Updated with confirmation and details.

International Game Technology, which makes real-world casino games and gambling systems, has agreed to pay as much as $500 million to buy Seattle-based Double Down Interactive, a developer of casino-style Facebook games that don’t involve any actual gambling.

It’s a major deal that underscores the increasingly blurry line between those two worlds. The U.S. Justice Department recently signaled a possible reversal of its long-held position on Internet gambling, raising the possibility of online wagering in some states.

[Follow-up: Real gambling on Facebook? Double Down CEO says IGT deal could make it a reality]

The acquisition by Las Vegas-based IGT is also a big outcome for Double Down, a Seattle-based casual-games company that launched its DoubleDown Casino in April 2010, and has since grown to 1.4 million daily active users. Facebook listed DoubleDown Casino as the No. 4 most popular game on the social network in 2011.

Double Down president Glenn Walcott and CEO Greg Enell.

Double Down, which had about 80 employees as of the end of last year, grew without any substantial outside investment, which means that the deal translates into a windfall for employees and founders.

“Today is like every birthday and Christmas rolled into one for me personally,” co-founder and chief creative officer Cooper DuBois tells GeekWire. “And for the company itself, it is a serendipitous day.”

The companies confirmed the deal in a news release, saying that it will comprise $250 million in cash, $85 million in retention payments and another $165 million cash payable over the next three years, if DoubleDown meets financial targets.

It’s expected to close by the end of March. Double Down will remain headquartered in Seattle after the deal is completed, according to the companies. It’s expected to continue hiring.

IGT reported $1.96 billion in revenue last year and says it will fund the transaction from cash on hand.

The cultural fit with Double Down should be interesting to watch. In an interview with GeekWire last year, Double Down president Glenn Walcott said it didn’t matter to the startup whether or not Internet gambling becomes legal in the United States.

“We’re a social gaming company. We aren’t a gambling company,” he said at the time. “Our games aren’t built to be bulletproof like you’d need to be if you’re a real gambling company. We can do things to make our games more phone that if you were an operator in Vegas you’d go to jail for, because we change the odds just for fun.”

In the news release announcing the deal, Double Down CEO Greg Enell said the company and IGT “share complementary cultures focused on innovation and creativity.”

He continued, “Both companies are committed to providing unrivaled quality, service and entertainment to millions of players. Leveraging IGT’s Research and Development, global reach, and best-in-class content will provide our loyal player base with an even more robust experience and is expected to augment Double Down’s growth trajectory.”

Enell will continue to lead Double Down after the deal closes, according to the companies.

It’s the second major acquisition of a Seattle-based casual games company over the past year. Electronic Arts acquired PopCap Games in 2011 for a much as $1.3 billion.

One of PopCap’s founders, John Vechey, tells GeekWire via email today that he’s pleased to hear the news of the DoubleDown acquisition.

“I think Double Down is a great company and the partnership makes a lot of sense for both companies,” Vechey says. “IGT has great slots and great brands, and Double Down has done an amazing job creating a Facebook slots game and getting a good audience. I’m pretty stoked for both companies and really happy to see a Seattle company with great founders and employees doing well!”

DoubleDown said at the end of last year that it was working on new slot-style and poker games, with plans to expand to tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. Walcott said at the time that the company was positioned to grow its base of DoubleDown Casino players to more than 10 million per month over time. The company currently has 4.7 million monthly active users, up from 3.3 million in October, according to AppData.com.

Even in its short lifespan as an independent company, DoubleDown established a unique culture. When the site hit 1 million daily users last year, executives brought in a mariachi band to celebrate, and then announced that the entire company would be going to Mexico in March to celebrate the achievement.

DoubleDown shares a building with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment company, and as the mariachi played on, security guards came up to tell the startup that they needed to quiet things down.

GeekWire’s John Cook contributed to this story. 

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/toddhooper Todd Hooper

    Wow. That’s an amazing outcome. Congrats to the team!

