San Manuel partners with GameAccount to offer social casino via simulated gaming platform.

With no online poker on the horizon, San Manuel will forge ahead with social casino with the help of GameAccount. (Image: redcross.org)

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, PokerStars’ allies in the fight for regulated online poker in California, has partnered with UK software provider, GameAccount, to offer social casino games online and on mobile via GameAccount’s Simulated Gaming platform.

San Manuel was initially a member of the 12-strong tribal alliance that in 2014 was strongly opposed PokerStars’ participating in a future regulated online poker market, and endorsed draft legislation that would have excluded the online poker giant and so-called “bad actor” for good.

But the tribal operator surprised everyone just months later by completely switching its allegiance, joining the Morongos in signing a deal with PokerStars’ new owners Amaya to offer online poker together in the event of regulation.

The switch suggested that San Manuel was bullish about California’s chances of regulating online poker in 2015 and was gambling that PokerStars’ change of ownership would see it included in the mix.

Building Online Business

However, almost a year later, the push for regulation has stalled and San Manuel Digital’s first online gaming product will not be online poker, as it had hoped, but social casino instead.

The deal with GameAccount will allow San Manuel to build up its online arm as it awaits legislative developments in real-money gaming, while using the new social casino platform as marketing and player acquisition tool for its land-based casino.

As Daniel Smurfit, chief executive of GameAccount said this week, “With continued delays in the intra-State regulation of real-money internet gaming, in California and elsewhere, we believe Simulated Gaming is the right opportunity for all land-based US casino operators seeking to extend their business and patron relationship online.”

Right Fit

The move into social casino always seemed like a good fit for San Manuel, which last year hired industry veteran Matthew Cullen to head up its digital arm.

Cullen has a strong background in social gaming, and was previously the president of social casino developer RocketPlay.

“GameAccount is a specialized online gaming company with a genuine commitment to B2B who will not compete online by operating their own B2C Social Casino,” said Cullen. 

“The team at GameAccount has demonstrated the merits of Simulated Gaming the power of their Slot Tournaments and their patented approach to driving increased visitation on-property. San Manuel will have the opportunity to launch Simulated Gaming online this fall.”

For GameAccount, the deal represents its first partnership with a West Coast casino operator, which, according to Smurfit, has been a company priority for 2015.

GameAccount already powers social gaming for Foxwoods in Connecticut and Parx in Massachusetts via its Simulated Gaming platform and provides real-money online casino games for Betfair in the New Jersey market.