The Pascua Yaqui-owned Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona has become the first land-based casino anywhere in the United States—as well as the first Indian country casino—to offer DoubleDown Interactive online gaming through its website.
Beginning next week, players and enthusiasts of the resort will be able to engage in social game play (including multi-player poker) directly from the website in unprecedented access to the DoubleDown Casino line-up of entertainment with selections of poker play, slots and table games.
With over 5 million monthly social gamers, DoubleDown Casino is the world’s largest multi-game online social casino and the latest addition (January 2012) to the International Game Technology family based in Seattle, Washington. Launched in the spring of 2010, DoubleDown Casino is the world’s largest virtual casino and one of the top four social media games of 2011 as rated by Facebook.
As part of its expanding portfolio, IGT’s DoubleDown Casino offers free-play blackjack, slots, slot tournaments, video poker, and roulette to social gamers around the world. “As technological innovations increasingly influence consumer behavior, social dynamics are quickly transforming entertainment and gaming experiences everywhere,” said IGT CEO Patti Hart.
“Adding DoubleDown launches us into a leadership position in social gaming and extends our global reach through new mediums. This rapidly-growing distribution platform (will) reach a new demographic of gamers.”
Implementation of the iGaming technology is fast-moving, and, according to Kevin Mullally, general counsel for Gaming Laboratories International, “is creating confusion in some tribal jurisdictions across North America because it’s new technology for them.”
Mullally, writing in the July issue of Indian Gaming magazine, said tribes need to eliminate the fear factor of being the “first” to test online gaming, because with hundreds of such systems already battle-tested and in use, they are not jumping into unknown waters. “iGaming implementation is not new—and in many respects, not even forging new ground—as technology testing has been around for 20 years,” he said.
“We’re seeing a clear trend where players can enjoy their favorite games on a multitude of devices, both in and outside casinos—welcome news because it gives the opportunity to extend the casino experience beyond the brick and mortar confines and reach players on myriad platforms.”
Officials at the Pascua Yaqui facility are ecstatic about scoring another professional first and expanding the scope of their operation. “Gambling has changed dramatically in the last 30 years and the next wave will be to more social, interactive gaming, and Casino Del Sol intends to be out in front of that wave,” said the casino’s Chief Operating Officer Roy Corby, adding: “I don’t foresee Casino Del Sol’s gaming operations being significantly impacted with this new addition.
“The casino gaming landscape is changing every day, so it’s vital that our offerings evolve to ensure guest experiences that are nothing less than extraordinary. Offering the DoubleDown app on our website is a complementary amenity for our guests, allowing them to experience IGT’s newest games in the comfort of their own homes and on their smartphones.”
The Pascua Yaqui casino resort is the first of many planned partners in the future that will feature the DoubleDown app on their branded websites. According to an IGT news release quoting Executive Vice President Eric Tom: “This revenue sharing partnership allows Casino Del Sol Resort to provide extended social entertainment time and value. Bringing the engaging line-up of DoubleDown’s free-to-play games to the resorts website provides casino-style play while promoting loyalty to the Casino Del Sol brand.”
Starting next week, players can log on to www.CasinoDelSol.com to begin enjoying the unique service. New games will be added automatically to the virtual casino, and first-time users of the app will receive one million dollars worth of virtual chips to start their play.
DoubleDown on Casino del Sol’s website is free-to-play. But if the state of Arizona or federal government does legalize Internet gaming, according to lobbyist David Quintana, founder and political director of the California Tribal Business Alliance, the tribe will be a major step ahead of the competition. “It’s branding, creating customer loyalty, getting a database,” he told The Sacramento Bee, concerning the California Online Poker Association’s launch of CalShark.Com, an online free-play poker room to promote legalizing Internet gaming, and the Barona Band of Mission Indians’ Barona Online Poker. “Then when something happens to make it legal they can flip the switch from a free site to a paid site.”