  • Dan Levitan

    Congrats to the DoubleDown team. Well done! Awesome outcome. We need more companies like this scaling fast in our region. As this outcome proves, it’s not the dearth of venture capital that is the problem in Seattle. We just need more bold, visionary, passionate and disciplined entrepreneurs going after big ideas.

    • Pappymiller1029

      this game sucks it cheats

    • Anonymous

      Why would anyone pay 500 million for a game for fun? For the profit!!! They have already made their investment back. For every million chips you win you loose 10 million. They will systematically take all of your chips. The Indian Casinos are required to payout 96%, Las Vegas is 86% and doubledown is less then 50%, go figure. Its a rip off in the name of entertainment and “we” suckers allow it by continueing to play, LMBO.

      • monroe

        Well, just play with the daily free chips.

  • Guest

    Congrats to Glenn and the team!

  • kmansel

    Amazing what a little under 2 years can yield.

    • deniaelizarraras

      Nothing amazing about it. They are ripping people off every second.

  • Anonymous

    Whoa, no way dude, who would have thunk it? Wow
    http://www.Total-Privacy dot US

  • blogreader

    This is chump change to what Big Fish Games is going to IPO at

  • Lionslair51

    is this why i cant collect my spin  presents

  • glory glore

    Im having problemes with my browser on facebook farmville games if can you fix it! thank you!

  • Helvik1

    valaki nem, tudja hogy a DoubleDown caszinoval mi van a makos játékal nagy baj van élvete a makom és nem tudom kinek kéne irni ha valaki tud segiteni az jo lene kőszi

  • Helvik1

    valaki nem, tudja hogy a DoubleDown caszinoval mi van a makos játékal nagy baj van élvete a makom és nem tudom kinek kéne irni ha valaki tud segiteni az jo lene kőszi   itt lehet beszélni valakivel

  • Didarulalam36

    hi how…

  • vickie head

    HOW DO YOU COLLECT THE POINTS YOU LOSE ONTHE THANKSGIVING SLOT THAT YOU REMOVE. THE GAME DIDN’T GIVE YOU,YOUR BONUS ROUNDS. THE GAME FREEZE UP ON THE BONUSE.

    • vickie head

      doubledown casino is the most cheating game i have played on facebook this morning. i had 700000 points it took no bonus or nothing.

      • Margaret47

        the same thing happen to me but with 3 million you get and you loose faster what a joke….

      • jerrybu

        LMBO, I was a sucker also and purchased 400 million ($200.00), lol.. At 900 k a whop on auto the doorbell ringed. I forgot to stop play and answered the door. When I returned apprs 8 minutes later, I had lost a 156 million chips. What a DUMB AZZ move, LMAO, for being so stupid. WTH Someone has to keep the games open, lol….

  • Jokemaster93

    thats a god thing i like that :) like

  • Psbergeron03

    Is there any chance my download problem is caused by a server ? It won’t load on my iPhone Facebook page ! ! !

  • Michellelamson

    I guess thats good news, Maybe the worthless game will work better, Has to be the worst game on facebook right now,

  • Psbergeron03

    Id like an explaination why I was playing doubledown casino via facebook on my iPhone, now I can’t connect at all ! What’s up with that , this is discrimination and class warfare against iPhone users to the pc users !

  • Margaret47

    If you are going to give people bonus cions to play the game the least you could do is give them enough to play for more than 10 min..i have been playing this game for along time  doubledown casino slots been up to 3 million once and with in 1 hour it was gone you loose it as fast as you get it, i know this is entertainment  only not played for real money then why are you asking us to add our friend to play a game that you can win but be prepared to loose fast …..they dont come back…my suggestion to you is bigger amount on the spins and bigger amount on the friends 2000 what a joke if you want them to play you need to pay let them have some fun,i pity the ones that put this on there visa or pay pal thats just crazy,disappointed game player.margaret

  • Monique N Cummins

    Just a suggestion. Double Down Casino is the only game I play on facebook that doesn’t have a chance to increase your playing balance like all the other slot games. Would you consider changing the program so we can increase our balance every 4 hours or so? I love playing it but I’m constantly running out on my balance, therfore can’t continue playing through the day.

