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Where Are Playtech’s Marvel Games?

Playtech has operated one of the most successful branded online slots franchises with its series of progressive jackpots based on Marvel Superheroes. However, if you’ve been wanting to play any of these games this week, you’ll notice that they are nowhere to be found anywhere on the web. So, where have the Marvel Mystery Jackpots gone – and, will you ever be able to play them again?

Disney’s Buyout of Marvel

Source: http://geektyrant.com/news/2010/2/26/will-disneys-new-movie-plan-hurt-b-list-marvel-character-fil.html

Source: http://geektyrant.com/news/2010/2/26/will-disneys-new-movie-plan-hurt-b-list-marvel-character-fil.html

In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. The decision has proven to be a wise one, financially, as both companies have benefitted greatly from the acquisition. In the years afterwards, Disney’s earnings increased by 22%, whether generated by more traditional films like Frozen or action titles like Guardians of the Galaxy.

The only party to really lose out is the online gambling market. Disney has always adopted an anti-gambling stance. In fact, its cruises don’t even feature casinos or slot machines, which are normally staples on any major cruise. As such, it should come as no surprise that Disney does not want its Marvel heroes to be associated with the gambling market by being featured on slot machines.

Which Games Have Been Removed?

marvel heroes

Over 30 Marvel-branded online slots have been pulled from online casinos. The full list can be found below:

Avengers Scratchcard, Blade, Blade 50 Paylines, Blade Scratchcard, Captain America – The First Avenger, Captain America – The First Avenger Scratchcard, Daredevil, Daredevil Scratchcard, Elektra, Elektra Scratchcard, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four 50 Paylines, Fantastic Four Scratchcard, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider Scratchcard, Hulk Scratchcard, Hulk with Marvel Jackpot, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 2 50 Paylines, Iron Man 2 Scratchcard, Iron Man 3, Iron Man 3 Scratchcard, Iron Man with Marvel Jackpot, Marvel Roulette, Punisher War Zone, Punisher War Zone Scratchcard, Spider-Man Scratchcard, Spider-Man: Attack of The Green Goblin, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk 50 Paylines, Thor Scratchcard, Thor The Mighty Avenger, Wolverine, Wolverine Scratchcard, X-Men, X-Men 50 Paylines and XMEN Scratchcard.

Other Branded Slots

Fortunately, the online slots market is full of fantastic branded games based on our favourite heroes. Comic book characters from DC, Vertigo and Image. Some of the games that are still available to play include:

  • Judge Dredd (NYX)
  • Justice League (NYX)
  • Dark Knight Rises (Microgaming)
  • Batman (NYX)
  • Superman (Last Son of Krypton)
  • Kickass (1×2 Gaming)

Playtech Alternativesplaytech-age-of-the-gods

Playtech seems to have been preparing for this day for quite some time, as they developer have launched a new series of games that aims to replace some of its Marvel slots. Age of the Gods, a Greek mythology-themed slots series, made its debut towards the end of 2016. Each game in the series seems to have a corresponding Marvel slot:

  • Iron Man 2 – Age of the Gods: King of Olympus
  • Fantastic Four – Age of the Gods Furious Four
  • The Avengers – Age of the Gods
  • Elektra – Age of the Gods Goddess of Wisdom

The series even features a progressive jackpot network. So, if you’re missing out on the chance to win amazing progressive prizes, then you’ll still have the chance to cash in on one of four generous progressive jackpots from this series. They even have the same names as the Marvel Mystery Jackpots: Power, Extra Power, Super Power and Ultimate Power.

Original Superhero Slots

Slots developers are getting more confident about flexing their creative muscle when it comes to creating original characters. So, you’ll find more slots that feature proprietary superheroes, and they are certainly worth a spin – such as:

  • Super Lady Luck (iSoftBet)
  • Natural Powers (IGT)
  • Jack Hammer (Microgaming)
  • Warlords (NetEnt)
  • Arrival (BetSoft)

 

Is There a Place for Augmented Reality in the Online Casino World?

While the major hype behind Pokemon Go has all but died out, the app still sees millions of users per day and continues to inspire developers in the gaming world to experiment with Augmented Reality. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Disney and Magic Leap have recently invested in the technology to bring new experiences to their customers – but will we see online casinos do the same?

