Just days after Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment’s Parx Casino in Pennsylvania announced a free-play online casino deal with GameAccount Network, Parx has officially launched Play4Fun, a social casino platform powered by Scientific Games Corp online subsidiary Williams Interactive. The Play4Fun site features popular WMS Gaming slots titles like Super Jackpot Party and is also accessible via iOS and Android mobile devices. Parx CTO John Dixon said the launch was part of the casino’s plan to “continue building an engaged online player community in the near term, while positioning our operation for any potential future legalization of iGaming.”
It would be interesting to note what Fitch Ratings analysts think of Parx staking out its claim on an online future, given the dire prognosis a new Fitch report painted for the US casino industry. Among the pitfalls awaiting the casino biz, Fitch cites a “potentially lower propensity to gamble among younger generations” and the “proliferation of online/social gaming.” While big casino operators like MGM Resorts have described their myVegas social casino offering as an “extremely interesting customer acquisition tool,” Fitch describes social casino games as “a net negative” for regional casino operators.
While there’s mounting evidence of the absence of serious crossover between real-money online gamblers and social gamers, Fitch believes there is “meaningful overlap between [brick-and-mortar] casino and social game players.” As such, social game spending “eats into the customers’ casino and other recreational budgets.” With younger generations increasingly disinterested in slot machines, Fitch describes social gaming participation by gaming device makers like WMS as a “smart hedge against the difficult backdrop for the supplier’s core products.”
The week saw two new (allegedly) casino-destroying social casino products make their debuts. GamePoint has added GamePoint Poker to its existing Bingo, Royaldice and Cardparty titles. GamePoint Poker is currently available on Facebook with an iPad app in development. Meanwhile, GameSpring has released Baccarat Online 3D, an extra-dimensional upgrade of the Baccarat Online product that debuted in 2012. Like the real-world version, players can choose to bet on either the house or other players. The game is currently available on Facebook, as well as on iOS and Android devices.