Social-mobile gaming developer Digital Chocolate today launched its first real-money gaming title Slots! Pocket UK for iOS in the U.K.
Powered by real-money gaming platform Betable, Slots! Pocket UK is a slots game that allows U.K. users the option to wager either real money or virtual currency and chips on pulls of the slot machine. Betable first announced its partnership with Digital Chocolate back in November 2012. Digital Chocolate is one of 10 developers so far to partner with Betable for its real-money gaming platform, which is still a private beta program. Betable handles all the real-money aspects of the game on the backend, including compliance, fraud prevention, identity checks, wagering, and gambling results, while Digital Chocolate can focus on the development of the actual game. In order for players to gamble with real money, they must be authenticated with Betable by signing up, depositing money, and more.
“[Betable] helped us leapfrog the whole race into real-money gaming by allowing us to partner with them on their platform, and of course, they have the license in the U.K. to do real-money gaming,” Jason Loia, chief operating officer of Digital Chocolate, told Inside Mobile Apps.
There are about three ways to enter the real-money gaming market. First, an IP-licensing deal like how Zynga partnered with real-money games operator bwin.party, where bwin makes a game that’s Zynga branded. Second, a developer can acquire their own real-money gaming license, but its a very expensive and long process. It costs millions of dollars and takes years to acquire a gambling license. Lastly, a developer can acquire a company that already has a real-money gaming license, but whatever developer that acquires a company with a license would have to restructure because they have to become compliant with whatever country’s government that allows real-money gaming. After analyzing its options, Loia says Digital Chocolate realized it couldn’t enter real-money gaming alone, and it didn’t have deep enough pockets to obtain a gambling license in each country where real-money gaming is legal. With Betable, Digital Chocolate gets to make its own game, control its IP, and have Betable do all the backend real-money gaming legwork, all under a fair revenue share model.
“There’s some bigger companies that are going after the licenses themselves, but for us and the majority of the gaming sector, it makes more sense to partner with experts in that field,” Loia says. “We’re not experts in real-money gaming law — Betable is. We’re experts in making great social games for mobile and web. The partnership makes total sense.”
Slots! Pocket U.K. launches with seven thematically different slot machines, with more to come in the future. Themes in this release include a safari-themed slot machine, an underwater machine, a Wild West machine, and more, all with its own sound, characters and storyline. Each slot machine also features its own mini-game, which can be unlocked depending on the spin of the wheel. When completing mini games, users earn the chance to level up (users have to level up to unlock more slot machines) and win more. Lastly, the combination of potential winning spins increases based on the number of friends a player has.
The game also features an advanced power up system, which rewards users with virtual currency. For example, a player can take a chance and apply a multiplier to their spin, or they can throw an anchor to hold on to a specific reel within the machine, altering the outcome, or make a quake and shake the reel for a winning combination. No matter which power up a player utilizes, they earn bonus points. The real-money slot machines don’t have any of these power ups from the virtual-currency machines as the real-money machines look and feel like a slots machine a user would see in a casino.
Loia says the future for real-money gaming is when regulations open up even further so real-money gaming mechanics could be added to social gaming in general, not just casino games. Digital Chocolate’s portfolio mainly consists of free-to-play social games like social racer Race Track Rivals (review), medieval fighting game Kings and Warlords, city building game Millionaire City and more.
“The more exciting thing about real-money gaming is when you can couple the broad reach of those social games with the massive monetization that real-money gaming brings to the table,” he says. “That’s when it truly explodes and changes gaming forever.”