Virtual Reality Is Already Popular At Casinos

In recent, years, we have seen online gambling operators foray into the virtual reality market. Slots Million is one of the first brands to launch its own VR casino, which allows players to wander the floor of a virtual gambling venue while wearing a headset. On customer review sites, the app has been praised by players around the world for its high-quality design and wide range of games. It has laid the groundwork for other developers to experiment with VR, but is it worth it?

pokemon go

AR Is More ‘Approachable’

Pokemon Go has demonstrated that augmented reality is a more user-friendly technology than VR. Children as young as 2-years-old can understand the interface and enjoy the game. While gamblers at online casinos must be older than 18 (or 21 in some locations), the accessibility of augmented reality will appeal to players of an older generation who may be reluctant to try new technology like virtual reality headsets.

AR Is Less Expensive

While virtual reality requires the use of expensive headsets that cost upwards $600, AR games can run on smartphones and tablets. Players also need to have a powerful PC that can smoothly run virtual reality games. According to Logical Increments, building a PC based on Oculus’ Recommended Specs costs users $800:

For a casual player, this is a big investment. It may only be worth it for dedicated gamers that will use the PC to play a wide variety of games. Although more Millennials (who are more likely to own gaming PCs) are playing at online gambling sites, the majority of players who would consider playing at a VR casinos are unlikely to spend this kind of money on a computer.

On the other side of the coin, 68% of American adults already own smartphones and 45% own tablets. They already have the devices necessary to run an augmented reality game, and no further investment would be needed. This is a definite selling point for gaming operators who are considering launching AR projects, as it would be much easier to promote the product to a wider range of players.

Any Progress So Far?
While Pokemon Go was a huge success in 2016, we have yet to see online casinos operators jump on the AR bandwagon. The only instance in which gambling and AR was in 2010 when Nike launched a promotional augmented reality slot machine:

This is exactly the type of technology that would benefit mobile and even land-based casino operators. There is plenty of potential for in the online gambling market for augmented reality to thrive, and we hope to see more developments with this technology in the coming year.

Content Marketing In the Online Gambling Industry

When promoting brands in the digital world, content marketing is the key to building a great reputation, generating leads and making sales. It is important for casino brands to begin adopting content marketing strategies in order to attract new players and keep existing players engaged.

Benefits of Content Marketing
A successful content marketing campaign offers up a number of benefits for brands in any industry. It’s not just about increasing your revenue; it provides long-term solutions that will work together to help you make more sales. These include:

  • Increased visibility online
  • Develop relationships with players and creates loyalty
  • Improves brand awareness
  • Builds authority and establishes you brand as an industry expert
  • Opens an additional communication channel via social media

Your Content Should Provide Value
Content marketing is all about providing value to your audience. Rather than outright selling your services, you should be focused on using your brand to educate, inform and entertain. There are plenty of ways to do this in the online casino market, as there is lots of knowledge to be shared. In a successful marketing campaign, you shouldn’t be shouting about what your brand can do for its customers; you should be providing content that will benefit your customers in a way that will engage them with your brand.

leovegas blog

LeoVegas is a great example of a brand that provides value for its players using its blog. It’s latest “roars” inform players about new games and exciting events, such as when the Mayor of Malta visited the LeoVegas HQ. This not only engages players with the online casino operator but also humanises the brand which go a long way to building long-term relationships with customers.

Your Content Should Be Unique
One of the main issues about marketing an online casino or gambling site is that they all offer similar products and services. Save for bonuses and game selection, it’s not often that an online casino operator can really step outside of the box. That’s why it’s important for your content to be the unique draw that attracts people to your brand.

Consider your brand identity and offer content based on that. It should always be well thought-out and something that your visitors are unlikely to get anywhere else.

A great example is Mr Green online casino. This popular online gambling site has its own mascot (a dapper man dressed in an emerald green suit and bowler hat) and brand identity (sophistica ted and classy). The company worked with NetEntertainment to make a slot machine based on these features, which is available exclusively at Mr Green online casino.

marvellous mr green

It is this kind of out-of-the-box thinking that createsimpressive content marketing campaigns that engage players. While online gambling is a distinctive niche, it is certainly possible to bring new and exclusive content to players. Not everything has to be on a scale as large as a custom slot game, but you should always endeavour to give players something they haven’t seen before – or, offer a new perspective on something they may have already encountered.

