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January 24th General news ... Picks Daddy Pro at picksdaddypro.com
NEW GAME FROM SWEDEN
Swedish online gambling content developer Yggdrasil Gaming has some fun with fungi in its latest slot unveiled Thursday and titled Magic Mushrooms.
The game is a fantasy world-themed slot where players can win on an unchronological draw slot a first for a high performance casino product, a spokesman claimed.
The majority of standard online slot games have paylines on one side and reels that stop in sequence. Magic Mushrooms, however uses intuitive gameplay with 40 paylines, 20 from the left and 20 from the right of the game, spread across a diamond shaped 3-4-5-4-3 reel position and with the five reels drawn in an unchronological order of 1-5-2-4-3.
Players are also treated to a number of distinctive in-game ambient sounds and music created by specialist sounds artists, while the characters themselves were created in-house and first modelled as clay figures before making it to the big screen.
Fredrik Elmqvist, chief executive of Yggdrasil Gaming, said: This game is unique in every way, from the reel structure and the characters weve created to the sounds and music weve encapsulated.
PENNSYLVANIA ONLINE GAMBLING HEARING GENERALLY POSITIVE (Update)
Tuesday's hearing before the Pennsylvania NFL Lines Senate Committee on Community, Economic and Recreational Development on intrastate internet gambling was generally positive, according to local media reports, despite Andy Abboud, a Sheldon Adelson lieutenant, again voicing the objections of his employer's land casino group to any legalisation.
The majority of witnesses appeared to support properly legalised and taxed online gambling, although some were more cautious in approach than others, suggesting delays to assess how other states were doing.
Abboud's claim that legalised online gambling in Pennsylvania would steal customers from his company's Bethlehem land casino were countered by Michael Cohen from Caesars Entertainment, who said that broadening empirical evidence has now shown that punters who gamble online do not typically frequent land casinos.
The Internet is a new distribution channel, tapping a new customer, Cohen said.
Pennsylvania represents an important opportunity for online gambling due to its populous nature. The state already has twelve land casinos and is regarded as second only to Las Vegas in terms of revenues, but faces rising competition from other Eastern states like New York and New Jersey, which have either legalised online gambling or are actively considering the possibility.
A spokesman for Parx Casino in Philadelphia, Robert Green, was concerned about the 20 percent drop in revenue at his company's land poker tables since online poker was legalised in neighbouring New Jersey late last year.
I dont think you can say with any authority that there is not an impact on bricks-and-mortar casinos, he said.
A report by Econsult Solutions earlier this year estimated that Pennsylvanian online gambling operators could generate $184 million in first-year revenues $307 million annually after that (see previous InfoPowa reports).
But Adam Ozimek, Econsult Solutions director of research added: "We don't include any license fees in there. And really, those revenues should be thought of as illustrative because we don't know what the tax rates are going to be."
Robert Pickus, chairman of the Valley Forge Casino Resort, felt the projections were reasonable and demonstrated why the state should move quickly to take a lead in the industry.
Stephen Mullin, the Econsult's president, said legalising online gambling isn't expected to eat into the profits of brick-and-mortar casinos.
"It's a different audience out there," Mullin said. "Not to say that there isn't somebody who plays I-games and also goes to a casino, but it is a very different audience."
A number of managers from Pennsylvania's 12 operating casinos say they'd be fine with online gambling as long as it were offered exclusively by existing casino licensees.
Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed several bills, including one to prohibit any expansion of gambling without a referendum or two-thirds vote of the legislature, and another to allow online bets for many casino-style games.
Senator Edwin Erickson announced last week that he plans a state Senate measure to legalise only Internet poker.
Pennsylvanias land casino revenue fell 1.4 percent to $3.1 billion last year, the first decline since the state began opening land casino operations in 2006.
INDUSTRY VETERAN APPOINTED C.E.O. AT RANK GROUP
The British land and online gambling group Rank plc has announced the appointment of industry veteran Henry Birch (45) as chief executive of the group.
Birch will succeed Ian Burke (57) on May 6, when Burke takes up the responsibilities of non-executive chairman of the company.
