Slot maker WMS launches social gaming casino on Facebook; creates new interactive division

If Facebook were an actual street, it would give the Las Vegas Strip a run for its money.

Slot machine maker WMS Gaming announced Wednesday it was joining Zynga, HollywoodPoker, International Game Technology’s DoubleDown Casino and dozens of other social gaming companies with its own product for Facebook’s free play options.

Through its recently announced subsidiary Williams Interactive, WMS is launching the Jackpot Party social casino, which offer the company’s Las Vegas style slot machines on Facebook in a free, social gaming format.

Unlike the Strip, where casinos collected more than $6 billion in gaming revenues in 2011, all the gambling on Facebook is free. Facebook customers can purchase virtual chips for nominal fees, such as 99 cents for thousands of dollars in fake casino tokens.

Waukegan, Ill., based WMS launched Williams Interactive Tuesday to focus on the growth and development of the company’s online wagering, social, casual and mobile gaming initiatives.

WMS President Orrin Edidin was named president and chief executive officer of Williams Interactive. WMS has promoted Kenneth Lochiatto to president and chief operating officer of WMS Gaming.

“Online social casinos are among the most popular games on Facebook,” Edidin said, adding the company would use content from classic WMS slot machines.

“Just as these games have proven themselves appealing to players at casinos around the world, we believe the Facebook platform is an excellent showcase to extend that appeal and reach new audiences,” Edidin said.