There is an ever-increasing trend that sees online gamblers frequently preferring to play live dealer games at Internet casinos. All the large casino software companies offer these options to their clients, and we have seen a regular spate of upgrades to this type of offering. Microgaming has recently released an upgrade in their Diamond Edition of live dealer games, and now Unibet has taken up a new dedicated live casino room version which comes from Evolution Gaming.
To date the new Unibet live casino room is the largest hosted room of its kind and also one of the most recent to be hosted from the new Riga productions studios. It features croupiers donning Unibet branded uniforms, with four live blackjack tables, and a roulette table. Tables and backdrops also feature the Unibet brand.
While the live online casino offering is still a relatively new market sector, it has shown good potential in terms of growth, with more players keen on the up-take. Unibet is one of the early movers on this product. Basically live dealer games are filmed and screened out to the audience in real-time, by live video screening. This expansion by Unibet, while still focussing on brand consistency, puts them ahead of the rest in terms of quality, for the continued improvement of the customer experience online.
Evolution’s Sebastian Johannisson maintains that they are confident this brand will quickly reap rewards after going live. They are also confident that the product will show some electrifying growth potential; it is a progressive brand who has been a client of Evolution Gaming since 2009. They are now set to further localise, and customize their offerings into the future. Unibet has signed new agreements recently, and will be providing localised live dealer online content to both the Danish and Italian regulated online gambling markets.
Evolution Gaming is a world-class Live Casino provider, they work with top tier online operators, and were founded in 2006. Their union of the ‘Random Number Generator’ aspect with live video has turned a niche product into something that every online casino ‘must have’. All of the industry’s big names are turning to this or similar products.
As recognised pioneers for live video streamed online gaming, Evolution Gaming offers Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette and some variations on these games. They also accommodate both mainstream and VIP gaming suites; making use of innovative techniques, personalisation and unrivalled levels of customisation.
Unibet makes use of the word ‘Moneytainment’ to describe the thrills that they offer to gamers online. Moneytainment is described as – “the thrill of putting money at stake in order to win more” and this is in the heart of their vision. They are, and intend to remain one of the top players in the European online gambling entertainment marketplace. Currently Unibet operates in more than 100 countries, to 5.7 million customers, and employs over 530 people. They are one of the best names in the biz, and we see them regularly in casino news.
One thing is for certain, as a fast-thinking online gambling company, the bwin.party merge is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to conquer this industry. They have made no bones about the fact that they want to be top of the heap, and recently announced a new JV with a Californian Indian Tribal alliance in the USA, to enter the online poker market in this state – should it ever become legal. Their latest advertised push however, is into the social gaming arena.
See what we mean by ‘leaving no stone unturned’, just about everything is becoming grist for their mill? Their planned entry into social gaming has only taken shape recently, but was birthed at the merge of ‘bwin’ and ‘Party’ last year. We have to admit we were surprised to hear that €40 million or US$50 million has been earmarked for an investment. This funding will be used to establish a dedicated social gaming unit named ‘Win’, and scheduled to be based in Gibraltar.
The focus of its strategy will be on leveraging existing skills and assets, together with existing know-how. It is their aim as part of the investment, to position them-selves securely within the marketplace, and do this meaningfully within the next two years.
Broadening their reach into social gaming means investing in two eastern European gaming developers to the tune of $23 million! These companies are Velasco and Orneon, where bwin.party will purchase the contracts of three-hundred and thirty software developers to accelerate the social gaming push. This also includes some existing social gaming contracts.
Social gaming and online gambling are rapidly becoming symbiotically integrated; online gamblers want their gambling to be more social, and social gamers might want to take more of a risk. But the social gaming market place today has approximately 750 million users. These users may also be potential feeders for online gambling websites.
When we think that the potential for growth for social gaming could reach 1.5 billion by 2015, and the fact that this is already an $8bn market, it is no wonder that industry players such as bwin.party want in! Growth rate in money terms is expected to be $15 billion during the next three years!
The first of these social gaming products to be launched by bwin.party will be a poker-based game; closely followed by applications for casino-styled games and even some form of sports-book betting. Applications should be launched by the end of 2012, and every two weeks new content will be added. Revenues will be boosted by in-game sponsorship as well as banner advertising.
Most social gaming players never pay to play these games, but a small (2%) percentage will. They basically pay to access additional features, or credits which allow them to move faster through the game. Bwin.party expects that their new ‘Win’ division will become profitable within two years, however, if it fails, this will not be due to lack of investment, not with $50 million in the kitty to make sure that all goes well?!