    • Janestar1051

      No they won’t give you more chips because they want you too buy them!!!

  • Amdia59

    My husband was playing in a Tournament of the Egypt slots, & the History said he won 21 million, in which he never received. So how does he go about getting ahold of someone to receive it?

  • Ryanhaynes920

    i cant get the bonus u offer,i do everthing u tell me,and nothing.ilove dds i play everyday,can you send me the bonuses you offer,thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jefry-Juga-Boyor/100003044158470 Jefry Juga Boyor

    amazing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Hunt/100000120929281 Tim Hunt

    isthis why when you spin the freebie you only get 10,000 coins and when you go for your bonus  you get bugger all, also why does it take so long to load the game when other games load up in a matter of minutes  can you give me feedback on that

  • Mariodespain1965

    i can seem to be unable to get my gift’s anymore but did get them on 3-26-2012 just seem’s like it is showing hafe of the game when i download here on double down i have check everything on my computer and even the cookie’s and crash and refreash my page there are a few of my friend’s the same way i hope can help me out this program

    • http://www.facebook.com/naveed.shabbir.79 Naveed Shabbir

      The quality is depend on the material. There some supplier that mix the material with the worse one. You must check it clearly.

      Bellevue dentist

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariahrash Nor Kamariah Abd Rashid

    3days my friends send me a give.only 2 i get from all friends,wheres others give missing ,double down casino

  • Loretta pottle

    Doubledown Should not be on facebook because there are a lot of people and teenagers getting fake accounts just to play this DDC–it should be removed from facebook altogether teenagers under the age of 15 are playing this –getting into garmming at a young age —TAKE DDC OF FACEBOOK OR THERE WILL BE BIG TIME TROUBLE TO COME

  • kathi

    I love double down its my favorite but when it tells us we can go and collect $150000 in chips and try to the notice comes up saying that the site has expired  ? how can this be when it was just posted?
     

  • Ccooper

    This game is so tight and the payouts are so small…this game use to be fun to play but not since they were bought out. Keep it tight and it won’t be long before no one will want to play it.

    • Harveyandmack

      So true i am tird of it

  • Bwatson

    well I have to say,I love the game but tonight Im mad as hell,I had 165.000 on my game and logged in to play tonight and all I have is5.00 on it..Whats up with that doubledown??//Now I cant play tonight..Thanks..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Petrea/1187475725 David Petrea

    In this news column, they say they change the odds for fun. I guess they do it just to see how pissed off we get when they cheat us!! For a company that could be #1 on Facebook, they had rather settle for the #4 spot. They need to rethink their ways and become more player friendly or they will eventually lose business. On Facebook, they advertise “Free” slots, poker, etc…, but when we play, we always lose and always “get” the opportunity to “BUY” more coins. NOTHING free about that!!! The only thing we really get free is the chance to get pissed off!!!

    • Janestar1051

      AMEN……bro!!!!

    • Rebecca

      I have bought and bought chips and lose them all. I’m tired of paying for chips for fun you have to buy! If they do get real gambling on here I’m sure it really will be a rip off. I am not buying anymore and wasting my money!

  • Legalealge622000

    has anyone had a problem with double down charging your credit card more than what you authorized?

    • ScammerAlert

      Get a job, you ambulance chasing piece of crap…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.bianchi.58 Mark Bianchi

    Well now i have been trying to play Double D0WN for 20 mins. And no  go. Comes up with a secuitry  problem . Now  fix my games PLEASE!!! REBECCA  BIANCHI

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.baker.585 Sharon Baker

    ive been ripped of twice in two days came 2nd got fuck all but the person who came 3rd got chips had enough of this shit deleating for good and ill be passing the word on fucking bullshit   

  • geri

    I like many other gamers are pretty feed up with Doubledown Casino…..After this weekend I am really upset. Spent REAL MONEY for pretend chips and lost my butt. I feel that Doubledown should give gamers and good worthy amount of chips. The part of Doubledown where gamers resport problems or praise doulbedown has been down all weekend long. Something about they have not paid for Security for Virsus. Go figure! With the money they make from their gamers they should be able to pay for it…you’d think. Anyway if and when that site becomes available they will get a piece of my mind and will never get another red nickle from me.