Is It Too Late For a Pokemon Go-Themed Slots Game?

This summer saw the launch of one of the biggest trends in the mobile gaming world. Pokemon Go swiftly and quickly took the market by storm and became one of the most-downloaded apps in history in a matter of mere weeks. Months after the hype surrounding the game has died down, we’re seeing the first parody slot based on Pokemon Go – but, is it too late to capitalize on this trend.

Slotomon Go from SoftSwiss

SoftSwiss has just announced its plans to release a new online slot called Slotomon Go. The game features a unique cast of creatures similar to some of the most famous Pokemon. We certainly commend SoftSwiss for creating its own version of Pokemon like Gloom, Gastly and Pansear – but it just comes a little bit too late for us. If the company could have been able to get Slotomon Go to market a month ago, it would have received much more attention as the novelty of one of mobile gaming’s biggest trends would have yet to wear off.

Trends Come and Go in Online Gaming

No matter what facet of online gaming you’re interested in, trends come and go very quickly. It is important that you hop on the bandwagon as quickly as possible in order to get the most attention for your efforts. Pokemon Go only saw a couple of months in the spotlight, just like No Man’s Sky or Candy Crush. So, be sure to tread lightly when it comes to picking up on trends, as they may be out of style by the time your product hits the market.

pokemon-go-chart

Stick to the Basics

You can certainly take advantage of gaming trends well after the fact they have come and gone – but it is important to pick out the foundations and build on those. While Pokemon Go is no longer a hot topic, the game really put augmented reality software in the spotlight. The game itself died out fairly quickly, but the technology upon which it was built and the brand on which it was based will be around in the gaming market for years to come.

augmented-reality

So, if you think you missed your chance, then it might be time to dig deeper. Think about what made the trend popular in the first place. Augmented reality? Mobile gaming? The Pokemon brand? Pick apart these features and determine how you can reinvent them in a new way to captivate fans of the original trend.

The other option is to think ahead. Keep your ear to the ground in the gaming market and find out what the next big trends are. Getting in on the ground floor ensures that you’ll be able to capitalize on the trend while it is just becoming popular or is already at its peak. Some examples of upcoming video game and movie releases that are due for a great deal of type are: Final Fantasy XV, Watchdogs 2, Doctor Strange and Rogue One.

In the case of Slotomon Go…

The game has yet to be released but we can already hear some criticism about Slotomon Go. While it is a clever concept, critics believe it may be too late to expect the game to build on any hype from the Pokemon Go trend.

More successful route may be to focus on the Pokemon brand alone or to consider the upcoming release of Pokemon Sun & Moon for the Nintendo DS – which will certainly receive plenty of attention in the mainstream media. Since a Pokemon-themed slot would be based on the brand itself rather than the mobile game that arose from it and trended for a few months, we could see it attracting more players.

Of course, we’re still going to give Slotomon Go a spin when it is released. We’re sure it’s going to be a great game. It’s just a shame that it missed the hype train.

How Can Online Casinos Make the Best Use of VR Tech?

Virtual reality is becoming the next big trend in the online gaming world. The market will be worth billions of dollars by the end of 2016, and casino operators are considering ways to use this technology to their advantage. However, is there really a demand for virtual reality casino games, and how can the gambling market really make the best use of this technology?

Potential for Growth

A new study from Juniper Research has found that virtual reality gambling wagers will increase from $58.5 million in 2016 to $520 million in 2021 – marking a huge $800 increase over the course of the next 5 years. The firm is confident that online casino gaming developers will invest more in the creation of virtual reality casino games in order to drive demand and provide players with a new and exciting gambling experience that makes use of modern technology.

headsets

Drawbacks

The main drawback of virtual reality gambling is the cost of VR headsets. Currently, the average cost exceeds $500. The Oculus Rift goes for $599 while the HTC Vive costs $799. So, it will be quite some time before virtual reality becomes accessible to the general gaming public. This could hinder the demand for VR gambling until headsets become a more common gaming staple in homes around the world.

There is a growing crossover between dedicated video gamers and online casino gamblers, which would mean that there could be more punters who have access to VR headsets than we might normally think. Thanks to this, the demand for VR casinos could grow and encourage more developers to experiment with this technology.

