Wedge Buster Closes Series A Funding as it Launches a set of Social Media Games

Wedge Busters

While looking into RocketPlay, a company that has started developing gaming apps for social media I also started looking around for others in this field since it is relatively new and seems to offer a great deal of opportunity.

Enter Wedge Buster, a startup formed last year and based in Los Angeles that has just closed its first round of funding which will give it a $2.2 million cash infusion and which already has its site up and running.

Wedge Buster is focusing on two different but related areas, sports gaming and fantasy sports, and will be presenting its offerings on two related but different platforms, social media and mobile platforms.

The Series A funding round has some interesting investors including NFL quarterback Drew Brees, pro skater Rob Dyrdek, 37 Venture Technologies as well as some angel investors that the company said include players in the gaming and media industry. The company said that it will use the funding to speed game development, support marketing strategies and expand the distribution gaming network with media companies.

It already has a stable of games at or near a stage where they can be played by users. It has ether developed or acquired 100 games and since its launch earlier this week has a number of games already available.

Among the games is Soccer Trouble, Around the World Darts, WB Striker, WB Footy and a number of others that span everything from baseball to sharpshooting. Currently in the fantasy space it has four offerings including one where it offers a Fantasy Football Commissioner with SI and Turner. The company is now launching on Facebook and expects to soon be launching on Android and Apple phones as well in the near future.

The potential of this space appears to be huge. Earlier this year Juniper Research said that overall, games and infotainment in the mobile space is expected to become a $65 billion market by 2016 due to the growing move to mobile devices.

Wedge Buster claims that others are missing the value that social media offers, but are they? Also are the barriers to entry that high that established Internet players cannot quickly enter? I think the answer to both of these is no.

In the area of Fantasy sports look at RotoWire, which has a presence on Facebook as well as on the Internet and mobile apps as well. Its rivals also have followed suit. Then players like Zynga have entered this type of social games with its first partnership.

Others are sure to follow since this is obviously a growth area and so established players in the gaming field such as EA Sports see opportunity here. That said with its broad based approach, having so many games that can appeal to a wide, diverse audience will certainly place Wedge Buster in a good position right from the start.

Station Casinos Readying Mobile Betting App… for Nevada

Legalized sports gambling on mobile devices — one of those Holy Grail ideas for the mobile sports business — is going to get another lift soon when Station Casinos LLC brings its mobile betting app to full release later this fall.

According to a report by Chris Sieroty in the Las Vegas Journal-Review Tuesday, Station Casinos is in field trials for its mobile betting app, called Sports Connection Mobile, which will allow users to place all kinds of sports bets through Station Casinos from any location inside the state of Nevada. According to the LVR-J report, Station execs had previously announced plans to launch the mobile app by Oct. 31 of this year.

Station, which already has a system that lets gamblers place bets over an Internet connection or via phone in the Las Vegas area, is already letting people sign up for the mobile version on the Sports Connection website. The site also has news and updates for a wide range of sports, ostensibly to let bettors brush up on the sports they plan to wager on.

Online or mobile betting has always been an idea that gives the gaming industry excitement and pause, since it has both the potential to open up new streams of revenue but it also has the potential to decrease casino traffic by making it easier for folks to stay home and wager. But just like sports leagues who are putting more content online, gambling concerns are all exploring ways to tap into the unquestionable desire people have to wager on sports. As reported previously by Mobile Sports Report, Cantor Gaming is already taking bets on mobile devices and Leroy’s Sports Books have also had mobile app betting.

The LVR-J story has a good amount of details about Station Casino’s plans, including a relationship with Sprint Nextel that will give app users a 10 percent discount on their monthly wireless bill. Station, which operates 17 casinos in southern Nevada, including several in Las Vegas proper, has been sending direct-mail promotions announcing the forthcoming app to its gambling club members. Among the enticements is a $100 first-time credit for using the app. The LVR-J story says the app will initally be available for iPhones and Android phones and tablets, with versions for iPads and perhaps BlackBerry devices to follow.

One interesting part of any mobile betting app is the necessity to ensure that users are geographically within Nevada’s borders, where gambling is legal, while they use their mobile device to wager. While we haven’t yet delved into the technology that makes this happen or the regulatory safeguards keeping it in check, MSR feels confident that the near term future will include stories about how clever phone-programmer types found a way to defeat the geographical limitations. To be sure, apps that let you bet real money are likely to explode in popularity when they become available, so this is a news category we will be following closely as it grows. Let us know in the comments or via email if you’ve had a mobile betting experience in the U.S., or if your company is developing an app or a device for this space.

Zynga makes a bet with RocketPlay’s virtual Sports Casino


Once the darling of the online set with its Farmville and other mobile and online applications, Zynga has hit hard times of late as its stock has dropped 72 % since its IPO in December and recently its executives have been fleeing the building, with seven gone since August.

The company is the largest maker of games for Facebook, and it is known for programs such as Mafia Wars, CastleVille, CityVille, Words with Friends and of course FarmVille is now looking to partnerships to help bolster its brand and hopefully bring in additional customers and revenue.

The latest move is to promote developer RocketPlay and its Sports Casino and will be bringing the app to Facebook and This is the first time that Zynga has promoted a third party app, in the past all of the content in is lineup has been homegrown. It will be interesting to see if in the future Zynga takes on a much larger role as a publisher, and if that will cause complications due to conflicts of interest.

Sports Casino imitates real life in many ways; you check the odds and place bets, and then root for the results that will bring you in the cash. It is not just a sports book but also will have video poker, slots and blackjack and other casino games. You can even enjoy a nice cocktail while doing so. The difference is that you do so by simply logging into Facebook while sitting at home, and of course no real money changes hands.

Out just a week it already has 10,000 followers, which is a nice start but far from the heady numbers that some of the more established games have such as Words with Friends that has 13 million players, but it is still new.

One feature that it has that I greatly dislike is that it may post on my behalf mentioning achievements high scores etc… Thanks but that is not really something I want, and that feature has prevented me from using other apps that do this. However others seem quite happy in broadcasting to the world their ups and downs playing online games.

The game will initially only present odds for NCAA football, the NFL, MLB and a variety of soccer matches but expects to expand to cover a number of additional sports including the NBA and NCAA basketball and others.

Zynga already has a virtual gambling game, Zynga Poker, which was its first game. However Business Insider has suggested that the reason for the partnership is that RocketPlay’s platform could be the basis for a real-money gambling at some point in the future. RocketPlay’s management team has experience in that area.