FlowPlay, a Seattle startup behind social games such as Vegas World and Casino World, has been acquired by casino and resort operator Wind Creek Hospitality. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Based in Atmore, Ala., Wind Creek manages 10 casinos and racetracks across the U.S. and the Caribbean for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in Alabama.
The 3,000-person company bought FlowPlay “to diversify its business and expand customer reach well beyond existing target markets for its land-based casino operations,” according to a press release. In addition to its physical locations, Wind Creek also operates WindCreekCasino.com.
“We look forward to expanding into this exciting digital space,” Stephanie A. Bryan, Poarch Band of Creek Indians chairwoman and CEO, said in a statement.
FlowPlay is a developer, publisher, and operator that generates sales with a freemium model. It also runs a white label business. The company has more than 75 million registered users.
The startup is one of many gaming companies that have experienced big growth amid the pandemic as more people play video games. In the past two years its revenue has more than doubled.
FlowPlay CEO Derrick Morton, who founded the studio 15 years ago with CTO Doug Pearson, said discussions with Wind Creek were ongoing for years.
“They have a unique insight into markets where they think we can be successful and that made all the difference this time around,” he told GeekWire.
Morton, a former exec at GameHouse and RealNetworks, will continue leading FlowPlay, which will maintain its brand and remain in Seattle. Pearson, who previously founded and led mobile game studio ThreePenny Software, is also staying onboard, along with 64 full-time employees.
“No one is going anywhere,” Morton said. “There is essentially no overlap between the two organizations.”
FlowPlay last year repurchased shares from its investors and became fully-owned by employees and founders. Morton said there is no connection between that deal and the Wind Creek acquisition.
“We did the [buyback] after an exhaustive effort to find a buyer in 2020 came to an end with no takers,” he said. “Wind Creek got back in touch with us over the summer with an interesting take on our business and a way forward to grow the company even bigger.”
FlowPlay had raised $7.2 million from investors including Intel Capital, Atlas Accelerator, family offices, and angel investors, according to PitchBook. Its board members include WTIA CEO Michael Schutzler and Second Avenue Partners co-founder Mike Slade.