Current Ventures

There are only a handful of virtual reality casino operators and games developers on the market, with only a few making significant strides. Slots Million is the first game that comes to mind, as the operator has just released its new VR casino. The application allows players to explore a virtual casino floor in first-person view. They can walk up to games and interact with them, and make their way around the venue which features a bar area and a stunning view of a futuristic city.

Slots Million’s new Virtual Reality can be played in VR mode using a headset like the Oculus Rift, or it can be played in 3D mode on a desktop computer. This ensures that all players can experience the fun and excitement of a first-person online gaming environment.

 

Will It Really Catch On?

Virtual reality is already making waves in the traditional gaming industry, and the market is expected to see its first billion-dollar year by the end of 2016. It is estimated that over 10 million games and 2.5 million headsets will be sold. This applies to the existing range of VR games, which are action-adventure titles, shooters, sports games and mini games. So, it is hard to tell if online casino games will see the same success.

What online casino developers will have to do is offer something completely new to players that they can’t already obtain from playing at traditional online casinos. In the same way that VR shooters provide players with an extra sense of excitement by being immersed in fictional worlds, VR casinos will have to provide additional value to players.

This could come from the novelty of VR gaming itself, as players can immerse themselves in a virtual environment to play casino games. Or, it could come from allowing players to interact in this virtual world. Only time will tell exactly how VR casino operators plan to make virtual reality gaming an entirely new experience, but we have high hopes.

Marketing Mobile Gambling Apps

Mobile gaming is one of the fastest-growing trends in the online gaming world. In 2015, mobile gaming accounted for 17% of all gambling wagers around the world and by 2017, the market is expected to be worth $100 billion. So, now is definitely the time to get in on the ground floor and ensure that your mobile app stands out among the competition.

App Store Permissions

In the early days of mobile gambling, app stores restricted developers from listing their apps. Now, things have started to change, but it is still a controversial issue.

If you’re an Android user, you will be unable to find real-money gambling apps on the Google Play App Store. As such, you will have to rely on other means of promotion.

In the iTunes Store, gambling apps can be listed, but there are some restrictions on how they can be operated. Apple highlights some important rules about offering gambling programs on the App Store. These include:

  • Apps that offer real money gaming (e.g. sports betting, poker, casino games, horse racing) or lotteries must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used
  • Apps may not use IAP to purchase credit or currency for use in conjunction with real money gaming of any kind
  • Sweepstakes and contests must be sponsored by the developer of the app.

Optimise Your App Store Listing

20161021_092304Any app listed in the iTunes App store must have a stellar listing that will attract searchers and encourage them to download the game. As such, you should provide users with plenty of keyword-optimised content along with high-quality images the depict the standout features of your app.

User reviews are the key to boosting your app store rankings. So, it is important to give the players what they want. As such, you should be paying close attention to the feedback that you’re given and try your best to release updates that cater to these concerns. As you see your score rising, you’ll also see your app rise in the search rankings.

Work A Bit Harder for Android

Since there is a blanket ban on gambling apps on Android, you’ll have to work a bit harder. It is not as simple as developing a great app store listing, and you’ll have to rely on other outlets. Many real-money gambling operators release companion apps that do not allow players to wager or place bets. For example, Paddy Power’s Bet Calculator provides the brand with a Google Play Store presence while offering up a useful tool for punters. This is a roundabout way of marketing your real-money mobile app to Android users without breaking the rules of the Google App Store. Many brands have experienced success using this method, able to convert companion app users into real-money players.

Get Social

Word-of-mouth continues to be one of the most effective ways of marketing any mobile game. As such, it is important that your mobile casino offers users the ability to interact and share with friends. Some apps offer users the ability to place sidebets with friends while others allow punters to share big wins and interesting hands. These capabilities have no real-money value but they encourage users to get their friends on board by offering up a unique experience that they wouldn’t be able to obtain at your usual online casino site.

Optimise Content Marketing for Mobile

If you want to attract more mobile users to your brand, then you’ll have to reach out to them in a way that will speak directly to them in the most effective way. As such, it’s important to take a look at your current marketing communications, and cater them to mobile audiences.

  • Email marketing: ensure your emails are short, to the point and easy to read on mobile devices
  • Social media: take a look at the social networks that your users are most likely to use on their smartphones and tablets and begin to provide content on these platforms
  • Blog: there is such a thing as mobile copywriting, and you should certainly employ its principles. This includes front-loading your blogs with the most important information, using short headings and writing very succintly.

