Black Friday Affecting Online Casinos

August 10th, 2011  |  Published in Inrodution

In April 2011, the United States Department of Justice forcibly closed several major online poker rooms on the grounds that their processing payments were conducted in an illegal manner. That event created a ripple which resulted in a major online casino group or software provider exiting the U.S. Internet gaming market on a weekly basis. This has continued for approximately the past four months.

The latest news is from Rival Gaming which has announced that its casinos will no longer accept U.S.-based players. This statement was confirmed by AffiliateWide, an affiliate program for the company. They stated, “We have received notification from our software provider, Rival that from 7th August we will no longer be able to accept new U.S. players. Please note your existing US players will still be able to deposit and you will continue to earn commission on player generated revenues.”

AffiliateWide currently has a large U.S. client base which is the reason the company has decided to switch to Top Game, another online game software developer. As of this moment, Top Game will continue to operate in the U.S. marketplace. Online casinos that are powered by Top Game include:

  • Box24 Casino
  • Spartan Slots
  • Black Diamond Casino

The message provided by AffiliateWide members detailed that the migration to Top Game will be completed by August 15th, 2011. Luckily, the switch will not cause any hiatus and the online gaming sites will provide Rival games until the migration is complete. This means that affiliates will be able to access Rival statistics on the AffiliateWide website. Once the changeover is complete, players will be able to bet on Top Game software and affiliates will login using the Top Game Affiliate system.

Furthermore, affiliates will be able to download new marketing tools and tracking codes. Unfortunately players who wish to continue betting on Rival games will be required to close down their accounts and find another Rival Gaming casino.

In addition to the news of Rival Gaming, another announcement was made as a result of Black Friday. Intertops online casino released a statement indicating that it will change its domain extension from .com to .eu. According to the company the reason for this change is to improve accessibility, reliability and the level of service. The real reason is due to American federal authorities who can easily act against .com’s.

Black Friday has and continues to have a significant impact on online casinos that operate within the United States market. If this trend continues, there will be no online casinos left to cater to the American client base.

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New Changes at Sloto’ Cash

August 9th, 2011  |  Published in Inrodution

Sloto Cash online casino recently announced that there will be some upcoming changes. The changes are a requirement due to the decision of Rival Gaming to stop accepting United States-based players. Associated affiliate marketing management programs of the software developer have had to make adjustments based on this decision. For instance, Affiliate Wide online casinos have completely switched providers to collaborate with Top Game software.

Members will Remain Active

Sloto Cash has reassured existing American players that their affiliate members will remain active without change and the casino will continue to provide Rival Gaming games. The email distributed to affiliates declaimed, “We invite you to subscribe to our revamped weekly newsletters so you can stay tuned to all retention and conversion campaigns we are running for your active players and new potential customers.”

Information from the Deck Media

The weekly newsletters titled, “The Deck Media”, have always provided affiliates and players with a valuable source of information during volatile times. Currently Sloto’ Cash has not yet detailed the upcoming changes. The only indication from the casino is that its new live support will soon be available. The newsletter did indicate that the changes will be extremely exciting and take effect in September 2011.

Bad News for Deck Media

On the other hand, there was bad news from the affiliate program Deck Media in early 2011. The affiliate management company lost GATM eCheck processor which processed all financial transactions for the company. Unfortunately when the eCheck company went under, Deck Media lost a significant amount of affiliate’s money. When affiliate programs lost eWalletXpress and MasterCard, the program absorbed the costs.

In the situation with eCheck, Deck Media was unable to absorb the losses. Therefore, those affiliates who generated earning from eCheck deposits had to surrender their earnings to the payment processor. Players and affiliates are hoping that the changes next month will settle down the activity at the casino and brands of Deck Media.

Sloto’ Cash Company Information

Licensed in the reputed gambling jurisdiction of Curacao, Sloto’ Cash online casino permits customers from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Japan and many other European countries.

Black Friday has played a significant toll on the online gambling industry. Almost every provider, affiliate or affiliate management company has been affected by the actions taken by the U.S. Department of Justice almost four months ago. Hopefully all online entities will be able to recover from this incident.

