Archive for January, 2012

Jersey Gambling Commission Accepting Applications

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

With all the talk about the U.S. State of New Jersey considering the prospects of regulating online gambling, when I first heard that the Jersey Gambling Commission is beginning to accept remote online gaming license applications, I admittedly did a double take. Last time I heard, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie sent back the bill that would have brought online poker and possibly other forms of online gambling to the Garden State.

This thought was soon replaced with the realization that we’re talking about the Jersey Gambling Commission, not the New Jersey Gambling Commission. Officially called the Bailiwick of Jersey, Jersey is a British Crown Dependency channel island off the coast of France. Following suit of fellow channel islands – Guernsey and Alderney (the latter of which is part of Guernsey), not to mention the nearby Isle of Man – the Jersey Gambling Commission is a relatively new player in the online gambling scene, having come into force in late 2010.

And now that the Commission is up and running, currently licensing Ladbrokes and William Hill betting shops, remote hosting providers like Jersey Telecom and accredited testing laboratories the likes of Gaming Laboratories International, the stage is set for online casino operators and software developers, like Playtech, to call Jersey home.

In fact, Playtech has recently become the first operator to apply for a Jersey remote gambling license, following months of negotiations. According to Playtech CEO, Mor Weizer, considering that many Playtech licensees already have set up shop in nearby Alderney and Isle of Man, giving current and future licensees a third, competitive option makes good business sense. And being the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming software developer, Playtech certainly knows what makes for good business sense.

Online gamblers in European regulated gaming markets, should expect to see Playtech powered online casinos sporting the Jersey Gambling Commission Seal very soon in 2012.

One Man’s Pining for London’s Fire and Ice

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

With the 6th Annual London Affiliate Conference in full swing –  hosting several industry best practice panels and presentations, and plenty of opportunity for the 2,500+ attendees to network and broker deals – the only thing I’m curious about (In fact, dying to know) is how the Fire and Ice Party turned out last night. For all our faithful followers out there, you may recall that we’ve been reporting on this event every year. And if you need a reminder or just want to take a walk down memory lane, check out this review of Fire and Ice back in 2010.

If this is your first time hearing about Fire and Ice, well then, get ready to lose your virginity. There’s a good chance you would have lost it anyway, had you actually attended either of the last two years. That’s because Fire and Ice is a notoriously “grown up” party known for it’s sexually sinful flare.

I suppose I should explain what I mean by sexually sinful flare. I’m not talking about the interstate strip club or Amsterdam’s red light district (not because I don’t have the faintest idea what either one of those is like). Nope, this kind of sexually sinful flare is more like the kind of stuff you are likely to see at a show in Las Vegas. A good one, that is.

Before I go on any further, let me just say that I didn’t even get to attend last night’s party. In fact, I’m not even at the conference. I suppose that’s why I’m blogging about it – to expunge all the jealousy, bitterness and flat-out rage that’s turning my face more sour looking than a baby with a mouthful of lemonheads. But seriously, folks, that’s how crazy the Fire and Ice Party is. It’s so crazy good, I can’t even bring myself to read about it. Yep, you heard that right. I’m actually reporting on an event that I know nothing about. But thanks for being here for me, all the same.

What I can tell you is that the 6th Annual Fire and Ice Party was being hyped to hearken back the days of original sin. Yep, you may want to get your bible’s out for a history lesson. But then again, maybe not. According to Lyceum Media’s Michael Caselli, this retelling of the Book of Genesis and Revelations is told with a “new perspective”. How new, you ask? Caselli put it this way: “You’d be better off bringing a moral conservative to Bangkok’s back alleys than to this event”. Is the suspense killing you too?

IGT Renews Agreement With Hasbro

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

If there is any doubt about online gambling coming to the United State, one need only take a look at the recent partnership renewal between two iconic American companies: Hasbro Incorporated and International Gaming Technology (IGT). On first glance, one might be wondering what on earth a toy manufacturer has anything to do with a casino gaming and slot machine manufacturer. But then again, perhaps that’s what makes the partnership all the more American.

The fact of the matter is that IGT and Hasbro have been “doing business” for quite some time. Ever played the Monopoly slot machine at a Vegas casino before? How about Cluedo? Well, these games (among many others) are the fruition of a licensing agreement between Hasbro and IGT – the former of which owns several popular board game brands.

Reaching beyond the brick ‘n mortar casino industry of late, IGT has developed several of Hasbro’s brands into online slot machines, including Dungeons and Dragons, Battleship, Transformers and the aforementioned, highly popular, Cluedo and Monopoly. In the Spring of 2012, IGT will be launching “Monopoly Plus”, which will showcase new gaming innovations and is expected to be a big hit.

While Monopoly Plus may not be available for U.S. citizens to wager at real money online casinos just yet, it’s pretty clear that IGT is ready and willing. The recent renewal of IGT’s licensing agreement with Hasbro gives the slot machine manufacture rights to produce new game titles, and distribute games to legalized online gambling markets through 2014. Before then, there is a good chance that the U.S. will become one of these markets – and IGT is certainly planning on it.

Does the Future of Online Gambling Rest With Facebook?

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

With news surfacing through eGamingReview that Facebook has been in recent talks with UK online gaming giants, Gamesys and 888, there is a great deal of industry buzz speculating on the effects of the social media giant’s presence in the online gaming market. Understandably, Facebook’s entry into the field would be a huge game changer. Exactly how this would change the landscape of internet betting is the topic of discussion of late.

To get an idea of what could possibly go down, it’s important to first examine the dynamic of social gamine, which is already taking place on Facebook – primarily via Zynga Texas Hold’em Poker and Double Down Interactive’s virtual casino and Blackjack hotspot – the latter of which is FB’s third most popular app (Zynga is first), and was just acquired as a strategic investment by slot machine manufacturer IGT to the tune of $500 million.

Both of these apps enable players to redeem chips for prizes. The app developers take a rake, and Facebook in turn, takes a rake of it’s own from the app developer.

There is no reason to believe that real money poker and casino games wouldn’t operate in the same exact manner. Granted, poker isn’t a game without other players, i.e., the social component. While games like bingo would also bid well in the social format of Facebook, the same doesn’t necessarily hold true for traditional casino style games. But then again, does it?

Something that we’ve seen do exceptionally well in the real gaming world are organized tournaments and progressive jackpot games. Needless to say, both of these playing forms rely on players. The more people betting on a progressive slot machine, the greater the jackpot. The more players participating in tournaments (namely, slots and blackjack), the larger the winnings – and guaranteed winnings at that. And as both Zynga and Double Down Interactive have demonstrated, Facebook is home to plenty of players.

Just as soon as federal or State lawmakers can get some regulations passed, expect to see a flood of Facebook gaming apps begin to blow up. While the biggest of the lot are likely to launch in prize-money mode beforehand, big brand online casinos and established brick ‘n mortar gaming companies who choose to enter the internet gaming market, i.e., Caesar’s Interactive and IGT, are likely to develop their own Facebook apps (or buy them out in the case of Double Down Interactive) and prove popular with the social media crowd. If that’s you, well then, you better start getting ready for it now. Anybody for a Basic Blackjack strategy refresher?