Microgaming Software Systems, Ltd.is one company that is on the leading edge of reliable and functional innovations for the online gambling industry. The company since 1994 has been one of the largest suppliers of online casino systems. In the world of online gambling the most important aspect of any company is its honesty and reliability with Microgaming remaining at the top of the list offered by operators and customers. Reports developed independently by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, gives the consumer a running account of the payouts given by the company. This openness and transparency gives Microgaming an advantage that makes the player comfortable in his seat. The knowledge that this firm doesn't keep any cards up it's sleeve creates a trusting and more pleasurable experience. Besides generous payouts, players are keen to follow the development of new games and improved features.

Microgaming's commitment to constantly improve and expand the depth of its programming has kept the games alive and the competition scratching their heads looking for new ideas. The company offers more games than any other provider, with as many as 400 different game titles available in a typical Microgaming powered casino. Microgaming has been introducing around four unique and innovative new games each month. Viper, an interface that allows players to set the skill level of the games they play so that they are always competitive is one item players enjoy using giving Microgaming games a larger scope and extending the games length of play. Microgaming has been very busy developing its software platforms that already allow gaming to be accessed on cell phones and other mobile devices through many of its Euro Casinos. As the world continues to become increasingly more mobile this option will be a significant element of the online gaming industry’s future growth, It is sure Microgaming will remain a leader in innovation and creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

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The recent snow fall in the U.K. is keeping people indoors and playing bingo online. That is great news for an otherwise slow bingo industry.

Rank Group the bingo and gaming mega firm has announced increased overall sales as a result of its new brand of casinos. The positive results are a direct contrast to the results reported in Spain and in the land based bingo halls. The company, one of the biggest operators of bingo clubs in the UK, under the brand of Mecca Bingo, and the Grosvenor Casinos said that revenues grew by 3 percent in the year 2009, with the last three month earnings showing a modest six percent increase.

Greg Johnson an analyst for Shore Capital said, "The consumer side is not bad as far as previous years are concerned when the bingo industry was hit by the smoking ban and wasn't a growth industry. If you look historically at bingo they have seen sharp declines in spend." Adding, "Rank has seen improvements in recent weeks and its online division has gone up."

A declined of 9 per cent was reported by Rank's Spanish arm, Top Rank Espana, which has 11 bingo clubs. Johnson commented, "Bingo in Spain draws ABs, rather than the Cs here. Bingo players in Spain are more likely to have a decent glass of wine rather than players, say, in Glasgow. Adding, "The Spanish economy has been hit far harder than us. While like-for-like sales are down 4 per cent over that last three months it looks worse than it is because of the movement in the euro currency."

The company has reported a 29 percent increase in the number of people playing bingo since the start the start of the bad weather.

Wink Bingo has seen an increase in players, including many first time players. There has been more than a 50 percent increase in the number of players online participating in low cost and regular bingo games.

“With the bad weather, people seem to be looking for more ways of keeping themselves entertained indoors,” said, Marketing Director for Wink Bingo Maurice Karpes.

 

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In 2008 Bwin recorded gross gaming revenues of over 420 million Euros. That's a massive amount of money and it's going into making more profit for the progressive online gambling operation. Arguably one of the largest firms offering products for the wagering public Bwin uses all the means available to bring it's name to the top of the heap. Just a quick look at the brand names on the shirts of Premier League and European football teams and you get a good idea of which commercial sectors are feeling positive enough to support the high costs of football sponsorship. In the Premiership this year teams such as Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton display online gaming sponsors to name just a few. Bwin, which already sponsors AC Milan and Real Madrid and was thought to be interested in sponsoring Newcastle United in the U.K.

Thomas Kiessling the CTO of Bwin commented on the company's profile and it's future direction. "Our strategy is to be a house of games like poker, sports betting and casino games." "At peak times we have 8000 poker tables open concurrently." The Bwin team of 700 people in IT, says a lot about how technical development is keeping the company at the top of it's game.

"We are a technology company in that we develop our products ourselves. The technology is our differentiator." Kiessling said. His team develops the games, the betting platforms and the transaction engines which supports 65 different payment methods. A tall order for any technical platform where considerable investment is also made into the game experience, but a huge factor for technology investment is the regulated environment in which all online gambling operators must conduct business. Bwin uses a distributed architecture to simplify matters with more effective results. "Italy opened up to online poker last year, so our Italian poker offering has to be only accessible to Italians. The architectural complexity of that is huge. Each region of Germany has different requirements for gaming." Passionately interested in the newest forms of service oriented software Bwin's CTO Thomas Kiessling is making playing online with Bwin an enjoyable and safe experience.

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Playtech software is world renowned for it's reliability and innovation. Playtech was founded in 1999 by a group of entrepreneurs that came from the casino, software engineering, and multi media industries. This group kept a close eye on the Internet gambling industry since the mid ‘90s and when they decided it was time to enter the market it was with a new point of view. By 2001, Playtech began with the launch of Club Dice casino. Club Dice casino featured version 1.1 of Playtech’s client software, which included fresh features like player comp points, a VIP club, transaction histories, multi-platform compatibility and a multiplayer mode. Since then Playtech has made strategic business deals with many top notch online casinos and has continued to grow with confidence. Now in 2010 the company has made even more inroads into what a decade ago seemed a distant dream. 

