Connective Games Sees Social Platform as Key to Entering ‘Pre-Regulated’ US Online Poker Market

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Social gaming is the way to open up the US online poker market, says Connective Games CEO Serge Mukhanov.

Connective Games
Connective Games launches a new free-play platform it believes will help the fight for regulated online poker in the US. (Image: Eddy Chua)

With the US regulatory landscape still unsettled, Connective Games has announced the launch of a new social poker product that could provide another route to market for operators. The new platform has been described by its creator as a way for Connective Games to build a base in the US and create more opportunities for online poker operators.

“Social gaming unlocks pre-regulated markets in the US and beyond for our partners and allows them to engage players while states push ahead with real-money casino and poker regulation, gaining that all important first-mover advantage,” Mukhanov said on Oct. 1.

Connective Games Emerge from PASPA Wreckage

In practice, Connective Games will provide a social gaming network as well as customizable desktop and mobile platforms. By going live on the network, operators will be able to offer their own brand of poker in a free-play setting.

Social poker products aren’t a new concept in the US or the industry as large. However, what’s interesting about Connective Games’ recent announcement is its timing.

With the demise of PASPA prompting states to consider sports betting regulation, online poker has found its way back into the online gaming narrative. Indeed, with advocates such as the Poker Alliance working to promote the benefits of regulating both industries, operators are readying themselves for new opportunities.

Founded in 2006, Connective runs more than two dozen online poker and internet gambling sites, including Spartan Poker in India and Swiss Casinos in Switzerland

Social Gaming Solution?

For many of the smaller European poker sites, establishing a footing in the US isn’t easy. Current laws require online operators must have a local partner, which is something brands not known in the US have struggled with.

Social poker platform should allow operators to demonstrate they have the requisite experience and technology to offer a secure product in any regulated market. This, in turn, would reassure any potential casino partners and players that a company is safe to use.

However, as seen in China, social poker sites aren’t always a natural way into an unregulated market.

In April, China began cracking down on social poker apps, describing free-play products as route to illegal gambling. The government in Beijing has since forced brands such as Tencent to take their apps and adverts offline.

Although the US doesn’t have a blanket ban on online poker, states could take a similar view and blacklist any operator active on a social platform, regardless of whether they’re operating legally or not.

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