Mobile-Only Promotions

One way to encourage users to visit your mobile gaming site is to incentivise them, in exactly the same way that you would for your desktop offering. Many online casinos offer up exclusive mobile bonuses available only to players who access the site using their smartphone or tablet computer. These types of bonuses encourage players to step away from their laptops and try gaming on the go in order to obtain special bonuses that they wouldn’t normally be privy to.

apple-iphone-smartphone-desk-large

Other online casinos simply offer additional promotional benefits for players on their mobile devices. LeoVegas is a great example, as this operator often doubles leaderboard points for visitors who play slots from their smartphones or tablets.

Why is Pokemon Go So Popular?

Pokemon Go is the biggest social gaming phenomenon to hit smartphones since – well, ever. The game has surpassed the popularity of Candy Crush, Tinder, Twitter, Netflix and Spotify. At Fifth Street Media, we’re pretty big gamers and we thought we could provide some insight as to why Pokemon Go has become such a huge hit.

It’s the game of our dreams
If you grew up watching and playing Pokemon, then it’s likely that you daydreamed about what it would be like if Pokemon were real. I remember planning it all out in my head:

  • I’d be able to catch Pokemon out in forests and fields around my house
  • Each neighbourhood would have its own gym (likely a school or community centre)
  • I would store my Pokemon on floppy disks (as we the standard method of digital storage at the time), and take them out for fresh air in my backyard several times a day

So, if you were anything like me, then you were pleased to see that Pokemon Go is basically the game we all dreamed of as children. It makes Pokemon real and accessible outside of video game consoles. We can hunt them in real locations and battle with others for control of gyms. It is everything that wannabe Pokemon masters wanted while we sat glued to our televisions at 3pm every day, or as we stayed up way past our bedtimes to play our Gameboys.

The fancy dress theme at Y Not 2015 was 'What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up When I Was 10 Years Old'. Naturally, I dressed up as a Pokemon Master.

The fancy dress theme at Y Not 2015 was ‘What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up When I Was 10 Years Old’. Naturally, I dressed up as a Pokemon Master.

There is certainly loads of nostalgia that comes along with playing Pokemon Go. That’s why you’ve seen so many adults playing the game – who likely outnumber the children who have been out hunting Pokemon recently.

It’s perfect for marketing
Plenty of small businesses have caught on to the Pokemon Go trend, which has certainly helped to attract many more players. Who wouldn’t want to download the game and give it a shot if they could get a free soda or slice of pizza?

free pizza pokemon go

Many other business owners and managers have started playing the game in order to use various features to attract players. For example, it is common practice for cafes and shops to drop lures (which attract Pokemon) in order to bring more potential customers into the area. Some businesses have even launched charging stations for players, as it is a well-known fact that Pokemon Go drains batteries very quickly.

It’s a form of exercise
You can’t catch Pokemon unless you get out and about. The game uses GPS location tracking as you travel, so you have to keep moving. It encourages users to explore new places, as certainly Pokemon only spawn in certain locations. While video games are known for supposedly encouraging laziness, Pokemon Go stops us from being couch potatoes and requires us to move around if we want to progress in the game.

It’s social
While the game doesn’t yet offer the option to trade Pokemon between players or to battle your friends, it is still a hugely social game. It is not uncommon to head out to your local town centre and see loads of players gathered around a Pokestop, chatting about the game itself, their own Pokemon and their personal tactics. Many players are even forming walking groups to catch Pokemon together.

The game really is bringing people together. Whereas the original Pokemon games are single-player titles (with the ability to trade with and battle friends), Pokemon Go offers up a unique co-op experience.

But, is it sustainable?
At Fifth Street Media, we can’t see this trend dying out anytime soon. Sure, it has experienced the initial boom of any short-lived fad, but it has the potential to last quite some time. Since players must level up to progress and catch better Pokemon, it is unlikely that players will get bored easily.

In fact, we can even see Nintendo expanding the game. While players can only catch the first 150 Pokemon, we can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t introduce the later generations of creatures. After all, there are now over 700 Pokemon! So, updates for the game may be rolling out for the next few years.

