Penn National Gaming Buys Social Casino Content Creator Rocket Games

Gambling operator Penn National Gaming, Inc. today announced that it has acquired social casino games developer Rocket Games, Inc. The buyer has paid an approximate of $60 million for its latest acquisition.

Rocket Games was founded in 2014 by game developers Bill Gelpi, who took the CEO post, and Steven Jian, who was appointed as Chief Technology Officer. A year later, the company’s management team was joined by Justin Cooper and Niko Vuori, with the former Zynga employees taking the roles of Chief Content Officer and Chief Operating Officer, respectively.

Based in San Francisco, the gaming studio currently employs more than 30 people. Rocket Games is considered one of the fastest growing social casino developers. The company reported the impressive 500% growth last year. During the six months ended June 30, 2016, it generated EBITDA of around $5.6 million.

Since established, Rocket Games has rolled out more than 50 social casino titles, with Downtown Deluxe Slots, Viva Slots Las Vegas, and Vegas Jackpot Casino being among the most popular ones. The games are available across desktop and mobile.

Rocket Games’ headquarters will remain in San Francisco and its current management team will keep on running the company’s daily operations.

Of the deal, Penn National Gaming CEO and President Timothy J. Wilmott said that it highlights the operator’s strategy to purchase “emerging growth platforms” that would complement and help Penn National Gaming leverage its core operations and existing database of more than 3 million active players.

Last year, the gambling operator launched two online social casino brands. Mr. Timothy pointed out that they were both very well received by customers and reflected the company’s determination to diversify its offering after separating gaming from real estate assets back in 2013.

Rocket Games CEO Bill Gelpi said that they are happy to be joining the Penn National Gaming family and to have the opportunity to leverage the operator’s experience and nationwide presence in a bid to take the gaming studio to the next level of its development and growth.

Mr. Gelpi further commented that given the growing appeal of the social casino segment within the online gambling market and Penn National Gaming’s status of an established land-based casino operator, both Rocket Games and its new owner will reap numerous benefits from their future joint work.

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