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Online Gambling News from Greece and Finland

August 8th, 2011  |  Published in Inrodution

There were recently new developments in the online gambling situations in Finland and Greece. Unfortunately the news from both countries is not good. In Finland, a new coalition government has indicated that stricter restrictions will be imposed on foreign gambling operators. Therefore, state-owned monopolistic operators will greatly benefit from the restrictions placed on outside online casino operators.

Finnish Restrictions

The government has not yet discussed the exact measures that are being considered. However, the executives of the gambling monopoly, RAY, have implied such measures as Internet blocking, advertising restrictions and the disruption of financial transactions with illegal foreign companies. These measures will be difficult to implement because of the extensive resources required to conduct such an operation.

Finnish Government Considerations

Also, the definition of an illegal operator continues to be vaguely-defined so the likelihood of legal actions taken by overseas operators is high. Unfortunately the Finnish government is considering these actions regardless of the advice given by online gaming experts which have identified these measures to be detrimental to the industry. Aside from giving players a choice, these restrictions limit business growth and eliminate local players from receiving the best odds.

Greek Gaming Proposals

On July 7th, 2011, the European Commission (EC) responded to Greek proposals to regulate online gambling and expressed strong concerns regarding the compatibility of the recently drafted legislation with European Union (EU) laws. The most questionable provisions are those brought forth by the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) which indicates the requirement for EU licensed operators to be established in Greece and backed by a Greek bank.

Other Questionable Provisions

Also, the law limits the number of issued licenses while imposing a minimum capital requirement on new applications. Additionally, financial transfers are to be limited to local banks. The draft also contains many legal, technical and practical uncertainties which could cause problems down the road. For instance, the types of games to be offered by operators have not been clearly identified. The draft has also been reviewed by Malta which has stated the same opinion.

The original laws were submitted to the EC on April 5th, 2011. However, the EC has extended the submission period to August 8th. During this time, the Greek government will be unable to adopt the draft regulation and are required to reply to the EC’s objection. If the country proceeds without the approval of the EC, Greece could receive infringement proceedings. Ultimately Greece has a short amount of time to amend the draft to comply with the EC.

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The Return of Playtech

August 5th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

Listed in the AIM exchange, Playtech is one of the leading online gaming software providers. However, toward the end of 2010, beginning of 2011, the company took a brief hiatus where they did not release any games or have any new developments for several months. However, Playtech recently released the second quarter financial results which are excellent and prove the company left off where they began.

Improved Figures

The software provider recorded revenue increases in all gaming categories except poker. Total revenues increase to 39.6 million Euros with casino revenues increasing 27.3 million Euros. As a result of these incredible quarterly results, it is clear Playtech remains the market-leading software provider for the industry.

Ventures and Developments

From a business development standpoint, in the second quarter Playtech engaged in a joint venture entitled, “SciPlay” which was chosen by the California Online Poker Association to provide an intrastate online poker platform. Also, the company entered the Spanish gambling market in partnership with Casino Gran Madrid. Furthermore, Playtech completed a deal with PT Turnkey Services. These recent developments reflect the success of Playtech’s ongoing investment.

Long-term Developments

On a more long-term note, Playtech announced the purchase of mobile gaming specialist Mobenga as well as a 10 year licensing deal with Gala Coral. The latter is one of Playtech’s largest contracts ever which is expected to award Playtech 5 million Euros per year. The deal involves Playtech supplying Gala Coral with a variety of online gambling products including its IMS platform and Virtue Fusion Bingo network. The current software suppliers to Gala Coral include:

  • Ash Gaming
  • Betrade
  • Game Account
  • IGT
  • Ongame
  • Jadestone
  • Geneity
  • Chartwell
  • Cryptologic
  • Evolution

No Objections from Other Partners

Ironically William Hill Online, a joint venture partner of Playtech, did not raise any objection to the new relationship. This is surprising because of the legal battle they enacted for Playtech’s attempt to create a contract with Ladbrokes. The main difference between the two is Ladbrokes was a joint venture and Gala Coral is a supply agreement.

