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gamehousegoldenticketReal-money gambling hasn’t quite made it to the United States yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win a nice chunk of money — like, $100,000 — via free-to-play social casino apps.

RealNetworks’ GameHouse Casino is debuting what it calls the “first-ever” real-money sweepstakes in a social casino game called The Golden Dreams Sweepstakes.

Ken Murphy, VP and GM of GameHouse, said that while the company’s casino has proven popular with players, it’s bringing something new to the social gaming space with the sweepstakes.

gamehousegoldenticket2“We wanted to create something more innovative, more of a breakout solution to get out of the general mold that all of our casinos in this market are in right now,” Murphy told us.

Beginning Thursday, participants in 31 states and Washington D.C. will be able to earn “Golden Tickets” from games like slots, video poker, blackjack and roulette. Every time gamers win big, they’ll have a chance to win up to ten golden tickets per day for the month.

A winner is picked from a virtual hat at the end of the sweepstakes. With potential for $100,000 — a.k.a. real money — on the line, GameHouse is trying to mimic the real-world casino experience.

“We want to bring a sense of realism into the free-to-play online environment,” Murphy said. “We believe there’s a tremendous amount of room for continued innovation and growth in the free-to-play casino space.”

The sweepstakes will start at the first of every month and end on the last day of the same month. It’s only available in select states due to certain legislations and guidelines that each state has for sweepstakes. Murphy said his team will continue to find ways to expand the contest in other places.

It’s worth noting that Zynga, a GameHouse competitor in the social gaming space, said last week that it is no longer pursuing online gambling in the U.S.

gamehouseIn terms of the GameHouse business, the most recent RealNetworks earnings report wasn’t all that rosy. Revenues in each of the company’s three operating units — games, RealPlayer and mobile entertainment — saw declines, while games saw the biggest decline, dropping 27 percent to $13.9 million. (PreviouslyGameHouse chief Matt Hulett leaving RealNetworks for mystery job)

Murphy is still optimistic that the company’s gaming division is going strong.

“We are just focused on building a great business,” Murphy said. “We’re making sure we create very compelling, very successful consumer games.”

Rob Glaser, founder and interim CEO of RealNetworks, will announce the sweepstakes at Casual Connect today at 9 a.m. during a talk called “The Future of Social Casino Gaming.” GeekWire is at the conference and will have updates throughout the day.

Here are the participating states for the sweepstakes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Previously on GeekWire: JawFish games going all-in with real-time, fast-paced poker tournament app … The largest social poker tournament is happening online and in a casino simultaneously  

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