We have been following the daily developments in the casino industry with an eye on the growing partnerships with virtual online casino companies. One of the more interesting partnerships is that of the global leader in slot machines IGT (International Game technology) which as we have reported is partnering up with land based casinos. The most recent partnerships were that of Casino Del Sol Resort and Golden Acorn in California. According to IGT they are currently in talks with 20 other companies with the aim of adding their DoubleDown Casino to those casino sites.

Many outsiders ask the question as to the logic of these two seemingly different worlds combining. Many are baffled by what possible connection there could be between virtual free-to-play casino games that feature heavily on social networks like Facebook and that of land based casinos that offer the real-money gambling option?

Well to understand this connection better one needs to take a global look at the online gaming and online gambling markets at the same time. The global social gaming market is at present one of the fastest growing industries. There are millions of global players who actually spend a lot of money on these virtual casino games. While they may not be playing for real money, there is a multi-billion dollar industry with online players purchasing virtual chips and upgrades to these so-called free-to-play casino games. For all intense and  purposes many regard the social casino market as a real-money making option rather than simply a free-to-play gaming option.

It is also imperative to take note of what is happening in the global economy. Throughout Europe and the United States, there is an ongoing recession which has resulted in many countries looking for and needing alternative revenue generators in order to keep their economies growing. The simple fact that people have always and will always gamble is a reality which most forward thinking governments have come to terms with. It makes business sense for both Governments and gambling operators to come to agreements in which both parties walk away with a regulated and controlled gaming industry.While Europe is more open to online gambling, the United States is fast catching up and states like Nevada and Delaware have already started issuing online gaming licenses.

If you take these factors into account you will understand why traditional gambling powerhouses like IGT are throwing their hat in the social casino industry in a big way. In January 2012 they made an acquisition of $500 million for DoubleDown which at the time drew some strange looks to say the least. This amount may seem to many as an absolute fortune but bear in mind that IGT have one eye on the U.S. online gambling market being legalized. The estimates are varied but many believe that the U.S. online gambling market alone could be worth well over $13 billion per year while the global online gambling is rumored to be around $40 billion.

By IGT establishing their brand and offering their various slots games in their virtual casino DoubleDown Casino they are not only increasing their brand to social networks but are presenting their online players with replica slots games that are available to pay or real-money in many land based casinos. More importantly the second U.S. online gambling is legalized they will have the necessary existing customer base to convert to real-money gamblers.
For the land casinos it is also a win-win situation for DoubleDown Casino to be offered on their online sites as it allows their customers to interact with their customers online.

IGT have announced plans to expand their DoubleDown Casino on additional casino sites. Executive vice president of global sales for IGT, Eric Tom stated that the idea of offering their social casino on land based casino serve two purposes. Firstly it gives the casino a chance to interact with their online customers in an alternative way while at the same time IGT get the chance to offer their slots brand for free on these online sites.

The worlds of social casino games and real-money gambling are becoming intertwined and are fast changing the way we approach online gamblingas a whole. The intriguing question is exactly how many of these loyal online free-to-play online players will make the crossover to real-money gambling offerings.

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