Playtech has really kicked back in to gear with new games, new deals and exciting new developments for online players. Once Playtech gets on a role, the online gambling industry should expect big things in the future. Perhaps the hiatus was to concoct a robust strategy and explode back into the online gambling industry. If that is the case, their strategy is working.

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An Overview of Summer Ease Slot Game

August 4th, 2011  |  Published in Gambling Games

Rival Gaming has developed a new slot game to capture the summer season and celebrate all the associated activities during those months. “Summer Ease” is an online slot game that features all summer vacationing activities during the introductory clip. These same activities are then presented in the game as symbols on the reels which include:

  • Grill
  • Picnic basket
  • Snorkel
  • Balls
  • Camp
  • Flowers Fishing reel
  • Sandcastle

Accompanying the well-crafted icons are plenty of animation with peppy music. For instance, a fish can be caught in the fishing reel and the grill is lifted to show that fish. Meanwhile the flower dance in the wind. The best animation in the game is the sandcastle which is demolished by ball.

In addition to the standard symbols are four special icons including the deck chair, bicycle, car and boat. The deck chair is the jackpot symbol awarding 8,888 coins. Typically jackpots offered by Rival Gaming slot games pay 5,000 coins. However, since the game celebrates the summer season, the company has decided to up the ante.

The bicycle is the scatter symbol which boasts two advantages. The first is the scatter payouts which are multiplied by the total bet which converts them to credits. If five bicycle icons appear on any of the reels, the player is awarded 100 coins. The other benefit is the scatter symbol activates the free spins round. Three bicycle symbols award 10 free spins, four equates to 20 free spins and five equals 75 free spins.

The car character represents the wild symbol which automatically replaces all other icons with the exception of the scatter and bonus figures. This character is only available on the first, third and fifth reels as a wild icon. When it appears, the entire reel is converted to help the player win.

Finally, the boat acts as the bonus symbol. Three or more triggers the bonus game which takes place in the high seas where the player must race the boat and avoid buoys. All bonus credits are awarded at the end of the round.

Summer Ease allows players to wager up to 10 coins per payline and features a total of 20 paylines. The betting denomination spans from $0.01 to $0.25. Summer Ease recently went live at all Rival Gaming-powered online casinos. This game is an excellent way to celebrate the activities summer has to offer while making a little extra money.

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Bodog Online Gaming Exiting from U.S. Market

August 3rd, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

Owned by Calvin Ayre, the Bodog gaming brand has been an institution in the online gambling marketplace for many years. The casino used to operate through the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG) from Kahnawake. Bodog’s most recent announcement to let their current license with MMGG expire at the end of 2011 has taken the online gambling industry by surprise. No license with the gaming group equates to an exit from the U.S. gambling market.

Focusing on the United Kingdom

It is evident that the primary focus of the Bodog brand will be on the United Kingdom and other emerging markets in Asia and Europe. Philippine-based brand, Bodog88 has already been established and is a leading brand in Asia. During the third week of July 2011, the company announced it had received a license from the U.K. Gambling Commission.

Building Credibility

During that time the CEO of Bodog UK stated that the license shows trust and credibility to the Bodog brand. As a result of the trust, new customers will be drawn to the brand while attracting the best talent in the industry to work for the organization. To reap the most benefits of the U.K. license, the company must eliminate any negative connotations that may have arisen from the events that occurred on Black Friday.

MMGG Launching its Own Brand

Beginning January 12th, 2011, customers will be unable to access any Bodog brand website. In a recent statement from the casino, the understanding is that the MMGG will implement and launch its own brand under the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in 2012. Therefore, Bodog players will be able to transfer their funds to this new casino or withdraw them.

The Final Statement

The statement to their players ended, “This decision presents a fresh direction for the Bodogbrand.com as it looks to create a new chapter in its history. The move will enable the Bodog brand to continue its growth and expansion and maintain its position as the world’s largest gaming brand.”

Pushed out of the U.S.

This decision certainly was not easy. Essentially the U.S. forced the company to withdraw from the market. The passage of the UIGEA terminated Bodog’s U.S.-based operations and sold the business to MMGG while preserving the brand name. This was followed by a lengthy legal battle for patent infringement which was settled out of court.

