Author: Editorial Board

20 Apr 2012

Snai announces the temporary halt of its vlt Barcrest platform

snai_standSnai operates in the video-lotteries segment through two platforms, one of which is supplied by Barcrest Plc. On the afternoon of 16 April 2012, an unusual peak in payment requests occurred on the Barcrest system based upon only apparently winning tickets. Upon the occurrence of this anomalous episode, the Company immediately blocked the Barcrest System, in order to perform the necessary verifications and inspections, including the examination of the database containing the registrations of all gaming transactions concluded on the platform and on its approximately 1,450 terminals, including the related system logs.

In compliance with the Aams regulation and the obligations imposed by law upon operators authorized to receive lawful gaming revenues through VLTs, this database, which is unalterable and protected, has been made available to the competent authorities for further verifications in order to protect the interests of the players and all of the parties involved.

Based upon the evidence currently in Snai’s possession, it appears that:

  • no jackpot was won any time on Monday, April 16 2012;
  • the causes of the events which led to the printing of tickets which anomalously indicated mounts which appeared to refer to jackpots were limited and will be discussed with the regulatory authorities, which have been promptly informed.  The Barcrest System which, as already mentioned, has been temporarily closed, will remain closed also for purposes of protecting the integrity of the electronic database.

SNAI, the official concession-holder for the Italian market, is committed to ensuring the highest quality standards in its gaming products and services. Therefore, all bets that qualify as “winning” in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations currently in force, will be honored.

Snai will continue to conduct verification activities and will announce, promptly once such information becomes available, all relevant information concerning the platform supplied by the supplier   Barcrest.

The revenues generated by the Barcrest platform currently represent approximately one-third of SNAI’s revenues in the video-lotteries segment.

20 Apr 2012

Davide Merli from Italy wins the 6th Eca European Dealer Championship

merliOn 17 and 18 April representatives of the European casino industry met in Helsinki, Finland to watch the best dealers from across Europe demonstrate their skills at the Blackjack and American Roulette tables in the finals of the 6th edition of the European Casino Association’s (ECA) prestigious European Dealer Championship.

This 6th European Dealer Championship – which was hosted by Casino Helsinki in Finland – was a captivating event and a huge success. Everyone attending the event praised the outstanding organisation, hospitability and professionalism of the Casino Helsinki team that made this event as impressive and fun as it was.

The ECA is proud to announce and extend its warmest congratulations to the winners of the European Dealer Championship 2012: Davide Merli from Italy (Casino Campione d’Italia) triumphed in first place, taking home the top prize of a trip to Las Vegas. Runner-up was Matti Kankainen from Finland (Casino Helsinki), who beat Robert Lipski from Belgium (Grand Casino Brussels @ Viage) into third place. In a competitive yet friendly atmosphere, the winners demonstrated their excellent technical skills, knowledge and control of the games.

The competitors were judged not only on their technical ability, but also on their hospitability skills and attentiveness to the players, two aspects which are equally important in this championship. Accordingly, dealers not only had to be fully concentrated throughout the game, they also had to maintain a fun, hospitable and entertaining atmosphere at the table.

A series of specialised side contests also formed an important part of the competition. The runner-up in the general tournament, Matti Kankainen from Casino Helsinki in Finland, also won the best “card handler” contest. Aleksandr Kokovinets from Olympic Casino in Estonia won a total of three contests: “roulette mathematics”, “roulette chipping” and “cutting chips”, and Viorel Chira from Casino Munkebjerg in Denmark won the “pushing stacks” contest.

“Our aim with this event is to celebrate the craftsmanship and hospitability needed for this profession,” explained ECA Chairman, Ron Goudsmit. “We would like to congratulate all the finalists. The skills and expertise they showed superbly reflect the professionalism and quality of the dealers in European casinos. We would also like to thank and praise everyone at Casino Helsinki for their hospitality and perfect organisation of this event. Marko Hurme, the Director of Casino Helsinki has every reason to be proud of his team.”

