Zoot, From Luckyland Developers, Zooms Onto Sweepstakes Casino Scene

Eric Raskin

zoot

There’s no better time to light the fuse and launch something than the day before the fireworks-filled July 4th holiday.

On Wednesday, a new player entered the rapidly growing, highly competitive sweepstakes casino space, as CEO Sean Ryan and CFO John Cahill announced the arrival of Zoot, their “next generation social gaming platform.”

Under the formal business name of Enigma Lake Holdings, Inc., Zoot comes from two of the developers behind the Luckyland Slots app, offering free-to-play digital casino games along with “sweepstakes prizing options.” This is the backbone of the social/sweepstakes gaming model, where users can make real-money deposits and withdrawals but the games are played with site-specific currency with no direct real-world value.

“We saw a great opportunity to bring back the fun, simple gameplay of early Flash games, but to integrate a better revenue model with Sweepstakes options for those who participate,” Ryan wrote in his LinkedIn announcement. “Our early tests show that this approach is strongly resonating with our target demographic.”

Public-facing games, behind-the-scenes minds

At launch, the app features 16 games, falling into such categories as classic, crash, dice, mines, and Plinko games. There’s one mines games with a 4th of July theme, and two others tapping into the zeitgeist: Biden vs Trump, and Trump vs Biden. (We’ll have to wait and see if those games are redesigned and rebranded should the Democratic nominee change in the coming days.)

As Ryan posted, initial investors in Zoot included the likes of Kevin Ryan, Chris Grove, and Vicens Marti, while Zack Zeldin, Billy Levy, Alay Joglekar, and Melissa Blau served as advisers.

Both Ryan and Cahill were previously executives at gaming marketplace/wallet company AQUA. Ryan also worked at Facebook from 2011-2021, while Cahill was the CEO of OpenWager from 2013-17.

Ryan posted that the next product steps are adding more payment options, expanding the quality and quantity of games, and leaning into social interaction and community building. They are planning a financing round in the fall.

The legality and availability of social casinos varies from state to state and is still being actively explored in some jurisdictions. But it continues to grow rapidly where available, aided in no small part by the sluggish pace of online casino legalization. Since it became possible to regulate iCasino play in 2012, only seven states have passed laws permitting the vertical.