Bodog have been a major player in the U.S. gambling market. Many players will be sad to see the company eliminate its presence from the country. Hopefully once online gambling is legalized in the U.S., Bodog will return.

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All Slots Casino Releases Android Gaming App

August 2nd, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

All research conducted on the online gambling industry indicated that the greatest growth will come about in the mobile gaming arena. This new technology allows players to place bets while on the move. In modern online gambling, most casinos offer some type of wagering through mobile phones. All Slots online casino has been one of them for the past year and has recently announced the launch of two new Android apps.

Mobile Applications for Android

Mobile industry analysts are insinuating that the Android platform is overtaking the iPhone for the top smart phone infrastructure on the market. As a result of these studies, All Slots mobile casino has added these new gaming applications at an advantageous time. The two new additions are the All Slots Blackjack app and the All Slots Casino Lobby app. These are free to download directly to Android devices.

Zero Advertisements

Both applications support free and real-money games. The greatest advantage is the applications do not contain any advertisements. The All Slots Blackjack application allows players to participate in classic Blackjack which features a single deck and the lowest house edges.

11 Mobile Casino Games

The All Slots Casino Lobby app features 11 casino gambling games for play on the Android device. These games include Mega Moolah and Major Millions (two progressive jackpot slot games) as well as Tomb Raider, Thunderstruck and Mermaid’s Millions which are 5-reel slot games. The five aforementioned games are some of the best Microgaming slot games available.

The Games

The table games include European Roulette and Classic Blackjack. Similar to Classic Blackjack, European Roulette offers an extremely low house edge due to the single-zero roulette wheels. The variant of video poker in the application is Jacks or Better. Additionally, the All Slots Casino Lobby App has added instant win scratch cards Dragon’s Fortune and Bingo Bonanza. The final game found in the app is a horse racing game entitled, “Royal Derby.”

Game Features

All the games feature vivid graphics and crisp sound effects while being easy to navigate. Also, each game has All Slots casino’s infamous game play. The casino claims that players will feel as if they are playing the game right from their computer. All Slots has done an excellent job of transitioning some of their best desktop-based games into the mobile arena. In the future, players will definitely see more mobile gaming from All Slots.

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New Gaming Category for U.S. Tribal Land Casinos

August 2nd, 2011  |  Published in Inrodution

The Tribal Gaming Network is a private gambling system that connects Indian land-based casino across the United States while providing Class III, Class II, progressive and online games. Operated by the Atlantis Internet Group Corporation (ATIG), the network recently expanded its game offerings by entering into an agreement with Tabcorp, an Australian betting organization, to supply the simulated racing game Racetrax.

The Contract

The agreement is for a multiple year license at multi-millions of dollars. This is the first time Racetrax has been available in any state with the exception of Maryland. Racetrax was develop internally by the Australian company and has slowly gained popularity across the globe. The game has already been successful in Croatia, Denmark and Sri Lanka in addition to the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Combination of Racing Types

The primary reason for its popularity is the game combines thoroughbred and greyhound racing with car racing and a simple payout structure. Racetrax offers fixed returns on typical racing wagers such as Win, Place, Quinella and Trifecta while providing customers with an opportunity to win money on virtual races.

Statement from the Tribal Gaming Network

A representative of the Tribal Gaming Network released a statement confirming that Racetrax will go online during the fall of 2011. Once live, players will be able to wager on the game at various terminals located at tribal casinos. The terminals across 28 states will be linked and also available at truck stops, smoke shops and cyber cafes on reservations. The game will be available via casino Intranet and satellite television.

Statement from ATIG

The CEO of ATIG stated that since there is no federal or state legislation to provide nationwide game through the Intranet medium, the Tribal Gaming Network is in a class alone by featuring innovative games like Racetrax. As a result, Indian casinos across the United States will be able to offer some of the largest jackpots since Powerball.

Statement from Tabcorp

The CEO of Tabcorp further added that he was excited about the expansion of Racetrax throughout the Native American gaming market because of its innovation and technology. Additionally, he looks forward to providing high-end virtual racing games to Indian land casinos in the future.

