Slot vendors turn toward acquisitions to prep for online future
International Game Technology (IGT) and Bally Technologies, two of the world’s largest suppliers of slot machines and systems, recently purchased online gaming technology and content providers in an effort to strengthen their Web portfolios.
IGT struck first, reaching a definitive agreement to purchase Double Down Interactive LLC-a leading online social gaming company and developer of the popular DoubleDown Casino found on Facebook, early last month. Launched in April 2010, the DoubleDown Casino is the one of the world’s largest virtual casino and one of the top four social media games in 2011 as rated by Facebook. According to AppData.com, DoubleDown Casino currently has 4.7 million monthly active users, up from 3.3 million in October 2011. With a broad and expanding portfolio, Double Down offers blackjack, slots, slot tournaments, video poker, and roulette to social gamers all around the world.
The total consideration includes $250 million in cash, $85 million in retention payments over the next two years and up to $165 million in cash payable over the next three years subject to Double Down meeting certain financial performance targets. IGT expects to fund the transaction from cash on hand.
The addition of Double Down provides IGT instant size and scale in the fast growing world of casino-style social gaming and is expected to broaden IGT’s popular gaming titles beyond the physical casino to Facebook, the world’s largest social network with over 800 million global users. This distribution model is anticipated to provide IGT an opportunity to entertain players with consistent, ubiquitous, thrilling gaming experiences across multiple platforms.
“As technological innovations increasingly influence consumer behavior, social dynamics are quickly transforming entertainment and gaming experiences everywhere,” said Patti Hart, CEO of IGT. “The addition of Double Down launches IGT into a leadership position in social gaming, extends our global reach through new mediums, and leverages our unmatched expertise in game development. We intend to drive meaningful value from this rapidly growing distribution platform that reaches a new, but complementary, demographic of gamers.”
Meanwhile, Bally Technologies was working on a deal to acquire Chiligaming, an international developer and operator of multiâplatform social games and gambling products, which came to fruition the latter half of February. Bally plans to offer the Chiligaming’s Business-to-Business iGaming platform as a best-in-class technology solution for wager-based and play-for-free applications.
“This acquisition provides an open, cloud-based platform for Bally Technologies to offer an integrated traditional and online casino solution to operators worldwide,” said John Connelly, vice president of business development at Bally Technologies. “Equally as important, Bally Technologies has also obtained an experienced team of industry veterans from within the online gaming industry, which will help our customers optimize their use of this platform.”
A significant value of Bally’s new iGaming platform solution is that Bally Systems customers will have integration with their Bally slot-management and casino-management systems (ACSC, SDS, and CMP), as well as the Bally Business Intelligence solution-giving casinos a single view of their patrons and powerful, enterprise-wide analytics.
“This flexible iGaming platform will enable casino operators to leverage their land-based gaming operations with a unified view of players’ trends and behaviors,” Connelly said. “The ability to perform multi-channel promotions, bonusing, and player-tracking across Bally’s mobile, online, and traditional platforms is now a reality.”