Mr. Hurme added that “Casino Helsinki was highly honoured to host this key event and delighted to have this opportunity to welcome representatives of casinos across Europe to Helsinki and their casino”.

Ron Goudsmit also thanked the 2012 European Dealer Championship sponsors – Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, CTC Holdings, ICS Europe, Shuffle Master and GPI – for their support of this event.

Launched in 2007, the ECA’s annual European Dealer Championship is now a key event in the European gaming calendar. Participating dealers are judged in a range of categories, including hospitality and communication skills, technical expertise, discretion and control of the game.

The ECA and its members understand and recognize that high quality training is crucial to learning the skills needed to become a good and qualified dealer. The ECA actively promotes such training and supports its members in their ongoing efforts to improve professionalism in Europe’s casinos. The European Dealer Championship underlines this policy and also provides members with an ideal opportunity to get together, exchange information and expand their networks.

19 Apr 2012

Casino surge sees Macau close in on Japan

macao-citta-dei-sogni10Macau, the special administrative region of China in the South China Sea measuring just 30 square kilometres, became the world’s 3rd largest gambling jurisdiction in 2010, according to research for GBGC’s new, seventh edition of its market leading Global Gambling Report.

Macau leapt into 3rd place with total gambling revenues of US$ 23.83 billion in 2010, ahead of Italy and the UK. Only the US and Japan now lie in front of Macau in the rankings. Macau’s casino gaming revenues rose by 42% to US$ 33.40 billion in 2011 and it is closing in fast on Japan in second place. Macau’s gaming sector is showing no signs of slowing in 2012 and revenues are up 27% in the first quarter of the year.

These top 5 markets accounted for 53% of all global gambling revenues.

“After a slowdown in 2009, the performance of Macau’s casinos has been remarkable in 2010 and 2011. Macau entered the top 5 in 2010 and if its growth continues at a similar pace for the next few years it is not inconceivable it could take second place from Japan. Of course, if Japan finally permits integrated casino resorts this will help boost its gambling revenues and keep it ahead of Macau,” explained GBGC’s Director Lorien Pilling.

April 2012 saw Sands China open the latest stage of its development on Macau’s Cotai Strip. Costing some US$ 5 billion on completion, Sands Cotai Central is adding 5,800 new hotel rooms to Macau and more than one million square feet of retail, entertainment and dining space.

The completion of Sands Cotai Central follows on from nearby Galaxy Macau’s opening last year, as the Cotai Strip, which not too many years ago was under water and swamp, becomes the battleground between casino operators for market share in Macau.

18 Apr 2012

Online gambling: eu operators publish Manifesto

commissione-europeaThe European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) today published a Manifesto for a sustainable EU policy for online gambling as a contribution to the European Commission Communication and action plan that is to be published this summer. In parallel, the Commission will shortly have its next meeting with national gambling regulators in order to explore areas for EU-level cooperation.

Secretary General of EGBA Sigrid Ligné said: “Our Manifesto is designed to be a timely input to the Commission as it prepares its EU action plan for online gambling.  We are calling for the introduction of European rules to ensure proper protection for consumers while affording fair and transparent licensing conditions for EU operators.”

The Manifesto declares that an effective EU framework to regulate and ensure responsible online gambling should be based on 5 priority actions:

The European Commission fulfilling its role as Guardian of the Treaty

Structured regulatory cooperation among national authorities

An EU legal framework for online gambling

Problem gambling prevention measures based on evidence

EU action to fight sport fraud

As evidence that pan-European online gambling rules for consumer protection can and do work, EGBA today also proudly announces that all of its members have been audited independently and found to be compliant with the Responsible Remote Gambling Measures that had been agreed in the context of the European Committee on Standardisation (CEN) in February 2011 and incorporated into the EGBA standards.

Background – The European Parliament adopted its Report on Online Gambling in the Internal Market in November 2011, calling for EU solutions for the sector and for the Commission to ensure that Member States comply with EU law. Commissioner Barnier announced a Communication and proposals for action and confirmed that the Commission would take its responsibilities in ensuring the compliance of national regimes with the EU Treaties.

