Big Fish is cashing in on its casino app in big ways.
The Seattle game maker, founded by former RealNetworks employee Paul Thelen in 2002, announced today that its multiplayer casino game “Big Fish Casino” is now the top-grossing iOS app as of March among all casino games worldwide. That’s according to data from AppAnnie Intelligence.
The company also said the app’s revenue has tripled in the last year, largely thanks to its UK version of Big Fish Casino that allows players to use real money. Players in the U.S. play with fake chips, but can purchase more with real money.
Big Fish acquired the popular casino app, available on iOS, Android and PC, as part of its gaming studio acquisition of Self Aware Studios. The game allows players to share chips across games, chat with other players, give gifts and more.
Big Fish currently sits atop the GeekWire 200 list, our ranking of the top privately-held companies in the region. The company announced last month that it has distributed more than two billion casual games to PCs and mobile devices since it was started. Even more impressive, the company posted $220 million in bookings last year, the 10th consecutive record year.
In 2011, the company reported sales of $180 million, with the business growing at a 30 percent clip. Big Fish says that its games are downloaded more than one million timers per day, and that nearly every one of its 3,000 PC and Mac games made money last year.
Seattle has become sort of a hotbed for casino apps. Earlier this year, GameHouse launched its own casino on Facebook with more than a dozen games and also released a new iOS app. Then there’s Seattle-based DoubleDown Interactive, acquired last year by gambling giant IGT for up to $500 million, which has already generated more than $128 million in revenue in the past 12 months — an amazing achievement given that players of its casino-style games are betting virtual currency.
It could only get sweeter if the U.S. approves real online gambling, something that may be in the cards. All Things D reported in February that gaming stocks, including Zynga, jumped on Friday after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie supported the idea of online gambling in his state.
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