The players who only downloaded the game to see what all the buzz is about will probably end up abandoning their Pokemon within a couple of months. However, the players who continue to watch the anime and buy each new Pokemon game as they are released on Nintendo consoles will certainly continue to play for a while.

Social Media In the Online Gambling Industry

In any online industry, social networking is a key component in any successful marketing campaign. However, one industry that has failed to truly take advantage of the social media marketing is the online casino world. While online gambling may not be a hive of social activity, gaming brands can use social networks and SMO strategies to generate more awareness among potential customers.

The Usual Suspects
Facebook and Twitter should always be your first stop when starting any social media campaign. They are the best way to get started and to help you find your voice as a brand.

It can be difficult to figure out how to get started, as the online gambling market isn’t necessarily the most social industry. However, it is possible to start a conversation with your followers. Be sure to interact with your players and peers; ask them questions, offer advice and share opinions.

The most important thing to remember is that social media is not only about selling your product. It is about creating brand awareness that can help you generate leads.  As such, keep the promotional posts to a minimum. Let your followers know about new and exciting content that you have to offer – but, avoid sounding like an advert.

Another popular strategy is to provide customer support in your Facebook and Twitter profiles. As long as you have staff on hand to deal with enquires quickly, this is a great way to more people interacting with your brand.

Engage With Influencers
To boost your Twitter and Facebook profiles, it is important to interact with influencers in your field. There are plenty of gaming journalists, professionals and brands out there in the industry with which you can build mutually-beneficial relationships.

Conduct your research carefully and find influences who can help you achieve your particular goal – whether it is attracting more players or spreading the word about your brand. To engage with them, the best way to start is by replying to one of the posts with something valuable. You can offer up an opinion, a resource or a link that you think they will find useful.

Blogging
Blogging is sometimes considered ‘content marketing’, and other times it is considered ‘social media’. Let’s just say it fits right into the middle. In any successful social media campaign, it is important to have valuable content to share with your followers – and, the best way to do that is to pull from your blog. In this way, blogging is an essential part of an effective social media plan.

In the online gambling market, there are plenty of topics to blog about. If you’re an operator, tell players about your new games. If you’re an affiliate, let your readers know how to claim the latest bonuses.

Visual Social Media
The latest social media trends consist of visual sharing. Instagram, Vine and Snapchat rely on pictures and videos, and they are among the fastest growing social networks. It is possible to use these networks to build a following for your brand – but, only if you’re willing to go behind the scenes. Followers want to see something new and interesting that they won’t be able to find anywhere else. So, keep this in mind when you decide to launch your brand on visual social networks.

Companies like NetEntertainment have done a great job of using Instagram to their advantage. The company posts regularly, offering up behind-the-scenes photos of their team at various events and while on the job. This insider perspective is key in developing a presence on visual networks like Instagram and Snapchat.

Forums
Getting involved in forums will allow you to interact with a different demographic than those you would normally find on social networks like Instagram and Twitter. You may not think that forums are a very popular form of online communication, but they are still out there! In fact, some of the most active forums today are focused on online gaming and casinos. While you can’t explicitly promote your service, engaging in a conversation with users on these forums will help you communicate your brand values and create awareness.

 

Will Valve’s Skin Betting Lawsuit Affect the Online Gaming Market?


Today, it was announced that Valve is being sued by a Counterstrike: Global Offensive player, for profiting from the ‘illegal online gambling market’ of skin betting. The plaintiff Michael John McLeod alleges that the games developer has knowingly supported illegal gambling, which can be especially harmful on CS:GO websites that don’t require age verification.

Skin betting is a $2 billion business. As such, this lawsuit could have a significant effect on the online gaming world.

What is skin betting?
‘Skins’ are accessories for weapons in the game Counterstrike: Global Offensive. Users collect these skins to enhance their arsenal, usually by purchasing them from the CS:GO shop or from a Skin Exchange. A recent trend has seen users wagering these items on eSports matches, rather than spending actual cash to buy their own skins.