Playtech will be the first online gaming software provider to operate in Estonia. A recent report in the Estonian Free Press says that in 2010 Estonia will legalize online gambling and Estonians will be able to wager only on national gaming platforms. The first is to be set up by the Olympic Casino group, having chosen Playtech as its software provider. Mor Weizer, Playtech Chief Executive Officer said in a press interview, "We are truly glad of this opportunity to start our partnership with Olympic as the leading casino entertainment provider in Central and Eastern Europe." adding that Playtech's core strategy had succeeded in Estonia as well. This strategy involves providing premium technological solutions to companies operating in well regulated markets. It is suggested by the paper that the Baltic country and the region in general will receive massive infrastructure funding to help develop the online gambling industry. The region does need some capital to make it attractive to the internet community and as the new liberalization of rules regarding online gambling are implemented those funds will definitely appear.

 

 

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Estonia has implemented its new and improved Gambling Act, that has in real terms reversed it's online gambling status. Previously Estonia required online casinos to be located outside the country now the government wants all servers offering gambling to be located within it's borders. This move is an attempt to create revenue from online gambling with internet gambling websites servicing Estonians required to pay a licensing fee, plus a 5 percent tax on gross revenues. According to a recent report in the Baltic Times, “The possibility that online poker gaming could be restricted is not good news for us,” If things get tough, one may have to consider moving residence or start working abroad like Estonian builders in Finland.” said professional poker player Imre Leibold.

Estonia, which is member of the European Union, has decided to disregard treaty rules that demand all members allow for free trade within the E.U. which is necessary for a desired single market. Germany and France are among other countries that disagree with the E.C. rules regarding protectionist gaming policies. According to the Estonia Free Press, the conditions requiring online casinos to locate in Estonia should be lifted sometime next year, which will allow for normal competition by other E.U. member states and there resident online gambling operations. It is suggested that if Estonia does not open it's market to competition the industry there will collapse and operators will vacate the country. Market demands drive growth and if Estonia is going to be successful in the online gambling market it will have to be strong and wiling to offer a wider range of gambling products to the world. The need for revenues can not override it's need to comply with E.C. although it looks as if that is the intent of the new gambling legislation coming into effect. Each country that does not comply with the E.C. regulations is a possible thorn in the side of other E.U. countries. The question is asked, why have an E.U. if everyone plays by different rules?

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Brazil is a very young and progressive place with a desire to be on the leading edge of everything. Gambling in Brazil has mass potential but has been illegal and effectively outlawed since the sixties.

All casino type games are illegal throughout the country without exception. Most forms of gambling were banned due to their connection with organized crime which was rampant during that era. But Brazil has changed and is much more controlled and legally compliant than in those bygone days. Much like in Las Vegas the idea of gambling has become more mainstream and accepted as a form of entertainment. However the ban on gambling in Brazil does not specifically name poker. Because Brazil doesn't have casinos, commercial poker was unavailable for many years.

Recently though, poker “associations” have started up by working carefully around the country’s gambling laws. Poker in Brazil comes in the form of massive tournaments, like the Brazilian Series of Poker, now running for several years. These tournaments give skilled players a chance to enjoy the game and make serious money while doing so. The Latin American Poker Tour kicked off for the first time in Rio de Janeiro in 2008 drawing a big group of talented local players. In September of 2009, Brazil went on to win the Americas Cup of Poker in Argentina. Brazil is emerging as a poker capital with more professional players coming to competitions and winning prizes.

There are no gambling websites originating in Brazil, as the government does not have regulations to offer online gambling services in the country. Brazilian players can still gamble on the internet for the time being. Proposals have been made to limit the use of online gambling web sites similar to the US ban by restricting banks from processing money associated with the activity. Many sites accept Brazilian players, and a few even offer Portuguese language versions making for play in Brazil easy and convenient.

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Mixed reactions have been reported in the U.K. over the move to introduce decimal odds notation in betting shops. Online bookmakers, such as Betfair, have dealt mostly in decimal odds or offered customers the choice between fractional and decimal information, the move marks a distinct break with the traditional notation of fixed-odds betting.

Horse racing is going through big changes and this is one that seems to be making the punter a little nervous. Spokesperson for Ladbrokes, David Williams, said, "Anything that will help slow down or reverse the trend that has seen people moving away from racing has to be welcomed," adding, "The only people who will object to it are people who don't want to be part of the future."

William Hill spokesperson, David Hood, had another opinion, "The items revealed by Racing for Change do not offer the solutions we had hoped for," "We had a trial of a decimal-odds football betting coupon two years ago and it proved to be extremely unpopular. There is no research to indicate that our customers want it."

Independent bookmakers that are at the track were disappointed that they had not been asked about the proposals before they were revealed and were concerned that a switch to decimal odds would minimize their margins even further, with punters less willing to accept smaller odds on each-way bets than they would get in a betting shop. Independent bookmaker, Geoff Banks, said, "We were not consulted, and I don't believe the committee has any experience of on-course bookmaking. The margins are going to be squeezed very tight. I am far from convinced this will work; in fact, it will be destructive."