On 27 February 2012, the Commission hosted a first meeting of national gambling regulators and officials in order to test their appetite to work together and to develop common EU rules. The outcome of these meetings is also expected to feed into the Communication.

The lack of structured communication and cooperation between EU Member States’ administrations has resulted in a patchwork of different national rules and regulations. This has not only resulted in a number of lengthy legal challenges, costly duplications of administrative requirements and a wide variety in the protection offered to European consumers, but many national regulations also fail to provide an attractive offer, leaving consumers to continue to play with unregulated websites on the black market.

18 Apr 2012

Cjeu: Ag Mazak rejects discriminatory austrian advertising restrictions on gambling

maarten_egbaEGBA welcomes today’s opinion of Advocate General (AG) Mazak stating that the Austrian restrictions are discriminatory and a potential hidden total ban for cross border advertising. According to AG Mazak, in the Hit and Hit Larix case (C-176/11) at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU):

 

  • “[T]he Austrian legislation making the grant of a permit to advertise [foreign] casinos […] subject to the condition that the legal protection […] corresponds to the protection under Austrian law constitutes an obstacle to the freedom to provide services” (para 12).

  • “[…] I wish to repeat my doubts as to the possibility of actually comparing the level of protection of gamblers in different legal systems, given the lack of harmonisation in the area of gambling and games of chance, as well as the diversity of national legislation in this area” (paras 10, 24).

  • “[A] system of prior authorisation in question could represent a ‘hidden’ total prohibition of the advertising of foreign casinos” (para 24).

  • “[T]he system of prior authorisation in question leads, ultimately, to a discrimination based on the origin of the applicant” (para 25).

  • AG Mazak criticizes that “the grant of a permit depends solely on the content of the legislation of the Member State, without taking account of the actual level of protection provided by the casino operator” as operators “have no influence over” the level of player protection within the national legislation (para 26).

EGBA Director for Regulatory Affairs Maarten Haijer comments: “We welcome AG Mazak’s opinion also for pointing out that the actual level of protection provided by the operator should be considered. All EGBA members comply with the agreement on Responsible Remote Gambling Measures that was agreed in the context of the European Standardisation Committee.”

Haijer further adds: “The AG confirms that assessing whether consumer laws in different Member States are equal is highly doubtful in practice due to the lack of harmonisation at EU level. It also begs the question why European consumers are still subject to different protection levels. It is time to agree on a common set of European consumer protection rules for gambling.”(1)

The Austrian Gambling Act had previously banned all advertising for non-Austrian based gambling operators. After its amendment in 2009, in reaction to an infringement procedure of the European Commission, it only allows cross-border gambling advertising, if the level of consumer protection in the foreign Member State is at least equal to the Austrian protection. AG Mazak is of the opinion that this provision is against EU law.

AG Mazak’s opinion is not binding but will be considered by the Court in its final ruling. The ruling is expected before summer 2012.

17 Apr 2012

Spielo International introduces new products and a new face at G2E Asia

maria_garciaSpielo International will be showing its latest product line-up and enhanced sales presence at its longtime distributor RGB’s booth #527 at G2E Asia 2012. The show takes place at the Venetian Macau from May 22 to 24. At the show, customers are invited to meet Spielo International’s new Macau-based Sales Director, Maria Garcia, who joined the company in April, as well as its newly-appointed General Manager of Casino Systems for Asia Pacific, Lai Fatt Chiang.

The team will be demonstrating dozens of compelling new games for the Asian market, including three Egyptian GoldTM titles, CleoraTM, NefturiTM, and RamosisTM. Egyptian Gold is SPIELO International’s first progressive link using Episodic Gaming. As players progress through the game during one session, they can save and re-activate their achieved status during the next play session. The player unlocks more features and additional bet options for more action become available. When he or she reaches the highest status, an additional award is randomly revealed by Tutenchamun. Egyptian Gold offers an exciting 5-Level Progressive Playoff, where the player is able to win multiple progressives.

