Betable, Big Fish split; CIE to acquire Pacific Interactive; social betting on breakups

caesars-pacific-interactive-big-fish-betableSocial gaming outfit Big Fish Games has reportedly cut ties with Betable, the UK Gambling Commission-licensed outfit that allows social casino companies to offer real-money gambling in regulated markets. Gaming Intelligence reported that the Big Fish Casino real-money app had been pulled from Apple’s UK app store following the expiration of the agreement the two parties entered into in August 2012. The Seattle-based Big Fish was the first and highest-profile company to team with Betable, which recently got some competition via Alderney-licensed startup Cashbet.

Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) is reportedly close to announcing a deal to acquire Pacific Interactive, the developers behind the popular House of Fun social casino title. Eilers Research estimated that CIE would pay between $60m to $90m to bring Pacific under the umbrella of CIE’s Playtika social gaming division. eGaming Review claimed that CIE hoped to keep the Pacific Interactive creative team intact post-purchase.

CIE appears to be attempting to buy its way out of debt, following previous acquisitions of Playtika and Buffalo Studios that helped elevate CIE to the top of the social casino totem pole. Late last week, Debtwire reported that CIE’s controlling shareholder Caesars Entertainment had hired investment bank Lazard to help restructure its industry-high $24b debt obligations. However, having pushed back its next serious debt maturities down the road until 2018, Caesars is reportedly insisting that bankruptcy is not an option (much like profits). So in the meantime, why not keep spending?

Meanwhile, the social gaming operations of Caesars brick-and-mortar casino rival MGM Resorts is celebrating having passed the 2m Facebook fan milestone. The PlayStudios-powered myVEGAS site launched in late 2012, offering free-play slots and casino table games that enabled users to earn rewards they can redeem at MGM’s land-based facilities. In November, MGM CEO Jim Murren said myVEGAS was becoming “an extremely interesting customer acquisition tool.” myVEGAS is currently available via desktop and iOS/Android/Kindle mobile devices.

Social casino developers FlowPlay have invited other developers to take advantage of the back-end technology powering their popular Vegas World app. FlowPlay says its platform’s massively multiplayer online architecture allows thousands of players to compete and socialize via web, Facebook and iOS/Android mobile devices. Joju Games, which was founded by Bingo Blingo developer Juan Gril. has already taken up FlowPlay’s offer and is prepping the launch of a standalone version of JoJu’s slots/bingo hybrid Fringo.

Finally, just in time for Valentine’s Day, the latest entrant into the social betting arena allows users to express cynicism toward the concept of endless love. Forever|NOT: Relationship Betting allows players to anonymously bet on the health of other peoples’ relationships, be they celebrity couples or your next-door neighbor. Bets have a lifespan of 30 days, so if you bet on the happy couple staying together forever and they don’t make it past the honeymoon, you lose your stake. Sure, you’re laughing now, but just wait until someone sleeps with your wife then brags about it on Twitter in a desperate bid to preserve their virtual chip pile.