Betable, the San Francisco-based company that has carved out a niche providing an easy bolt-on back-end for social gaming companies looking to enter the real-money gambling world, has signed former Zynga man Jonathan Flesher as executive VP of business development. Flesher was a key figure in bringing about Zynga’s real-money gambling deal in the UK with bwin.party digital entertainment and Flesher told Tech Crunch that Betable can help social gaming companies crush their competition. “If you incorporate real-money gaming, you’ll get a higher lifetime value from your players, and then you’ll be able to outspend other companies in this space that aren’t doing real-money gaming.” Betable added Zynga’s former GM of mobile, Ya-Bing Chu, in November.
Betable’s real-money clients are all UK-facing, and with the UK leading the way on the social gaming and online gambling convergence front, UK regulators are feeling the pressure to stick their noses in. On Thursday, Gambling Commission chairman Philip Graf addressed the issue at the Regulating Social Gaming 2013 conference in London organized by GamblingCompliance. Graf stressed that the regulator had “absolutely no desire to widen our regulatory scope” but also wouldn’t hesitate to act if it felt the industry wasn’t capable of policing itself. Graf was keeping an eye on social games that have “gambling characteristics,” i.e. those that carry the same risks of “young people or other vulnerable people developing problem gambling characteristics” or “being ripped off … by rigged games or unscrupulous or incompetent operators.” The Commission is conducting a review of the social gaming sector to determine potential risk factors.
Another area of concern Graf cited in his speech was the use of social media to offer or promote commercial gambling. London-based DCM Capital Ltd. recently announced a new spread-betting platform called DCM Dealer that will analyze social media posts to help traders gauge the mood of the market. DCM Capital’s CEO Paul Hawtin told Bloomberg the site would monitor 350m daily tweets to help investors monitor “sentiment and human emotion on specific instruments in real time.” For the record, this is DCM’s second attempt at such a scheme. The first, the Derwent Absolute Return Fund, closed just three months after it opened in August 2011, but DCM believes it has worked out the kinks in the algorithm this time. The project is set to launch next week, so just for fun, everyone include the hashtag #SellSellSell in a tweet on Monday.