Posts Tagged ‘online bingo’

Playtech Posts Impressive 2010 Results; Online Casino Product Still Strong

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

What can I say, Playtech Software has been making some news this past week. Well, let’s face it, Playtech likes to make news all the time – and why wouldn’t they? Being one of the top, white label online casino software developers in business today, Playtech has no choice but to keep broadening it’s reach across the many, vast sectors of the online gambling industry if they are truly serious about staying on top of their game, not to mention procuring the profit margins necessary for continued expansion.

Well, that’s exactly what has made Playtech such a successful software developer…Err, I take that back. Playtech is not just a software developer for online casinos and poker rooms – they’re more like an online gaming solutions B2B supplier.

Case in point is Playtech’s first-half financial results for 2010, which compared to many of it’s top competitors, is quite impressive. Gross income was up a massive 31% from last year, tallying in at €87.9 Million, while total revenue was up by 29% with a price tag of €72.9 Million.

Much of Playtech’s growth has come from B2B partnerships with leading online betting companies, such as William Hill, as well as acquisitions of up-and-coming niche B2B gaming companies, such as Virtue Fusion. Regarding the William Hill partnership formed in late 2008, which gave Playtech rights to power online casino and poker software solutions for Will Hill Casino Online and Will Hill Poker, cash revenue generated from Will Hill doubled to €60.8 Million from 2009. The fruits of Virtue Fusion’s acquisition in February of this year are yet to be fully realized (generating over €4 Million in less than six months), however, future activity looks promising, with Playtech reporting there are several online bingo licensee prospects in the UK and abroad in development currently.

Elsewhere in the world, Playtech says it will be gaining a foothold and expanding in newly regulated internet betting markets, including Italy, Spain, Finland and perhaps, France. Due to a turn in regulatory policies in France, Playtech’s revenue generated from online casinos will be impacted, however, counterbalanced with new licensees and growth in Playtech’s French online poker network. In the U.S. (if and when regulation opens up here), expansion will manifest via partnerships with Scientific Games and Sportech (see previous article: Playtech Sets Sights on U.S. Market).

Playtech online casinos, which are the company’s principal product offering, has continued performing strongly, increasing revenue by over 30% (€49.1 Million) from 2009. The only area in which Playtech saw a revenue loss, which has been in line with the rest of the industry, was online poker. Down by 5%, poker revenue came in at €15.8 Million, which Playtech’s Chief, Mor Weizer, attributed to the World Cup. FYI, anyone familiar with Playtech’s iPoker network knows the World Cup isn’t entirely to blame. If there has ever been an area where Playtech has lagged behind, it has been online poker.

As for the remainder of 2010 and beyond, Playtech says a launch of Betfair’s Flash online casino is on schedule for September, while the launching of RAY in Finland is set for the fourth quarter and Casino Gran Madrid will go live in early 2011.

UK Online Bingo Room, Mecca Bingo, to Offer Branded “Blockbusters” Bingo Game Shortly

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

blockbustersDepending on how old you are (if you’re reading this, hopefully old enough to gamble online), you may or may not remember the game, “Blockbusters”. A bingo variant that stormed the gaming scene back in the 80’s, “Blockbusters” gained enormous popularity – namely in Britain – due to a quiz game show of the same name being aired for nearly twenty years straight.

Bringing “Blockbusters” back – well, to the world of online gambling, that is – is leading European facing online casino and gaming software developer, Playtech. Bridging the gap between Playtech and the British online bingo community is Virtue Fusion – the leading licensor of online bingo products in the UK. As part of a licensing agreement with MeccaBingo.com, Virtue Fusion and Playtech have successfully brought another branded game to the masses.

If you are thinking that Mecca Bingo sounds familiar, that’s because it probably is. Owned by the Rank Group, which is one of the leading betting companies in all of Europe (operating Grosvenor Casinos and Blue Square), Mecca Bingo has some serious backing, and hence, it’s ability to team up with Playtech for the Blockbuster bingo game.