 

So, what’s the problem?
Since players wager items that have a monetary value, the system should operate under a gambling license. It is essentially gambling that is not monitored by any regulatory body. The situation is comparable to a homeowner profiting from high-stakes backroom poker, as it is not carried out in a venue that adheres to gaming laws.

eSports Lawyer, Roger Quiles, offered up an in-depth summary of the situation to DexterTo:

“The crux of the case, Plaintiff alleges, is that Valve knowingly allowed, supported, and/or sponsored unlawful gambling in the form of skins betting. Likening skins to casino chips, the plaintiff alleged that skins have real monetary value and are frequently sold for such. This is important for unlawful gambling analysis. In order for unlawful gambling to exist, an “item of value” must be wagered. There is a growing body of case law on what constitutes an “item of value” in the virtual realm. We’ll have to see if the court agrees that skins qualify as such”.

This is likely the issue the lawsuit will focus on. Whether or not CS:GO skins can be considered ‘items of value’ will go a long way in determining whether Valve has been responsible in supporting an illegal online gambling market.

Who is in danger?
According to a Reddit poll which interviewed 15 000 players, 68.1% of CS:GO players are under the age of 21 (the legal gambling age in America) , and 9.4% are under the age of 13. As such, there is plenty of underage individuals who have the potential to be exposed to gambling activities – and, many studies have suggested that exposure to gambling from a young age can lead to the development of problem gambling in the future.

What effect will this have on the online gaming market?
It is too soon to tell whether skin exchanges will but shut down, or if Valve will be required to introduce age restrictions.  However, what we do know for sure is that parents will have to be much more proactive in helping to ensure that their children game safely and responsibly.

Until recently, the notion of skin betting has been unknown to anyone who is not involved in online gaming.  Now, the lawsuit has brought the issue to light and the general public is now aware of the gambling activities that take place in the virtual CS:GO realm. We anticipate that this will cause more parents to be more vigilant about monitoring their children’s activities when gaming online.

There is also the possibility for licensed online gambling operators to get involved. We could see online sportsbooks working together with CS:GO skin exchanges to offer a regulated skin betting service that adheres to online gambling laws in certain jurisdictions. Still this would mean that players in certain locations (such as the United States and Canada) would be restricted from taking part.

You can read the full complaint here:

Michael John McLeod, et al. vs. Valve Corporation by Polygondotcom

How Will the Brexit Effect Online Gambling Operators?

The British Referendum will take place in two days, and the Leave vs Stay debate continues to heat up. Machinery, finance and manufactured goods have been identified as some of the most vulnerable sectors that will see the most change if Britain leaves the EU – but, what about the gambling industry?

Online gambling is one of the biggest and most profitable markets in the United Kingdom, as British residents spend over £2 billion per year at online casinos and bookmakers. There could be serious implications for the dozens of UK gaming operators who are licensed in Gibraltar, as the territory may no longer belong to Britain if the public votes to leave on June 23rd.

Gibraltar’s economy relies on gambling
There are only a few major industries on which Gibraltar’s economy is based – insurance, gambling, finance and import/export. In fact, there are about 30 gaming companies that are based in Gibraltar which account for up to 25% of its GDP. There are over 4000 people who are employed by gaming operators and by related employers, many of which commute from Spain every day. Britain’s exit from the EU may cause complications for the many UK-based sites that are licensed in Gibraltar, which would compromise Gibraltar’s economy.

British operator’s gaming licenses could be in jeopardy
Gibraltar is a territory belonging to the UK, but that could change if Britain exits the EU. Jose Manuel García-Margallo, Spain’s Foreign Minister would aim to take control of Gibraltar ‘the very next day’. Should Gibraltar become a Spanish territory, there could be major changes to the way in which British gaming operators like Ladbrokes are licensed. There are currently no white-listed gambling jurisdictions outside of the UK, so it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen to Gibraltar’s ability to license online gaming sites.

Gambling isn’t the only kind of gaming that will suffer
The console and computer gaming market will also experience some difficulty if England leaves the European Union. Games developers in the United Kingdom find themselves hiring professionals from across Europe, as local candidates ‘aren’t as well-equipped as their European counterparts for the jobs they want’. Thanks to the cross-section of diversity in the games development market, interactive entertainment is at its peak. Leaving the EU would compromise the jobs of Europeans who are employed with British developers – which would further compromise the quality of the games we play and the progress of the market overall.

This also rings true for online casino games designers. There are plenty of London-based slots designers like iSoftBet and Revolver Gaming who are likely to scout talent from Europe and currently employ professionals from across the continent. The Brexit could potentially effect these jobs.

So, how will you be voting in the upcoming referendum? Leave a comment and let us know, or chat with us @5thStMedia!