The new app from the operator of Hollywood Casino in Pennsylvania will bolster the company’s already significant social casino offerings. Those are available at HollywoodCasino.com and HollywoodSlots.com, both of which were launched in 2015.
Acquisition of Rocket Games
The launch of Hollywood Classic Slots mobile app was made possible by the company’s recent acquisition of mobile social casino game developer Rocket Games, in a reported $60 million deal in August.
Penn National Gaming President and CEO, Timothy J. Wilmott, said at the time of the acquisition:
“Penn National’s accretive acquisition of Rocket highlights our ongoing strategic initiative to acquire emerging growth platforms that complement, and allow us to leverage, our core regional gaming operations and database of over three million active customers.”
Hollywood Classic Slots part of Penn National’s online strategy
“This is an exciting time to launch Hollywood Classic Slots and Rocket’s content as our classic slots on our HollywoodCasino.com platform and at our land-based casinos have proven to be very popular with players,” Chris Sheffield, the senior vice-president and managing director of iGaming at Penn National, said in a press release.
Sheffield noted how Rocket’s ability to create Hollywood Classic Slots following the acquisition (in a matter of weeks) was a testament to the company. He went on to explain Penn National’s social casino goals, and how the newly launched Rocket mobile games fits into their overall strategy.
“After our customers visit any of our 20 land based casinos, we want them to have the option of continuing the fun of playing our exciting play for fun social slot games from the comfort of their own homes. In addition, with Hollywood Classic Slots, we have plans to incorporate our loyalty program, Marquee Rewards, so customers can earn rewards to use at their favorite casino. With Rocket’s proven track record of popular slot titles, we’re confident this new product will provide our customers hours of action and excitement.”
Bill Gelpi, CEO of Rocket, echoed Sheffield’s comments, saying, “With Hollywood Classic Slots, we’ve already started to realize strong install, retention and monetization metrics, and are optimistic that we have another successful game for our first joint game launch.”
Penn National’s comprehensive online approach
The acquisition of Rocket Games is just a single part of Penn National’s broader online plans.
In January 2015, Penn brought on industry veteran Chris Sheffield to head up its newly formed interactive division, Penn Interactive Ventures. Sheffield, a former executive at UK sportsbook BetFred, and the CEO and founder of Million-2-1 Limited, a mobile gaming platform that was acquired by IGT in 2008, added instant experience to Penn National’s nascent interactive division.
Since the creation of the interactive division and the hiring of Sheffield, Penn National has been rolling out social casino products, and has been one of the leading voices advocating for the legalization and regulation of PA online casinos.
In August, at the time the company finalized the acquisition of Rocket Games, Wilmott explained the reasons behind Penn National’s new online focus:
“Since the separation of our gaming assets from our real estate assets in 2013 we have been highly focused on a broad range of growth and diversification initiatives. Launched last year, Penn National’s Hollywoodcasino.com and Hollywoodslots.com social casino offerings have been very well received by players, are profitable and serve as effective customer acquisition tools for our operations.
Based on our internal analysis, a significant segment of Penn National’s database customers actively participate in social and online gaming, and we believe there are meaningful operating and revenue synergies between Penn National’s operations, our Hollywoodcasino.com and Hollywoodslots.com social casino offerings and Rocket’s operations that will drive near- and long-term growth for our shareholders.”