LONDON (Reuters) - Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, the world's largest online gaming group, has paired with the Serbian start-up behind popular Facebook game Top Eleven as the drive to make cash from social gaming gathers pace.
Fast-growing social games are free-to-use web-based games played against other users that offer additional features paid for with online credits, often tied to established platforms such as social media site Facebook.
Top Eleven is a game run by Serbian start-up Nordeus that allows players to manage virtual soccer teams, charging for tokens that improve the basic game play. It has 6 million users and is the most played online sports game in the world, according to Nordeus.
Bwin said it would initially develop a social sports betting application with Nordeus.
Nordeus CEO Branko Milutinovic said: "We are convinced that leveraging our development experience in combination with bwin.party's expertise in real-money betting will lead to a highly successful title and establish our companies as the leaders in social sports gaming."
Online gaming firms like Bwin are keen to move into the burgeoning social gaming sector, building on their presence in sports betting and diversifying from their core poker and casino products.
Last month, Bwin signed a deal with Manchester United that allows it to use the soccer club's international appeal to expand into social gaming.
(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Paul Sandle)