Glu Mobile, Skillz team to bring real-money Android gaming to U.S.

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Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) is extending its fledgling real-money mobile gaming efforts to the U.S. market, collaborating with cash and virtual currency platform Skillz to integrate skill-based cash tournaments into select Android titles.

Glu Mobile and Skillz will kick off their partnership during the current quarter, building real-money competitions into Deer Hunter Reloaded, a hunting simulation game available for download from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Appstore for Android. Gamers will pay a fee to enter each tournament, Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi told Reuters, noting that cash competitions will roll out to additional titles in the months ahead.

Skillz will handle payouts on all gambling-enabled Glu games. The firm launched its mobile tournament platform in March 2012 and late last year secured $1.3 million in seed financing from Atlas Venture, Nextview Ventures and angel investors.

Online gambling on chance games like slots or roulette is currently legal in only three states: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. However, real-money competitions in skill-based titles like Deer Hunter Reloaded are legal for Americans aged 18 and over across 37 states and the District of Columbia. Glu will also support free tournaments across all 50 U.S. states.

"We're probably years away from seeing the same level of geographic legalization of chance gaming, if ever in some cases, [so] to try and reach the same level of market coverage and penetration, we've got on the skill side," de Masi said.

Glu touts 40 million monthly active gamers worldwide and generates the majority of its revenues via advertising and sales of in-app virtual goods. This past March, the company teamed with mobile betting game designer and platform provider Probability to introduce its first real-money title, Samurai vs. Zombies Slots, to Android and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS device owners in the U.K. market. The game, which leverages intellectual property from Glu's popular Samurai vs. Zombies Defense title, requires players to first choose the cash stake per line they wish to bet, then the number of paylines they wish to play (from 1 to 50). Gamers can earn a maximum payout prize of $9,000 (£6,000).

For more:
- read this release
- read this Reuters article

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