  • Arab99166

    “freebies” are worthless….pay hard earned “REAL” money to play with “PRETEND” CHIPS. if you have a contact u rarely get a “real” person, just a “form letter”. Now, you can’t get in to lodge a contact because it give a security warning that “navation has been blocked”…am going to spend my REAL money on a site that offers some sort of payback.  no money out of YOUR pocket.  False advertising with the “idol tournament”…makes u think you get the 10m and then cover your butt by saying “try” to get the 10.  BIGGEST RIP OFF EVER
     

  • Lizbarakat

    Has double down got that big that they do not care about their players, the games are boring, payouts are low, never heard of anyone striking the Jackpots, daily spins are shocking so what’s up with this. They really need to look closer at keeping this site up with the play and treating the players with a lot more generosity then they do!!!! NO VALUE FOR MONEY AT ALL GET IT TOGETHER DOUBLE-DOWN

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377624133 Dorothy Elaine Curry

    Biggest ripoff game on the internet. ALL other games provide enough chips to play as long as you please. DD only allows approximately 5 minutes play and takes all your chips. I had 54 million last night and they took all but a little over 1 thousand and if they think I am going to buy play money with real money on a fixed income, they are insane! I’m quitting this game and so are a lot of people as they don’t give a good damn about any of us playing their game. They are stingy and greedy and only want us to buy which I cannot afford to do and I don’t use my credit cards to play games that have no return on the dollar except to the people that own the game itself. I give up! This game is absolutely worthless and no fun at all anymore, just a headache and makes me sick! I am DONE!
    dorothy2@comcast.net

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377624133 Dorothy Elaine Curry

    Where are all the games you offer to play for free? They do not exist at all for free so stop the lying, please! No one can play these games for free so why do you advertise that they can? Biggest liars in the universe! Hate this game for taking all my chips and can’t play anymore! I loved playing the “Brady Bunch” while it lasted but I’m through with struggling to keep chips. Just lost over 54 million in less than 1 day’s time. What a ripoff!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377624133 Dorothy Elaine Curry

    Being stingy and greedy will soon catch up with you as people are quitting your game like flies! I really love playing the games but with no chips available that is impossible and I refuse to buy play money when I am on a fixed income and in very poor health that takes a lot of money just to stay alive. Wake up and smell the roses Mr. Todd! Give us some chips to play with and I don’t mean less than 1 million either. Let us win and keep some chips also. 5 minutes play times sucks! Your game is going to go belly up if you don’t get wise to what people are saying!

  • suzan

    I love DDC but not enough chips to play with. Double U Casino gives you chips throughout the day and you get alot of play. Come on DDC I like you the best.

  • Chips Merchant

    Selling doubledown casino chips 2$ per 1 mill. Must be a United States resident. Must be able to send payment via western union if more than a 50$ purchase.

    All payments less than 50$ can be payed for via paypal.

    Please email me before you buy so I can ensure a prompt and quick transfer of chips to you!

    Email me with quantity you’d like to order. I’m selling chips for an extremely low price compared to how much Double Down Casino sells for.

    Current stock: 2,199,147,273 chips.

    Email me at: wowcritter@gmail.com

    Name’s Jeremy. :)

    Thanks! :-)

  • Jeremy

    Selling doubledown casino chips 2$ per 1 million chips! Must live in US.

    All payments less than 50$ can be payed for via paypal.

    Please email me before you buy so I can ensure a prompt and quick transfer of chips to you!

    Email me with quantity you’d like to order. I’m selling chips for an extremely low price compared to how much Double Down Casino sells for.

    Current stock: 2,199,147,273 chips.

