South Korean mobile games publisher Netmarble has acquired social casino developer SpinX Games in a landmark $2.19 billion deal that will allow the company to expand in new verticals. The Hong-Kong based developer has created a number of compelling mobile titles, including Cash Frenzy, Lotsa Slots and Jackpot World, making for some of the highest-grossing social casino games.
In a similar vein, SpinX has been able to secure a significant windfall from the social casino vertical, with some $423 million registered in sales throughout 2020. The current first half of the fiscal year in 2021 has brought in another $286 million in sales, or a 46% year-over-year increase.
Citing this growth, Netmarble is confident that it can leverage SpinX’s momentum in the space and establish a firmer foothold in the global mobile gaming market. Netmarble chief executive Seungwon Lee was confident about the prospects of the social casino vertical, explaining:
“The social casino genre shows continued global growth, and we are very excited to execute a share purchase agreement with SpinX Games, one of the leading companies in the genre.”
Netmarble will use the acquisition as an opportunity to build upon its existing range of products, with the company focusing on the RPG video gaming genre and casual games.
Social Casinos Are on the Rise
While social casinos have long been able to find loopholes in existing gambling regulation, mostly through the use of a “sweepstakes mechanic” whereby people buy a made-up currency coined by the casinos, there have been more calls to address and treat such websites as a form of gambling.
A lawsuit was brought against Apple in California earlier this year alleging that the Cupertino giant had allowed social gambling apps to proliferate on the company’s app stores. Social casinos have been in a conflicting manner.
On the one hand, they can be an outlet for pent-up gambling demand that does not lead to financial ruin, but excessive spending in social casinos could also be a conduit of problem gambling.
The issue is fairly new, but so far as Netmarble goes, the company feels confident that social gaming products are properly moderated and fulfill their purpose as recreational tools only.