Sports Casino, a social betting game released by San Francisco- and Tel Aviv-based developers RocketPlay (formerly Gamingo), made its Facebook debut on Wednesday, just in time for the kickoff of a new National Football League season between the Giants and the Cowboys. Sports Casino offers virtual currency wagers on the outcome of sporting events, as well as a host of in-play prop wagers. For the moment, the offering is built around baseball, American football and the UK and Spanish football leagues, although basketball, hockey, tennis, rugby, cricket et al are in the pipeline. Sports Casino’s offering also includes slots, blackjack and poker games. The latter was apparently a no-brainer, as RocketPlay president Matthew Cullen, a former Betfair VP, believes the sports betting and poker playing audiences “are nearly identical.”
While the mobile app is still in development, virtual punters can also access Sports Casino via Zynga.com, as part of the social game outfit’s strategy to act as a publisher for third-party developers. Zynga will help feed traffic from its other games to Sports Casino, for which it will receive an undisclosed slice of Sports Casino’s revenues. Cullen told Inside Social Games the company had “ran the numbers as it related to trying to go alone,” but “it just made sense to work with someone to publish the game.”
While some media outlets are describing Sports Casino as the first social betting game to hit Facebook, this is far from the case, as the makers of 2Bet2, 90Live and BettingSTAR would attest. In fact, just last month, Boca Raton-based OHK Labs released its SportsPicker Challenge app for Facebook and the iOS platform. (SportsPicker Challenge is also being published by Zynga.) But Sports Casino had the good fortune to make its debut the week after Zynga hired a prominent online gambling exec to steer the company through its transition to real-money play, placing an extra hopeful spin on Sports Casino’s long-term fortunes.
Elsewhere, Double Down Casino, International Game Technology’s social gaming offshoot, has taken another high-profile stride down its convergence path. Having inked multiple deals over the past month to provide social gaming options for the websites of land-based casinos in Arizona, California and Nevada, DoubleDown has just signed a similar deal with its first casino in Las Vegas. Visitors to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas’ website will now find social slots, poker and other casino games, allowing them to familiarize themselves with many of the same IGT products they’ll find in non-virtual form on the Hard Rock’s casino floor.