This is an excellent opportunity for Tribal casinos to be more competitive in the gambling industry. By offering an innovative and exciting product through a technological channel, this is sure to increase the number of players at the casinos across the United States.

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Gambling Policy Conference in Europe

July 29th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

While back the European Commission (EC) chose to create a report with regards to the current state of online gambling in Europe prior to developing a regulated system. The Commission requested interested parties to provide input as a segment of the consultative process. The deadline to provide this input is less than a month away. However, many parties publicly voiced their opinions at the European Gambling Policy Conference in Brussels.

Cohesive Regulation

Once such speaker was a politician from the European Union (EU), J. Creutzmann. He felt that regulation of the online gambling industry across Europe is the best and only solution as to how to eliminate the current confusion in the market. Unfortunately, national regulation will be unsuccessful in a growing marketplace.

Supporting Arguments

This same opinion has been mentioned by several industry executives, representatives from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and other observers. Since there is a lack of standardized regulations between the Member States and the EU, costs continue to increase and fraud and unlicensed gambling are flourishing. The EGBA has highlighted the level of fragmentation of the industry into 27 independent markets with varying taxes and other fees.

This highly discourages responsible gaming organizations from entering the market allowing for less reputable unlicensed owners to move in. In the end, the player will suffer the most. Also, the lack of standardized regulation pushes potential customers to unregulated markets in places like China. A synergized regulation would help eliminate corruption by increasing enforcement.

Sports Corruption

This viewpoint is also consistent with sports. For example, fixing a matching or event in Spain and the United Kingdom is highly illegal. However, in Bulgaria there is a no law against the actions. This has occurred because the EU has not taken upfront action and allowed the burden of regulation to fall with governments in specific markets.

Opposing Arguments

The opposing individuals believe that most Member States of the EU do not want a standardized regulation so they can keep the money within the country. Many also do not want large gambling markets for religious reasons. A representative from the Association of Charity Lotteries agrees with this point of view.

Also most European countries have a fairly robust online gaming regulatory system. However, this proves that there a long way to go. Both sides make compelling arguments so the decision to make a standardized regulatory system will be difficult.

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Payments Resume at QuickTender Payment Processor

July 28th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

Owner and operator of UseMyWallet, QuickTender is an online financial payment solution provider that services the United States. QuickTender was significantly affected by the events that occurred on Black Friday because one of its primary financial payment processors, Chargestream, was indicated by the Department of Justice. As a result, the company stop payments for a short time and have moved the funds to European bank accounts.

Moving Funds to European Banks

QuickTender has contacted American players confirming that their funds are safe in European bank accounts that would pay in Euros. However, the company also stated that it will need some time to develop the mechanics of the system. Despite these assurances, many U.S. players continue to worry as to whether they will receive their money back. Luckily, the future is bright for these account-holders.

QuickTender Dispensing Funds to U.S., U.K and Canadian Players

There have been reports from a few online forums that QuickTender has begun paying customer balances. The company sent an email to its customers regarding repayments on June 23rd, 2011 indicating that players who wanted access to their accounts were required to wait until August 15th. However, those players with accounts in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada have already begun receiving funding.

Balance Scenarios

Currently, only the players that had balances held by the payment processor following Black Friday are being paid. Those with funds in transit continue to be held up. These specific transfers were released by QuickTender by remained in the accounts of Chargestream during the indictment process. Therefore, since Chargesteam was indicted by U.S. authorities, it is unlikely those players will receive their money.

Next Steps

Unfortunately players who withdrew their balances from online casinos are required to resend their banking details to the QuickTender electronic wallet through customer support. QuickTender asked customers to utilize a bank account that is in Euros in order to successfully receive their funds as U.S. Dollar transfer was not a viable option. Those balances in Dollars would be converted to Euros and transferred.

Online American players should appreciate the careful steps QuickTender has taken to retrieve their money. If the payment processor continued to dispense funds as a result of the continued pressure from its users, more funds would have become frozen. There is no doubt that players currently receiving their long-awaited funds feel it was well worth the wait.

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