 

KITTY CASHTM is the latest addition to SPIELO International’s ATRONIC multi-level progressive links, and features the cuddly cats from the internationally recognized brand, the Artlist Collection’s “THE CAT,” on the stylish OXYGENTM cabinet. On top of the three supporting game titles – KC RoyalsTM, KC PlaygroundsTM and KC MusicTM — this exciting multi-level progressive features two bonus rounds: the Mystery Cat Bonus and the Kitty CASH Bonus.

Visitors to the show can also explore two new diversityTM game suites, Absolute AzureTM and Gambling GreenTM. Each diversity game suite features a variety of up to 10 games grouped into categories that can be selected by players via touch screen, with Roulette now available as a selection. Presented on the OXYGEN cabinet, diversity allows players to select their preferred game types with different volatility levels, and is the only multigame on the market featuring proven, top-performing standalone progressive games, all in multi-line and multi-denomination format.

In addition, Spielo International’s new core games include MOVING MOMENTSTM, GOLDIFY 2TM, GOLDEN CITYTM, 1421 Voyages of Zheng HeTM, Mayan MagicTM, Dolphins MoonTM, Magic PharaohTM, SPHINX WildTM, and Master RouletteTM.

The complete range of GALAXISTM casino systems solutions will be presented at G2E Asia with a special focus on Star TABLESTM, Star JACKPOTSTM and Star BONUSTM modules for the Asian gaming market.

Star JACKPOTSTM manages mystery and progressive local and wide area jackpots and our deep experience in this field has translated into top-performing, turnkey Wide Area Progressive (WAP) systems installed at casinos in 16 countries throughout the world.

TimeBomb FEVER, a new addition to the wide range of Star BONUSTM products, will be demonstrated live at the show with guaranteed bonuses designed to attract players and boost gaming during specified time periods.

The GALAXIS modules are connected across the gaming floor with CRYSTAL.netTM next generation floor network. It includes a touchscreen player interface on the slot machines for player communications and advertising and provides a unique platform for many of our Player Services.

16 Apr 2012

Double sunshine from Merkur sun at Fer in Madrid

merkurMerkur Gaming products were presented at two stands at the FER in Madrid. New, differing opportunities are appearing. Present and potentially future market requirements are placing new demands on manufacturers and distributors alike. Each segment has its own focus and own technical and development stipulations. The result to ensure that each market segment receives the full attention it deserves has been to appoint a new distributor – Dosniha from Mallorca – alongside the traditional Spanish distributor Sente from Madrid.

The partnership with Sente spans back many years and the knowhow and support given by Sente has been key to the great success of Merkur Gaming over years. Thus, Sente will continue to support Merkur Gaming in Spain in the Spanish AWP market as it is today. The new ‘Cards West’ AWP series was on proud display. This new series is the successor to the popular reel-based AWP ‘Nefertiti’ in the proven LED cabinet. The unique card features have already been welcomed by the market. Merkur Gaming provides this AWP in a multitude of varieties – to provide the right solution to each AWP segment. These include ‘Cards West’ as reel-based AWP, ‘Cards West Mixed’ as hybrid AWP (reel and video) and ‘Cards West deluxe’ as video-based AWP in the Casino cabinet. Furthermore, Spanish operators and players alike will be pleased to read that ‘Cards West’ is also available as a feature game in the ‘Mixed Games III’ AWP. The transformation to multi-player, video-based gaming machines has occurred in many countries around Europe in the street / AWP market. A prime example is in the home country of Merkur Gaming in which almost a complete move away from reel-based single games to video-based multi games has taken place. The Gauselmann Group has thus amassed even more expertise in the field of multi-games. This innovation, knowledge and expertise have naturally flowed into the Merkur Gaming solutions that are now available to the Spanish market via Dosniha. The multi-game ‘Merkur Magic’ which includes ten separate games is the ideal solution for arcades and has been welcomed with open arms in Spain. It is available in the WB4 casino cabinet as well as the ergonomic Vision Slant Top cabinet that stands out with its beautiful chrome frame.

