Rolling Poker Chips

Real-money online gambling is heading toward the US like a freight train, and gaming companies are beginning to take the steps necessary to hop aboard. The latest news out of the space comes from Los Angeles game publisher SGN (Social Gaming Network) with today’s announcement that the company is partnering with real-money gaming provider Betable. SGN will roll out Betable powered games overseas beginning in Q1 2013, and will begin preparing for the changes in US policy which many close to the situation have described as “imminent” and “inevitable.”

“We are excited to offer our users who love our games the ability to ‘up the ante’ and play for real money,” says SGN co-founder and CEO and former MySpace founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe. “Real money mobile gaming is in the future.”

The LA game publisher is one of the most prolific, independent cross-platform social and mobile gaming companies in the world, having more than 35 million monthly active users and over 200 million total installs. The result has been 12 top-10 titles on the Apple App Store including “Panda Jam,” “Bingo Blingo,” and “Fluff Friends Rescue.” Betable, for its part, is a clear leader in its space, offering an API that manages the legal licensing process of enabling real-money gaming, as well as security, player location, and identity verification. The company has already partnered with Slingo, Digital Chocolate, Big Fish, and others to implement its technology into both new and existing titles.

The big opportunity for SGN and others in the industry will come if – or when – US regulators legalize real-money gameplay. Currently, users can put real money into a gaming environment to buy chips, tokens, or gameplay accessories. What they can’t yet do is cash out “winnings.” Given the popularity of casino games, fantasy sport, sports gaming, and other mobile and social gaming, the potential market opportunity is truly enormous.

SGN, which was previously called MindJolt, has raised $17.1 million across three financing rounds from TomorrowVentures, Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, Columbia Capital, Felix Ventures, Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, Bezos Expeditions, and Lars Hinrichs. DeWolfe founded the company with former MySpace colleagues Aber Whitcomb and Collin Digiaro, SGN’s CTO and COO respectively.

[Image Credit: InspiredInDesMoines on Flickr]