    Email me at: wowcritter@gmail.com

    Name’s Jeremy. :)

    Thanks! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/walter.kemp.7 Walter Kemp

    Your techs made a mistake this weekend and players got free chips and you had them go into peoples accounts during the night and remove them, so when we woke up we had no chips. Why did you not just let people play and enjoy them. You loose them so fast on your site people would have been back buying them in no time. People have really been upset since you bought it because it is not fun anymore and I think this last stunt of acting like a thief in the night is going to shoot you in the foot. Alot of people unliked you today and others like me closed their accounts and notified FB of your actions,you do not have the right to go into peoples accounts. Maybe the company you bought it from will buy it back at a discount. It would be great for the people who loved this site before you destroyed it.

  • Game lover

    This game has some real technical problems. The first time I lost all my coins
    ($175,000,000), I contacted DDC and received a form reply telling me there was nothing wrong with their game! I repeatedly wrote to them and about 4 days later they said they agreed with me and restored my coins! Now I was disconnected during a bonus round and lost over $1,000,000 and again they are telling me there is nothing amiss! Play fair Double Down. I love your game, but there are problems!

  • http://www.facebook.com/melvin.giles.5 Melvin Giles

    double down casino is the fucking biggest rip of ever they gave me 35 million chips and they charged my credit card 178.00 dollars what a fucking rip off so i went and took my card of there list so they will never get another penny from me and i will be letting everyone that i can no so they don’t get the chance to do the same to anyone else

  • princess10f@sbcglobal.net

    I went in a tournament on January , 2013. It was for four million. I came in 1st should of received 363,200,00 Never received anything. Its the second day and am still waiting.

  • Pearl

    My game is stuck at 92% loading i habe uninstalled and reinstalled numerous times any ideas.

  • Dumbass

    Comgradulation on your game, Prixies of the Forest. I am impressed that it
    only took 24 hours before you started fucking those of us that purchases you
    chips. Already, we are getting bonuses with no payout. Sadly to say but really
    enjoy playing your games but you have gotten greedy.I am sure you have plenty
    suckers like me that wants to believe that you wouldn’t screw over us on a free
    game whereas I only reward is the fun of playing. Since the Jan. 1, I have given
    you over $1600.00. I hope that was enough to keep you operating because I will
    not be donating anymore funds to your cause.

    Gook luck and keeping on screwing your players.

  • Dumbass

    This is a response to explain why I lost all my chips without a logical payout:

    A response for your issue has been provided.

    Thank you for contacting us about our payouts. We are taking some additional
    feedback from our customers regarding our slots games being too tight.

    We would like to get a sense of what your expectation is when you play
    our slots games. How long do you expect to play each time you come to
    DoubleDown? How big do you bet with your chips? Do you always go for the biggest
    wager or do you try to budget your chips?

    When you play our games do you
    get more entertainment out of the time you spend in the casino or out of your
    winnings? For example, if your chips last a long time (say several days) thanks
    to small but frequent payouts, would that be more fun for you than burning
    through chips quickly but occasionally getting a big payout?

    Do you think they really give a crap? In recent reports, they have already made back the $500M that they invested. Smart move “DOUBLEDOWN” because that is exactly what they did, DOUBLED DOWN, Smart investment………..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=70803354 Pete Adams

    anyone else think Double Down sucks really bad now. The Black Jack is totally different and really sucks donkey dick.

  • judy szott

    I would like the million chips offered for april 20th on facebook…I have a double down casino that keeps posting on my account but its spam

    and we never get anything just lots of added account……..is there a way to tell the difference with the real double down casino…and could you please offer everybody lots of chips…….if the bets are so high you need to give out 10 million or lower the bets, so you can play longer….I really love your casino….I love the wolf run game……………and am not playing for real…just fun

  • don’tfwitme

    Double-down is a total rip-off, I don’t know how you pricks sleep at night. I had 2 Billion chips once upon a time and you creeps rigged it so i’d lose them in quick time, Bastards!!

  • robin

    yeah because theyre robbing people blind on facebook doubledown casino virtual chips for real money and the app is so tight on giving people fair run for their money ,its like this when you rob someone you go to prison,nowadays you create a casino app in facebook and get away with it

  • ddchater

    i am sueing them for rigged roulette games that never win at all. and if you bet on black it wont hit for shit over 35 times in a row. fuk that site

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.