VLT / SBG technology is making giant strides in global gaming. Merkur Gaming has proven itself time again as an excellent partner in this market segment. We only need to look at the success of Merkur Gaming in Europe’s most important VLT market Italy to receive such confirmation. Thus, Dosniha presented the potential VLT / SBG solution for the Spanish market called the ‘Merkur Magic exclusiva’.

To round off the exciting new solutions that Merkur Gaming offers the Spanish market, Dosniha proudly displayed the ‘Highflyer’ gaming machine that is truly unique in its design and displays the sheer knowledge that Merkur Gaming can tap into at the Gauselmann Group. Here the second 26” screen looks as if it is floating in the air. The player first feels he or she is playing on a slant top and has an excellent view all around – thus particularly to the front – of the ‘Highflyer’. Then looking up, the floating screen seems to appear from nowhere thus making the ‘Highflyer’ such an innovative dual-screen gaming machine. The ‘Highflyer’ has already made a name for itself in Germany and beyond and was a real eye-catcher at the ICE in London. The reclining chair makes sure that the player can relax and enjoy the games of Merkur Gaming over longer periods of time.

Further Gauselmann Group companies, namely the most popular change machine manufacturer in Germany GeWeTe and edict for online gaming were present on the Dosniha stand.

Mr. Thomas Niehenke, COO of the Gauselmann Group, sums up how focused the group is on the Spanish market, “With fifty five years of experience and over 6,000 employees in the group, we have a long tradition and success to look back on. As both manufacturer and operator, we understand the winning formula for gaming success. Our strategy is clear for Spain. Our long-standing partnership with Sente has resulted in great games for the traditional Spanish AWP market. We have experienced radical change in several countries and are well prepared for any such potential change in Spain together with Sente and Dosniha. Merkur Gaming provides the right gaming mix and so more gaming fun for the player and higher returns to the operators”.

About MERKUR GAMING GmbH

Merkur Gaming is a subsidiary of the globally operated German Gauselmann Group with the headquarters in Espelkamp/Luebbecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The total business volume of the varying company segments amounted to Euro 1.5 billion in 2010. The Gauselmann Group counts right now more than 6000 staff.
Within the Gauselmann Group Merkur Gaming is responsible for development and sales of AWPs, casino slot machines as well as VLTs for the international markets with the focus on multi-games. All Merkur Gaming products are exclusively manufactured by adp Gauselmann GmbH in Luebbecke, Germany. The ISO 9001:2008 certifications of adp Gauselmann GmbH for development, production and sales as well as the development area of Merkur Gaming guarantee the best quality -“made in Germany”.

Explore all these innovations made by Merkur at www.merkur-gaming.com

16 Apr 2012

Online Bingo shifts to mobile and social platforms – is there a new light shining for this heavily consolidated space?

bingo_summitMajor change is afoot for the Online Bingo industry. Following years of high profits, consolidation and player saturation it seems a whole new light is now beaming for the future of Online Bingo. Sreeram Reddy Vanga, Managing Director of successful online, mobile and social gaming platform Cozy Games offers us his thoughts on the most exciting developments in the online bingo industry over the last 12 months. “Bingo has always been an interesting platform to experiment and learn from. Over the last 12 months, the most exciting development in bingo would be the shift to the mobile and social platforms.” He continues “the addition of mobile bingo to online and social bingo has been the biggest highlight so far.”

Speaking on the toughest challenges ahead Vanga tells us “The biggest challenge so far has been saturation in the bingo industry. Added to that, would be the consolidation of online bingo industry where the large operators benefit from player liquidity and jackpots.” With the social gaming shift in mind Vanga also makes the identifies that “with the mass shift towards social gaming, the competition to make bingo more exciting and appealing to retain online players is also a challenge.”
As a key speaker at the upcoming 7th Online Bingo Summit 2012, Vanga gives us a few reasons as to why Cozy Games have been such advocates of the show “Cozy Games has been a part of the Bingo Summit for many years now. The exposure has been fruitful in terms of networking and gaining insights to expand the industry further. The Summit brings together the best minds in the business and we are delighted to be a part of it.”