888.com is looking great forward to a great year in 2012, after this UK-based internet gambling firm has picked up dramatically in the online gambling business again. The end of 2010 and into 2011 was not looking great for them financially, but after the introduction of a brand new and innovative online poker product this offering changed around. Now across all of their brands, continued growth has been shown. Even while the British economy struggles through their current recession, 888 Holdings plc expects an impressive 2012.
888 Holdings plc offers turnkey software, B2B and B2C solutions to online bingo, casino and poker operators, as well as operates their own websites. And while this might appear to be a conflict of interest to some online gambling ops; it seems that they manage to work it out with them somehow, we are not really sure how this is done.
The British company enjoyed a 26.33% growth in revenue during 2011, as new fans of their websites, signed up in droves. They are also the owner of the Dragonfish bingo network and this is the largest online bingo network in the UK, with more new sites still coming live online all the time. Even Reuters has reported that 888 continue to see strong growth for Q1 of 2012, following a strong 2011.
While the notoriously ‘penny-pinching’ Brit may be staying at home these days, and the new Government austerity measures deplete from disposable income, this bodes well for companies such as 888. People are finding online gambling not only to be entertaining, but also to be an economical form of entertainment. There are real fears that the British economy will again slide sideways into even a deeper recession, but even amid these fears revenue and increases customer sign-ups are creating healthy returns.
Parent company – 888 Holdings – revealed a $69 million increase from 2010’s $262 million, to a much healthier $331 million. The company has also revealed that they now offer services to 10.6 million registered, regularly returning customers, which is up on 2010’s numbers by 22% from 2010. These are people playing real money poker, sport, bingo and casino games.
Not only 888.com, but many online casino companies are turning envious eyes upon the market in the USA, as well as an ever-growing marketplace inside Europe. 888.com is responsible for Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s software for Europe and the UK, online casino and bingo sites, and this partnership may pay off big-time for the long- term. This brand has been very fortunate in this particular partnership, where just a few short weeks ago they announced plans to extend this British software licensing agreement to the USA. This will allow them to provide a ’real money’ offering in the USA, where this is their next target market.
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment has also announced that they have plans afoot to enter the USA online gambling marketplace. They have teamed up with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming Corporation, who operate and run casinos throughout the US.
The Uk is a true success story in the bid to legally regulate the online gambling industry. They have all the required controls and safeguards in place, and the system appears to be working very well. The industry experiences very few problems, although in the future, dual licensing will more than likely be required for offshore online gambling brands to have the right to operate to a UK- facing audience.
There are regulations in place which also have the effect of curtailing advertising activities, and only online gambling sites that are ‘White Listed’ are able to advertise in the UK. White listed sites in this business are deemed to be the websites licensed in agreed upon licensing jurisdictions, for example Malta, Gibraltar and Alderney to name but a few. By the same token, the Advertising Standards Authority also controls advertising activity, and gambling websites are taken to task with advertisements removed if they are deemed to be a bad influence on vulnerable members of society – for example children. They are also rapped over the knuckles for not taking enough care to avoid false advertising, and so on. These are the regulations which curtail advertising as being unacceptable.
The UK Govt. has now come under fire for allowing too much advertising for online gambling which is seen on TV and heard over the radio. MP Tessa Munt of the Liberal Democrats is calling for the Prime Minister to look into overzealous advertising campaigns from online gambling concerns. The current volume of adverts is under review by Ofcom which is the UK communications industry regulator.
This came about after MP Munt and Prime Minister David Cameron was requested to make sure that more protection is provided, so that consumers, children and other vulnerable people are sheltered from this entertainment activity. She believes that the timing is bad considering that people have £1.45 trillion of personal debt in the UK. The government is encouraging people to be more moderate in their behaviour at this time, so, online gambling activities are considered to be inappropriate.
The Prime Minister – David Cameron – has suggested that this issue is not only a matter for Ofcom to investigate. But that the quality as well as quantity was also raising concerns. He says it is a ‘question of responsibility’ and that online gambling businesses have to ask themselves if ‘whether they are behaving responsibly?’ He suggested they were “aggressive”. In response to this comment – Paddy Power – the Irish bookmaker and online bingo brand said that they believed their advertising to be ‘entertaining rather than aggressive’! However it has been noted that almost 36 hours of online casino and other gambling adverts takes place every week on British TV.
In the meantime the ASA (U.K. Advertizing Standards Authority) has given the thumbs up to the online gambling industry, for taking measures to decrease the number of complaints coming into the organization. They say that despite an increase in complaints, online gambling companies and their advertising teams are getting the picture.
