Free-to-play mobile gaming company Glu Mobile announced today it has partnered with the UK’s Probability PLC to create a line of slot games that will see players betting real money instead of virtual coins.
Under the terms of the deal, Glu branding and IP will be integrated with Probability developed titles that have already been approved by the U.K. Gambling Commission. Probability, and not Glu will handle regulatory responsibilities, but both companies will take on marketing and publishing duties, depending on the channel.
Set to launch in the first half of 2013, the games will only be available on iOS in the two markets Probability is approved to operate in: the U.K. and Italy. However, there is also the potential to bring the games to other mobile platforms and to new distribution channels via Probability’s partnerships with U.K. betting firms like PaddyPower, William Hill and Ladbrokes.
“This is not anything more than an ancillary revenue stream for Glu — our core business remains where it is, but its exciting for us because we’ve noticed the trends in real money gambling and the potential for other markets to open up,” explains Niccolo de Masi, CEO of Glu Mobile when asked why his company was entering the real-money gambling market.
According to de Masi, the partnership also allows Glu to investigate the feasibility of incorporating real-money monetization mechanics into titles like Gun Bros or Contract Killer down the line.
“You could have real-money rewards systems and real-money gambling mechanics as part of the soft currency/hard currency system in the countries that allow that,” he says. “We think it could take off and be a interesting long-term monetization compliment.”
Although online real-money gambling is still only legal in certain jurisdictions, Glu Mobile is part of a growing cohort of mobile and social developers experimenting with the practice. In August Seattle’s Big Fish Games announced it had teamed with Betable to bring real money gambling to the U.K. version of its mobile casino app Big Fish Casino. Idle Games and Zynga are also preparing to release titles using the mechanic.