The World Poker Tour (WPT) looks set to enter the social casino area in the US with the help of its parent company, Ourgame International.
As part of Ourgame’s transition from a leading card and board game provider to an online mind sports operator, it has announced its desire to launch a freemium casino gaming product in the US. Announced during the Beijing-based company’s annual filing on March 27, the move will see Ourgame use the new products to bolster the WPT’s earning power.
“We believe that the strength of the WPT brand and Ourgame’s freemium poker experience in China will help Ourgame get a share of the social casino gaming market in the US,” said Johnny Wong Kin-man said Jefferies Equity analyst during the annual report.
Ourgame Starting to Offer More Games
When Ourgame purchased the WPT for $35 million back in 2015, it signaled the company’s move from its core products such as chess and Mahjong. As well as adding poker into its portfolio of offerings, Ourgame is gradually expanding its presence in the eSports world.
By entering the social casino space in the US, Ourgame will not only be helping its own interests but potentially the gaming industry as a whole. With more than 500 million registered users across its platform, the company has a large playerpool that could find its way from Ourgame’s chess and card game platforms to a casino site.
Moreover, once it has established a social casino presence in the US, it could have two positive benefits for the poker community. The immediate benefit would be an influx of new players taking part in WPT tournaments.
Pre-Ourgame, the WPT launched a subscription based poker site which allowed players to take part in freerolls offering various prizes, including seats in the company’s live events. Although Ourgame is looking to replace this model with its freemium casino offering, we could still see the platform used to send traffic to various WPT events.
Good News for US Poker Players
The longer term benefit for the industry, particularly in the US, is more poker options. If Ourgame can successfully set-up and run a social casino, there’s potential this could be flipped to create a real money site in the future.
With states such as New York and California still considering legislation and more states likely to join New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware in regulating online gaming, this could be Ourgame moving into a power position.
Indeed, if the company can establish a strong presence in the US market and leverage the brand power of the WPT, it may well be able to translate that into some form of real money entity which would ultimately give players another way to play.