It seems that online poker players have learned something after the advent of Black Friday. Not only that, but in a recent PokerStars press statement it was outlined how player funds were handled in comparison to the way Full Tilt Poker had done the same at the time. In essence PokerStars claim transparency with player’s money. But there is a huge difference between PokerStars and online brands such as 888 and PartyPoker for example.
Both 888 and PartyPoker are public companies. Both are listed on the London Stock Exchange and this makes them responsible to Company Law as well as licensing jurisdictional law, which is basically the law of the country. PokerStars on the other hand is a privately held company, which means the only law they are subject to is the law of the licensing jurisdiction.
However, this brand did behave admirably in the light of the DoJ seizure of their domain, where players in the US and internationally were able to withdraw funds from the site without too much trouble. This was in complete contrast to what took place with FullTilt.
The big difference for PokerStars is the fact that they are licensed on the Isle of Man. Isle of Mann makes it part of their jurisdictional rules that separate accounts are maintained for player funds. So this means that player bankrolls do not get mixed up with operational funds. Full Tilt on the other hand, was licensed with the AGCC – Alderney Gaming Control Commission, and although this is an excellent licensing jurisdiction, they do have different rules. Being the Channel Islands, this state does not dictate what operators do with their money. The Channel Isles have always been famous (or infamous?) for brilliant low tax and other lax offshore banking opportunities.
Full Tilt were more than likely only responsible for bad management decisions and poor judgment calls. But the DoJ has labeled them in the same category as the Mob, as a Global Ponzi scheme, and all kinds of awful accusations. In the face of the fact that Full Tilt members have been unable to withdraw their funds; this makes for a remarkable marketing opportunity in which Poker Stars to paints themselves white as the proverbial driven snow.
Head of Corporate Communications – Eric Hollreiser – had a field day explaining that their brand uses specific accounting methods to absorb the risks involved in working with payment processors online. In other words they do not pass the risk onto the player, but as we explained before, they are compelled to segregate funds by the laws of the Isle of Man.
More sophisticated online poker players are choosier about their brands today and are deciding to play with publicly traded companies such as Party Gaming and 888Poker. However, this does not seem to have made much difference to players at PokerStar. Despite the fact that players from the US are no longer allowed; they still managed to attract 200 000 players online simultaneously to break their own Guinness World Record recently; for the most online players in the same tournament at the same time!
Since the Black Friday everybody is talking about the legalization of online casino games and especially about the regulation of online poker. About this, what Phil Hellmuth has to say is that the legalization of poker on internet in America will happen very soon, it is just a matter of days according to him. With have to admit that there are a lot of gossip around the regulation of the online gambling market nowadays, and whatever we can hear, it does not necessary mean that it is the truth. Indeed, America is probably the country with the more gambling and online gambling lovers, for this particular reason the government really started thinking about a regulation of the online market in USA. The thing really strange in USA is that online gambling is forbidden but at the same time USA is the country with the more gamblers, and a lot of them live their life with the money they earn playing online poker, blackjack, bingo, slots ad any other casino games they can find on internet. Poker players are probably the ones who make the more money thanks to gambling, and now Phil Hellmuth declared that he will have a contract with a non-well known sponsor because he is sure about the legalization of online poker.
We recently spotted a brand new online casino game at Virgin and Ladbrokes Bingo. This is a video slot named “Casper’s Mystery Mirror”, and although it is not a Christmas themed slot, what really intrigued us, was not only the fact that BluePrint Gaming is not all that familiar to us, but the fact that “Casper The Ghost” is really a retro theme. The fact that this game has been taken up by these two online gaming operators plus various other online gambling brands, must mean that BluePrint has value to both operators and players alike.
Join in the fun and games with everyone’s favourite friendly ghost, because you are probably going to have a lot of time on your hands with the up-coming holiday season, when virtually everything else shuts down. Once you have bought and unwrapped all your Christmas pressies; the nights are long and cold in the winter, and all your work has been done. You might need to find something to entertain yourself with in the daytime too, so, a heart-warming new online casino slots game is always very welcome. Casper is a 40-line slot complete with both a Free Spins bonus round and the Mystery Mirror feature.
This game gets deep into character with great graphics and reminds us of long hours spent as a child reading Casper Comic Books – we wonder if they will ever bring out a Wendy Witch online video slots game? It features his scary cousins and some really spooky sound effects too – BOO! But you really won’t find a more friendly spirit than Casper the Ghost.
The minimum wager is £0.01 and the maximum prize is £250,000 – we’ll bet a prize of that size has you interested now? It features scatters to earn free spins, which uses a different reel band set, and wild symbols which can substitute for other icons to create winning combinations. Drop the Mystery Mirror symbols onto the pay-lines to get into this bonus round, but we are not going to tell you more about bonus round, because then it would not be a mystery, would it? You are going to have to play the game and get into the bonus round to find out straight from the horses – or should we say the Ghosts – mouth.