Rank Interactive Head of Gaming, Angus Nisbet recognized the impact of such a deal, stating, “Branded online bingo games are among the most popular on MeccaBingo.com, and I am sure that Blockbusters will be another success. Playtech’s Virtue Fusion Alderney has created a fantastic product and I am positive it will strike a chord with fans of the show and be well-liked by new players too.”

The Blockbusters deal shortly follows a partnership between Rank and Virtue Fusion, in which Virtue Fusion created the “Britain’s Got Talent” bingo game, which can now be seen on the homepage of Mecca Bingo – Official Bingo Partner of Britain’s Got Talent.

Online Bingo Rooms Continue Catering to Growing USA Market

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Ahhh...the good 'ol days of old smoky bingo rooms

Take a deep whiff...second hand bingo hall smoke at its finest; Credit: Rocket000

United States citizens have long been a prodigious source of the revenue that accounts for the multi-billion dollar online gambling industry. While it is impossible to give exact figures for each of the many forms and branches contributing to the overall industry as a whole, it is common knowledge that online poker, sports betting and online casino games account for the bulk of revenue going to offshore online betting destinations.

Although not as popular as the online casinos and poker rooms, online bingo rooms certainly take in their fair share of U.S. internet traffic. Steadily increasing over the last five years, online bingo traffic doesn’t just come from bettors looking for more of a social online gaming experience, which it does indeed provide for. Bingo traffic also comes from the same demographic of gamblers who enjoy frequenting online casinos for their large progressive jackpots and free bonus offers.

The US friendly bingo rooms of today, such as those making up the World Bingo Network (WBN), are now actually rivaling online casinos in many regards. Offering large free cash welcome offers of their own, bingo rooms are attracting loyal bettors looking for a good chance to win some money (with some free money, of course), and who also value the casual entertainment factor that inevitably becomes more interesting with the social element.

Bingo rooms like USA Bingo, even offer casino-style side games, such as micro-slots, roulette, blackjack and video poker. It’s no coincidence these are some of the more popular games at online casinos. By offering these popular games to bettors who are typically inclined to play at online casinos, USA Bingo is, in effect, introducing the game of online bingo to more players, many of whom now consider bingo their “game of choice”.

Knowing just how loyal many of their American bettors are, WBN and USA Bingo are also committed to keeping their doors open in light of the pending online gambling legislation (the UIGEA) seeking to block certain forms of online wagering. WBN is ever-so-aware of this potential roadblock, and has even published an announcement on their website, stating that they will continue monitoring the situation while remaining open for business on the US front.

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Boylesports Joins Playtech’s Virtue Fusion Online Bingo Network

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

As online bingo grows more popular with the online casino gaming sector, more big name online casinos are implementing bingo games in addition to their normal fare of table games, slot and video poker machines, and in some cases, a stand alone poker room. Now – yet another testament to the growing rise in popularity of online bingo – sports books and traditional sports betting sites are integrating bingo rooms for their members to get their bingo on.

One such sports betting site is the Ireland based, Boylesports, which recently inked a deal with Playtech Software to provide online bingo solutions courtesy of the Virtue Fusion platform – quite possibly the largest and most active European facing bingo networks in operation today. As their name implies, Boylesports main focus is on sports betting. However, in recent years, they have since expanded to every form of online wagering imaginable, including poker, skill games, arcade style games, lotteries and online casino wagering.

The deal marks an ongoing relationship between Boylesports and Playtech that began when Boylesports joined Playtech’s thriving iPoker network, which at the time of publication had nearly 19,000 players online. Obviously, Boylesports has been very pleased with Playtech’s services to date, and the decision to offer an online bingo package via Virtue Fusion is certain to bear fruit as well.

Virtue Fusion was actually acquired by Playtech last month, and is considered one of the world’s leading developers and licensors of the online bingo products. Generating over 100 Million Euros in stakes per month and with peak traffic of 7,000 players, it’s no surprise Virtue Fusion’s clients include big names like Mecca, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Virgin, Paddy Power, Bet365, Sky and Crown Bingo in addition to Boylesports.

