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Gaming is more popular than ever across the American market. The latest research from Statista estimates that there are around 212 million gamers in the US — but how exactly did gaming reach these heights?
Laurence Escalante is one of the biggest reasons why. He’s someone who has successfully paved the way for modern gaming in the US, which is now largely based around sweepstakes casinos and social games.
So, let’s do a deep dive on who Laurence Escalante is and the influence he’s had.
Who is Laurence Escalante?
Laurence Escalante is a 40-year-old gaming and technology entrepreneur who is currently based in Perth, Australia.
Escalante started out as a teenager working at Hungry Jacks for $5.65 an hour before then going to university and working at the Reject Shop.
After finishing university, Escalante made his way into the tech industry and started making some big moves, such as founding White Knight Games in 2004. However, it wasn’t until 2010 when things really started to change.
2010: Laurence Escalante Launches VGW
When 2010 came around, Laurence Escalante launched VGW (Virtual Gaming Worlds). The aim of the company was to provide players with a social and interactive gaming experience where everyone feels welcome. It was an ambitious aim — but VGW has certainly achieved it.
2012: The Creation of Chumba Casino
In 2012, VGW officially launched Chumba Casino, a social sweepstakes casino.
Since arriving on the scene, Chumba Casino has added lots of casino-style games to its catalogue, with a specific focus on sweepstakes promotions. The concept is that you don’t play with real money. Instead, you play with virtual money (Gold Coins and Sweep Coins). Then, if you win, you get to redeem gift cards and cash-related prizes.
Between 2012 and 2018, Chumba Casino witnessed explosive player growth. The reason why thousands of new players were joining each month was because of the sweepstakes appeal. You get to enjoy casino games without betting real money — what’s not to love?
The success of Chumba Casino proved to be so large that it influenced the launch of lots of sweepstakes casinos throughout the 2010s. This trend has continued throughout the 2020s, too, with new sweepstakes casinos hitting the market every year. For example, a quick look online reveals there are now over 30 alternative casinos available in the US, which shows just how influential Chumba Casino has been.
2016 – 2023: Global Poker, LuckyLand Slots, and More
Between 2016 and 2023, Laurence Escalante spearheaded the launch of Global Poker (an online social poker site), the acquisition of LuckyLand Slots, and even the creation of VGW Play, a collection of free-to-play social games.
The Lasting Impact of Laurence Escalante
Without a doubt, Laurence Escalante has paved the way for the gaming trends that you see today. Research from Statista highlights that by 2027, over 233.70 million online gamblers will be using online sweepstakes casinos — and this can be largely credited to the launch of Chumba Casino back in 2012.
It’s clear that the iGaming industry is moving in one direction: to social play and virtual currencies. Now, it’s all about having a fun with virtual coins in a stress-free gaming enviroment. There’s a strong level of appeal here, which is ultimately online gamblers are ditching traditional casinos so that they can play in sweepstakes casinos, instead. If you’ve yet to give one a try, then it’s highly recommended.