Free-play social gaming operators started 2018 off on the right foot by posting double-digit revenue growth in the first quarter.
CDC Gaming Reports recently summarized a new social gaming market recap by Eilers & Krecjik Gaming which claimed the overall social gaming market enjoyed revenue of $1.27b in the first three months of 2018, an 18% improvement over the same period last year and an undeniably staggering sum considering players can’t actually win anything beyond the ability to keep playing.
As with most online gambling metrics these days, social gaming’s Q1 gains were driven largely by mobile devices, which enjoyed revenue growth of more than one-quarter. Eilers & Krecjjik said the overall social gaming market was worth $4.72b over the past 12 months, up one-fifth year-on-year.
Playtika, the former Caesars Interactive Entertainment property that was acquired by a Chinese consortium for $4.4b in 2016, claimed top honors with revenue of $348m. Playtika represents more than one-quarter of the overall social gaming market, thanks in part to the enduring popularity of its Slotomania social casino app.
Aristocrat Technologies, the subidiary of Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure that acquired Churchill Downs Inc’s social gaming division Big Fish Games last November for $990m, ranked second on the Q1 revenue chart with $155.7m, representing 12% of the overall market.
The real-money online gambling sector has undergone a flurry of big-time consolidation in recent years, and while there hasn’t been a major social gaming deal since the Big Fish transfer, Eilers & Krejcik “expect further consolidation in the social casino sector.”
While social gaming enjoys global popularity, social casino operators have been under fire in the US state of Washington, due to some nuisance lawsuits in which players seek to reclaim the money they spent on social casino apps by claiming the activity is a form of illegal gambling under state law. Some operators have responded by withdrawing services from the state.