Online Bingo Picks Up During Winter Months – Carves a Niche in Gaming Sector

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I recently read a report that the long and snowy winter in the UK is being credited with increasing online bingo activity. If you ask me, there’s no disputing the claims, and for that matter, the long and blistery winter taking place up here in the Northeastern United States is doing the same! Lest I mislead any of you to think your’s truly is an avid online bingo player, let me just say that I still dig me some bingo, nonetheless. Unless you had a childhood like Frank Scoblete – playing Craps in the alley behind the school at the age of “lucky” seven – there’s probably no other game than bingo that you got to play as a child, which you can now wager money on. Okay, maybe Casino War, but that’s pretty much it!

And you thought it was the sex laden chat room at Desperate Housewives Bingo Room that got the better, err worst of me! Go ahead, I know you want to check it out now: Desperate Housewives Bingo.

Anyhow, it’s definitely true that online bingo has seen a rise in revenue this Winter. And heck, it’s still not over. It’s common knowledge within the online gambling industry that the winter months are busier for the online gambling industry as a whole – bingo, online casino, poker, you name it. If you stop to take a look at your own play history, you might very well come to the same realization! 🙂 But I also believe that in the case of online bingo, it’s not just Frosty the Snowman casting his charm on the online gambling community these days.

Ask any seasoned online gaming marketer about online bingo, and they will tell you it has always just been a matter of time before online bingo took off. Granted, it hasn’t taken off like online poker did at the turn of the Century (man that makes me feel old), but bingo has performed impressively over the last couple of years. Ideal for cross promoting with online casino gambling (many online casinos now host their own dedicated bingo rooms), online bingo has carved itself a nice natural niche within the whole online gambling experience.

International & European Online Gambling Regulatory Update

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

I recently wrote an op-ed article about the history of online gambling, which inevitably became all about the regulatory landscape. Please correct me if you think I’m wrong in saying this (comment away at the bottom of the post), but it’s pretty evident to me that getting online gambling regulations passed is harder than pulling teeth. And even if it does get passed, it’s a never ending battle to keep it that way! Case in point is the recent developments in Italy.

Now, you may have heard that the Italian Gaming Authority decided to liberalize online bingo in December of last year. Needless to say, 2010 has been pretty productive for the online bingo industry with thousands of Italian citizens taking part in the popular Italian bingo game, “Tombola”. However, it now looks as if online bingo will be put on hold as the Italian government works out it’s system of checks and balances and takes a closer look at the provisions regulating online bingo.

Me personally, I don’t understand how any kind regulation could go into effect without first approving the provisions of said regulation. In other words, before anything like that gets approved, shouldn’t it be looked over first? But then again, there was the UIGEA (attached to a Port Security bill), which by all means, should have already been overturned by now.

On that note, perhaps the recent court ruling in Italy that online bingo regulatory decrees are not in line with Italian law, shows how much more Italian authorities are on the ball? 🙂 It’s not like they are saying no to online bingo. The decision seems more like a mandate that regulations need to get in line with the law – specifically applying to what is being called “interconnected offline bingo” – a procedure that allows bingo rooms to connect their players.

The other alternative would be for an Appeals Court to overturn the lower administrative court’s ruling. At the moment, it’s not known whether this option will be used, or if the Gaming Authority will simply choose to revise regulatory guidelines.

Elsewhere in the world of online gambling regulation, the Finnish gambling monopoly has extended its reach and imbedded itself in the online gambling sector even deeper by granting the Finnish Slot Machine Association, aka RAY, permission to offer online casino games, and the Finnish State lottery, Veikkhaus Oy, to offer online bingo. The move is interpreted as a response to growing competition from private online betting operators, whom Finnish courts have kept out of Finland, citing no inconsistencies with EU law.