Casino ATM operator in social media and Internet gambling alliance

Las Vegas-based casino industry supplier Global Cash Access Holdings Inc. on Tuesday announced an alliance in the fast-growing social media and online gambling sector.

The company, best known for operating ATMs in casinos and providing casino cash advance and credit products, said it signed a letter of intent to create the alliance with Live Gamer, which GCA calls a "leading independent wallet, analytics and media supplier for the social gaming space worldwide."

Live Gamer calls itself "the world's first combined e-commerce and advertising platform." It is based in New York and has deals with big players like Facebook, Electronic Arts and Sony Online Entertainment. One of its arrangements, for instance, is to provide Facebook credits. As a "wallet" provider, it enables customers to spend real money on social and entertainment Internet sites.

Terms weren't immediately disclosed and it wasn't specified exactly what each company will do for each other and the alliance.

But during a conference call with securities analysts, Global Cash Access CEO Scott Betts said the arrangement is aimed at helping GCA prepare for the fast-approaching period when real-money Internet poker will launch in Nevada and other states, if not nationwide.

GCA is positioning itself to provide cash services to Internet gambling sites just as it provides such services in brick-and-mortar casinos.

"I'm very excited about our capability'' in the sector, Betts said.

He added, however, that there remain uncertainties about the timing and extent of Internet gambling once it's launched in the states or nationwide.

"We don't know where Internet wagering is going to go. And we don't know who the players will be long term," he said. "Will players in the social gaming space move into the wagering space? It could happen. If it does, these guys (Live Gamer) have a tremendous customer portfolio."

"It (the alliance) provides their cutting-edge technology, expertise in social gaming and access to a potential new customer base outside the classic casino operator while building off GCA's strengths and leadership in (regulatory) compliance, cash access products and connectivity to 75-percent plus of the casino operators in the United States," he said.

"We believe the right solution for GCA to bring to the marketplace is one that provides our customers with an end-to-end solution that not only addresses getting funds on the wagering site, but allows them to integrate social gaming, the monetization of virtual currency and brand expansion with the benefits of a seamless connection between the Internet and the brick-and-mortar world of traditional casinos," he said.

GCA separately on Tuesday reported steady second-quarter financial results.

The company earned $6.9 million or 11 cents per share, up from $1 million or 2 cents per share in last year's second quarter. Revenue grew from $135.2 million to $147.5 million.

Much of the improvement was tied to last year's acquisiton of competitor MCA Processing LLC.