Affinity Gaming to Use WMS Platform for Social Gaming Venture
In a deal unlike any other in the gambling industry, game developer WMS and Affinity Gaming have announced that Affinity will use a gaming platform developed by Williams Interactive, the Play4Fun Network, to run a customer loyalty program linked to its land-based casino business.
The companies put out a press release to make public the deal, which was reprinted in the Wall Street Journal late last week.
Affinity to set up customer rewards program
Affinity Games, which operates land-based casino properties in four U.S. states, will use the Play4Fun Network to create a customer rewards program that will allow customers to connect with the company online while maintaining a tie with its land-based casino operations.
The program, called A-Play, will essentially reward players for online social play with comps such as free meals, spa treatments, shows, and the like, that can be redeemed at a brick-and-mortar Affinity property.
“This first-of-its-kind deal empowers Affinity Gaming to leverage the free-play Play4Fun Network online gaming platform to build an engaged online community by providing players at the twelve Affinity Gaming casinos and resorts spread across four states new ways to enjoy their favorite casino slot content between visits to the casino floor – on their computers, tablets and mobile devices,” read the press release.
Games involve no real-money cash out
Social games, which have grown exponentially in popularity in recent years as companies like Zynga, Playfish, and others have found a foothold among users of Facebook and other social networking sites, can sometimes cause confusion amongst those who are unfamiliar with the distinctions between social casino games and their real-money counterparts.
Unlike in real-money online poker or casino play, players are able to buy chips to use in social games, however those chips can never be cashed out for actual money. Instead, operators of such games incentivize such play by tying wins to things like the above-mentioned casino comps, or by offering other types of non-monetary prizes and rewards.
Social gaming can be excellent method of establishing customer allegiance
For many companies, initiating a social gaming venture can be a means of furthering customer connections, while also laying the groundwork for a potential move to a real-money casino site once regulation and licensing allow. Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have already regulated some form of real-money online wagering, with many other states in the nation looking into following suit.
Clearly the Affinity deal is designed with such thoughts in mind, as the company’s statement indicated.
“Through a Play4Fun Network platform branded to the A-Play(TM) customer loyalty club, Williams Interactive is providing Affinity Gaming the ability to connect with players from their 12 casino and resort properties (six in Nevada, three in Colorado, two in Missouri, and one in Iowa) between visits through a combination of proven social gaming mechanics and an award-winning marketing platform that will enable Affinity Gaming properties to fully engage their players online to drive incremental visits to their casino floors,” it said.
WMS purchased earlier this year by Scientific Games
Illinois-based WMS, the parent company of Williams Interactive and Williams Gaming, made headlines earlier this year when it was purchased by Scientific Games. That deal was first announced back in January.
WMS, which recently completed a massive expansion of its facilities on the northwest side of Chicago, has been established since the 1940’s as the maker of various types of games, from pinball machines in its early days, to the simple slots machines of bygone eras, to the complex electronic games it designs today.
Company also to have involvement in Delaware iGaming
WMS will also have a foot in the door when real-money Internet betting goes live in the state of Delaware. That is set to happen later this fall.
This spring, news broke that WMS had been selected to provide gaming services to the Delaware State Lottery, the body that is charged with regulating and overseeing the state’s iGaming market. In Delaware, like in New Jersey, a wide variety of Internet bets will be offered once the market is up and running.