Other changes to be introduced are little things like including the first names of jockeys and trainers on race cards. These changes seem insignificant to the average punter, a reduction in the price of admission at the track would do much more to boost attendance for racing venues most officials agreed. Racing for Change, is a project being led by Racing Enterprises Ltd, the sport's commercial arm.

 

 

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According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Manila local online gambling firm PhilWeb Corp. expects to post a huge profit from all it's endeavours. The company is directed by the former Trade Minister, Roberto Ongpin, who looks at this as a positive sign of real domestic recovery from the recent slowdown in the economy. The majority of its profit in 2009 came from the firm’s core gaming operations, which grew by an astounding 126 percent. Ongpin said its net income last year amounted to an 89-percent increase from year-ago. PhilWeb is the biggest operator in the local Internet gaming sector. As a technology enabler of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), PhilWeb operates Pagcor’s e-Games café network and Internet Sports Betting Stations (ISBS).

ISM Corp.was a good investment for PhilWeb as it has been paying equity dividends since it's purchase. The PhilWeb president Dennis Valdes said, “Our unrealized gain of P2.4 billion from our investment in ISM is a real albeit hidden jewel in our balance sheet,” he added, “PhilWeb’s and ISM’s recent acquisition of Acentic GmbH, which provides in-room guest entertainment services to the hospitality industry, will provide us a platform for international expansion. PhilWeb’s role in this expansion will be to look at introducing gaming into the Acentic network of over 200,000 rooms, and partner with ISM in growing Acentic’s reach into Asia.”

Income growth was made possible by PhilWeb's well rounded gaming operations. With it's 171 Pagcor e-Games cafés 50 of which were opened last year with other offerings like Basketball Jackpot, Premyo Sa Resibo and the newly launched Bid Wars mobile game all contributed to the outstanding gains.

The firm had an overall 82 percent rise in revenues in 2009. “We had an excellent 2009 but are even more excited about our prospects in 2010,” said Mr. Valdes.

 

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Beneficial Holdings, Inc. an international casino investment and management holding company. Beneficial Holdings Inc. is a state of Nevada USA registered corporation in operation since 1990. It recently created a subsidiary called Grupo Beneficial Nicaragua and announced back in July of last year it would be in the market for a gaming establishment. Carolina Navarro, the President of Beneficial Holdings, said then, "This is just the very beginning of our business plan. We are presently studying and pursuing additional negotiations in Central America with the ultimate goal of joining the ranks of casino companies such as Thunderbird Resorts, Princess Casinos International, and Star City Casinos which successfully operate in Managua,"

Now the company has ventured into the virtual casino market with it's acquisition of the website bet.cr for its new online casino. The web domain .cr means that it is a Costa Rican based and properly licensed business. The casino will be operational in less than a month and will work with software that users download. A firm contract is in the works for the development of the custom software. In addition to a sports book the casino which will target Non USA gamblers will be offered in several languages, including, Spanish, German, Italian and of course English. Different currencies will be an available option also. Shareholders and customers will receive the CD with the casino download in February so that the games can be played and tested at no charge to the user.

Gaming locations in Central America will be given the Compact Disk with the casino download. Once the system is working, Grupo Beneficial will negotiate with other casino operators to provide the disk to their guests for a commission on revenue from players. Beneficial Holdings Inc. funds its acquisitions with private investment capital with the prime intent of increasing shareholder value while building a substantial gaming operation.

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Josh Apiafi heads up an independent consultancy called Apiafi Associates that concentrates mainly on the gaming and horseracing industry. It also consults to other businesses on commercial, marketing and branding, issues. Mr. Apiafi was CEO of the Professional Jockeys Association and Director of Horseracing plus, Head of Marketing for Betfair for five years.

Apiafi Associates client base includes REL (Racing Enterprises Ltd), The Professional Jockeys Association, The PPF (Professional Players Association), Joules Clothing, Integrity In Sport Ltd, Rewards4Golf, Weathercock Racing Ltd and Sportsmasters International.

His company was recently commissioned by a business person wanting to invest in the online gambling industry to test the brand loyalty and strength of ten of the largest most popular industry leaders. Among them were, 888, bet365, Betfair, Bodog, bwin, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Party Poker, Pokerstars and William Hill.

Throughout the month of December 2009 the number of Google Alerts* generated daily by each of the firms was noted and compiled as part of the results of the research for the group. The information provided showed the highly competitive nature of the business and how successful online gambling companies spend large and use all forms of media to get their market share. Mr. Apiafi commented on the project, "With much talk of digital and social media as well as the investment gambling companies put into PR generally we were keen to see how well the industry was getting its message out there with impressive results." He qualified his research results with this statement, "The method's simplicity is its trump card. Equally, the results were very consistent on a daily basis - this wasn't a case of one brand having a lot to shout about during this particular period or having one or two very strong days that skewed the data." Bodog was top dog with the most activity on Google Alerts in December. Although big online brands are continually active, this test begs the question of whether more activity online equals a stronger brand presence.

 

 

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