Birch was most recently CEO of William Hill Online, a now dissolved joint venture between Will Hill and internet gambling software company Playtech, a post he held for four years.
Burke has been in the chief executive hot seat at Rank for the last eight years, and said Thursday that he had made the decision to relinquish his post.
"The Rank board believes it appropriate to ensure that the company benefits from some continuity to ensure a smooth transition of executive responsibilities," a company announcement said.
"With his track record in the online betting and gaming sector, the Rank board believes that Henry is well-equipped to lead Rank's continued exploitation of growth opportunities in the gaming and leisure markets."
Birch is currently a non-executive director of the AIM-listed CFD trading platform operator, Plus 500 plc and has more than 20 years experience in the industry.
Prior to working at William Hill Online, he was the chief executive officer of Leisure & Gaming plc, an AIM-listed company that owned and operated a number of online and retail betting and gaming subsidiaries.
Previous to that, Birch was the chief operating officer of Bettingcorp Ltd, an Israeli company focused on the development and operation of online and interactive TV gaming platforms, and in earlier years of his career he held management roles at Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting and Riffage, an early digital music operator based in Silicon Valley, and started his career working in the House of Commons.
MICROGAMING LAUNCHES NEW LUCKY KOI ONLINE VIDEO SLOT
Starting the New Year with a bang, online gambling software developer Microgaming launched its Lucky Koi video slot Monday, sending online punters on a virtual trip to the tranquil and serene Far East.
Lucky Koi is a five reel, 25 payline video slot with an Asian theme, depicted through beautifully rendered garden graphics and appropriate symbols. The game provides opportunities to win big with scatters, wild pays and free spins, with the Lucky Koi logo acting as the wild and giving gamblers the chance to build winning combinations by substituting for other symbols.
Three, four or five stone lantern scatter symbols will trigger a bonus choice feature in which the player can choose between the free spins feature and the Koi Bonus.
If the player picks the free spins feature they are awarded a random bonus of between 10 and 30 free spins with a multiplier of up to 5x. Alternatively, if the Koi Bonus is selected, the player will embark on an interactive fishing trip at the Koi pond. Armed with a bamboo fishing pole, the player is given between three and six opportunities to catch a Nishikigoi fish, which can earn big rewards.
Mike Hebden, head of casino games at Microgaming, said Monday: Lucky Koi is the first of many new and exciting additions to Microgamings casino games portfolio for 2014 theres plenty more to look forward to in the coming months.
ISRAELI SUCCESS FOR BRITISH BETTING SOFTWARE SUPPLIER
British sports betting software provider LVS Ltd and its French counterpart, lottery solutions specialist Lotsys SAS (a member of the FDJ group) have announced that the Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB), exclusive rights operator for sports betting in Israel, is now live with their systems.
LVS and Lotsys won an international tender to supply advanced betting and lottery platform technology to ISBB in the form of a customised sportsbook, a transactional engine, web and mobile site now live at Winner.co.il.
This solution provides the foundation to sustain ISBBs growth for the next decade, said Zach Fishbein, chairman of ISBB.
The project is part of ISBBs strategy to upgrade its offer to customers and distribute a much broader range of sports and markets. ISBB is enhancing productivity with the sportsbook automation suite and open architecture to enable real-time integration with satellite systems and online services.
ISBB is a very interesting customer; they are sharp and highly skilled in sports betting and IT, said Simon Ordish, LVS CEO. They know what they want and this project was a great opportunity to boost our roadmap.
The ISBB platform is a new generation of betting solution developed on modern yet proven technologies, such as Java and Oracle for the backend and Ruby on Rails for the frontend, and exposes all its services through an open REST API, considerably facilitating integration processes.
Pascal Blyau, LVS managing director and FDJ development director said: While the advanced betting and lottery platform was initially designed for online betting operators, this kind of project allows us to extend the concept into a much more global and multi-channel solution purpose-fitted for sports betting and lottery operators. This is a new class of gaming solution and is becoming a best-seller in the lottery world.