seriously grown out their play-money Facebook casinos.

That said, the social/land-based casino connection is still pretty young and no one is really sure if all those social players will be interested in becoming RMG players. If early efforts in Nevada peter out, the land-based industry could wind up looking to a proven entity, casino affiliates.

The unquestioned loser in this Zynga, the company that was once the undisputed social gaming king.

Though the California-based company has been making moves towards the RMG market, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever return to the heady days when they completely dominated the social gaming space. Zynga has also seen its stock price heading south almost since their much-vaunted IPO.

No matter who winds up on top at this time next year, it’s clear that social gaming will be dominating the industry in months and years to come.

What are your thoughts on the growing presence of land-based casinos in the social gaming space? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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