Interview

Glu's Niccolo de Masi on getting ahead in the real money gambling game

Ready for the revolution

Glu's Niccolo de Masi on getting ahead in the real money gambling game
The ability to offer mobile gamers real money gambling could represent a massive opportunity for developers.

At the moment, however, the mobile gaming market is one saddled with sizeable challenges.

Namely the fact that, since different regions have their own gambling regulations and legislations, launching a real money gambling game worldwide would require a lot of legal legwork. What's more, some potentially lucrative markets simply don't allow gambling at all.

It's no wonder, then, that mobile gaming companies are turning to third parties to help them navigate the regulatory difficulties, rather than attempting to cross the legal quagmire themselves.

And that's exactly what Glu Mobile has done, entering into a strategic relationship with UK-based Probability PLC to create slot games based on its existing mobile IP.

To find out what made Glu enter that market now, and how it hopes the market will develop in the coming years, we spoke to CEO Niccolo de Masi about gambling and games.

Pocket Gamer: What makes now a good time to enter the real-money gambling market?

Niccolo de Masi: Our core business remains in action adventure and casual mobile freemium games.

That said, there may be legislative easing globally around real-money mobile gaming and we want to make sure we are prepared.

With this partnership Glu is well positioned to immediately capitalise on our original IP through Probability's mobile casino offerings.

Why is Probability PLC a good partner in this venture?

Probability is the UK's only pure-play publicly traded mobile gambling company. 

It is one of the largest direct-to-mobile gambling services in the UK and has full regulatory certification in both the UK and Italy.

Probability also offers a broad range of distribution channels including, potentially, Probability's partners such as PaddyPower, William Hill, and Ladbrokes.

Initially, Glu gambling titles will only be available in the UK and Italy. When do you expect to be able to expand into other territories?

We anticipate that additional markets around the world will continue to open up to real-money mobile gaming and we will expand our investment accordingly.

We don't have a timetable for this expansion.

Do you expect to be able to bring these titles to the US anytime soon? Or at all?

Regulatory approvals are already being addressed on a state by state basis, but Glu does not have a specific timetable on bringing these offerings to the US market.

We will continue to evaluate opportunities for expansion both in the US and globally.

You'll be utilizing existing Glu IP for these slot games. Do you think there's a significant intersection between existing Glu players and those who are interested in playing real-money mobile slots?

Absolutely. We will likely start off by offering predominantly male focused slot games.

These games will appeal to the same audiences that have contributed significantly to the success of Glu brands such as Contract Killer, Deer Hunter, and Gun Bros.

Each of these brands has millions of worldwide fans and we will have the opportunity to leverage cross-promotion with these audiences.
Thanks to Niccolo for his time.
Staff Writer

PocketGamer.biz's news editor 2012-2013

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