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Betable Signs Former Zynga VP and Social Gambling Strategist

Jan 17, 2013

Betable hires former Zynga VP
Executive move

Social gaming must integrate real-money gambling if it wants to survive says Betable’s new VP.

Betable is now the new employer of Zynga’s former VP, Jonathan Flesher. With this move the company signed up an experienced business development executive who has been responsible for a number of high profile agreements during his career in online gaming.

Joining Zynga from EA, he was behind Zynga’s partnership with major UK online gambling operator Bwin. He also closed some celebrity partnership deals whereby Zynga players got an exclusive “first listen” access to Snoop Dogg and Lady Gaga albums.

Betable has been around since 2008, but success evaded it until it repositioned itself as a platform for social game developers that want to implement real-money gambling. Relying on the UK gambling licenses acquired over the years, as well as a sound business plan, Betable was able to secure sizable venture capital investments to help develop its concept.

Since the company’s licenses apply only to the UK, its platform has been developed to recognize a player’s location, shielding them and the gaming operators from transmitting illegal content in compliance with local regulations.

UK residents will be able to play gambling-enhanced social games on iPhones and iPads, with most other international players joining through their Android mobile gambling devices, as soon as the company’s licenses allow it in those countries. There are already a number of players using these features, through games like Big Fish Casino, but the exact figures have not been released yet.

Leading, rather than following the trends is risky but highly rewarding when successful. Real-money gambling in social games, for instance allowing players of social games to play mobile slots inside those games is clearly one of the latest trends, and Flesher is among those who have been leading it.

“We’re seeing a convergence between the free-to-play social gaming world and online gambling world. If you incorporate real-money gaming, you’ll get a higher lifetime value from your players, and then you’ll be able to outspend other companies in the space that aren’t doing real money gaming,” said Betable’s new VP.

The demand for PC and mobile arcade games from the fans of social gaming titles is simply too great to ignore, even for companies who have so far stayed out of the real-money gaming market. The message is clear: do or die.

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