About Cozy Games – Cozy Games offers its partners an affluence of gaming knowledge and the latest advancements in technology. Cozy offers a product suite of ninety plus games which include bingo, classic and video slots; table games; scratch cards and network jackpots.

About the Online Bingo Summit – Now in its 7th year, the Online Bingo Summit has had over 1650 attendees from 500+ Online Bingo related companies in 15 countries. The summit remains to be the only dedicated meeting on the events calendar to discuss online bingo in the depth it deserves.

GiocoNews.it is official Media Partner of this event

11 Apr 2012

Spielo International tailors its products to Malta’s new slot halls program

SPIELO-International_original_CYMK-300x60Malta’s major gaming operators are choosing SPIELO International to provide systems, machines, and cloud hosting services for the island’s new slot halls program. SPIELO International has so far installed a total of 200 diversityTM multigames on OXYGENTM cabinets for two of the major Maltese slot hall operators, Gaming Operations Ltd. and Media Games. diversity continues as SPIELO International’s bestselling multigame product, where operators can select game suites that appeal to their players’ desires. SPIELO International developers have ensured that the games are as exciting and appealing as possible to Maltese players while complying with the new slot hall regulations.

Each diversity game suite features a variety of up to 10 games grouped into categories that can be selected by players via touch screen, with Roulette now available as a selection. Presented on the stylish OXYGEN cabinet, diversity allows players to select their preferred game types with different volatility levels, and is the only multigame on the market featuring proven, top-performing standalone progressive games, all in multi-line and multi-denomination format.

In addition, SPIELO International’s new SYSTEM2goTM turnkey solution for multi-site slot halls has been installed simultaneously across the major slot hall groups in Malta. System2go deployment is so quick and easy that operators can install and deploy the systems on their own.

A total of 290 connection kit units for around 30 slot venues were recently shipped to Media Games, Gaming Operations Ltd., and the Tomino Group. Another 300 units are expected to be shipped and installed in those 30 venues in the coming months, with additional installations anticipated.

To ensure system viability in such small locations, the SYSTEM2go solution was built to be managed centrally from each operator group’s head office. As part of Malta’s new slot hall regulations, operators must provide players with a detailed report of their individual activities at the player’s request, which SYSTEM2Go provides accurately on demand.

SPIELO International has also obtained a Class 4 license from Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority for SYSTEM2go to provide a cloud hosting service for Media Games and Gaming Operations Ltd. The cloud services allow operators to concentrate on providing superior services to the player, while SPIELO International manages their IT operation and provides value-added data and report visualisation through the cloud.

SYSTEM2go includes the CRYSTAL WEBTM floor network and an integrated jackpots system. Additional add-on packages provide ticketing or card cashless with player tracking. This packaged, all-in-one system is based on our proven market tested technology and functionality, and can be quickly configured to meet regulator and operator requirements. For instance, the Platinum ticketing and player tracking option for Malta was customized for connection to a national ‘barred player’ list in accordance with regulations.

SPIELO International has been providing high-performance solutions in Malta since February 2006, beginning with the installation of the CRYSTAL WEBTM floor network and GALAXISTM casino management systems for the Tomino Group (now Tumas Gaming).

10 Apr 2012

Italy forerunner of the concerted action. Which are the results?

europaThe Green Paper on the online gaming and the Creutzmann report impose a new European target: a concerted action between the member States for a consistent European regulation and, perhaps, the introduction of minimum standards. But Italy, in this case, represents “a European forerunner, talking since a lot of time with other regulatory bodies”, says Francesco Rodano, person in charge for the online gaming for the State Monopolies. reminding the cooperation agreement made in recent years between Italy and France, between the regulatory bodies Aams and Arjel. A very good example.

At least in theory. According to Stefano Mallia, of the European economic Committee, “The cooperation between member states is without  doubt desirable and Italy is doing a lot in this sense, being also the first Country that regulated the online gaming.  However, the tangible results of the cooperation between Italy and France are not so obvious”, Mallia says, “but it is an ideal approach”. But also the operators think the same: we must just think to the licenses obtained in France by Italian operators and never started, because the France business seemed not convenient. In spite of the cooperation.