Now, what about BluePrint so we know to look out for their games in the future? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GAMES® is the trademark at Blueprint, where this gaming developer believes that they are defined by the success of their games. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, they were incorporated in 2001, and in 2008 a 50% controlling stake was acquired by the Gauselmann Group of Germany. This online gambling game company now also has offices in the UK. They are a multi-platform developer that partners with operators and software developers alike. As well as Virgin and Ladbrokes casino we find their games at Gala Coral, GamesWarehouse and they also partner with PopCap. Judging by Casper; we think we will be seeing more of their products in the server-based online gaming environment.
Jim Ryan of Party Gaming, recently spent three out of five weeks in the USA. He made no bones about the fact that he was punting for online poker partners – this in anticipation of the US Federal Government legalizing these games. Hopefully not in the too distant future!
There are some analysts that say it won’t happen, while others say it will, and although there are always ‘glass-half-full’ and ‘glass-half-empty’ contingents, it is really hard for anyone to say if, when and how it will happen We are living in hope at this point in time, but if anyone one knows what’s going on in the online gambling industry, this person would be Jim Ryan.
Nevertheless, it appears as though he has played his cards well and just like the Bwin.party merger, he has found himself some pretty powerful US JV partners. His rationale is that the industry players to get in on the ground floor will be the ones to hit the ground running, when it comes to US licenses being issued. To this end he has thrown in his hand, and is playing Hold ’em with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming. We are also fairly certain that they will be using the Party Poker brand to punt these games online to potential US members. This brand has got more than the ‘Bwin” feather in its cap to make them the perfect choice; it is also home to the World Poker Tour brand.
In anticipation of online poker, and if we are really lucky – also online gambling – being made legal in the USA, it is Jim Ryan’s intention for the Party brand to take back the number one spot. This is where they stood when they left the country and billions of dollars worth of potential revenue behind, after the promulgation of UIGEA in 2006.
The US online poker market is a very large prize pot indeed, and the online gambling industry goes way, way beyond poker in its ability to generate big revenue. Party and obviously the Boyd and MGM boys must believe they have what it takes to make a big break into this industry. Bwin.party is the largest listed online gambling brand in the world, and this gives them major mainstream credibility. Ryan has coveted the US marketplace for years and has made no excuses for this.
Keith Smith, CEO of Boyd said that it was vital be able to move quickly, to position themselves when or if laws change. They are also keen that their investors see them as being aggressive to achieve position. Boyd owns and operates 17 casinos throughout the US, while MGM Resorts are part or full owners of 18 casino properties. MGM resorts CEO, Jim Murren commented on the JV with the usual platitudes, but he was also very clear about the fact that the Federal Government should address regulation, and get it out of the way very soon. He says they can no longer “wish it away.”
Among all the casino games available on internet, what we can say is that slots are probably one of the easiest, if not the easiest, of all casino games. Indeed playing slots is so simple and to win a slot games there is no need to have neither experience nor any particular strategy because slot is all about random and chance. Slot machines have, as standard, at least three reels and traditionally an arm to the right hand side of the machine. This arm is pulled to spin the reels in hope that a pattern of three matching symbols will emerge.
Nowadays with the emergence of new technologies and online gambling slot has changed a lot. Now it is no longer necessary to go to a casino to play slot, just with computer and an internet access and anybody over 18 can play slot with just a few simple clicks on any online casino websites. Play online casino games has with time become such a natural thing for gambling lovers and now there are more and more casino games players who have chosen play online only.
Actually all the news websites related to poker and online poker are talking about Phil Ivey’s divorce with Luciaetta, and what we can say is that 2011 has not been a good year for our poker star player. Indeed, according to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, poker pro Phil Ivey has filed a response to the petition of his ex-wife, Luciaetta, who discovered that Ivey donated money to the judge assigned to their 2009 divorce case.
The least we can say is that 2011 will appear there was a year rather detrimental to our famous poker star Phil Ivey. Indeed the one all lot a people consider as the worldwide best poker player alive and also known as the Tiger Woods is facing the leaking of information related to his divorce with his ex-wife Luciaetta. First the closing of the online poker room Full Tilt Poker whose Phil Ivey was one of the main shareholder, and now this sad story with his ex-wife. As the details of his divorce have been published publicly, we now know that Lucietta has hold from their divorce a collection of bags worth $ 1.2M and a more than one million dollars set of jewels, and that she also receive a pension of 180,000 dollars a month.