Issue N6, 2010

February 10, 2010

Microgaming Announces Sequel to Thunderstruck

Iconic online gambling giant, Microgaming said that it would roll out a sequel to its all-time popular game, Thunderstruck, which has been wowing the crowds since 2003 when it was first launched. The group said that the new game has been meticulously planned to bring out the best of the original’s features, all the while introducing innovative new features. The new game should be available in the coming months, according to Microgaming.

The Chief Executive Officer of Microgaming, Roger Raatgever, commented on the new game’s release and said: “We are truly excited about the release of the sequel to the hugely popular Thunderstruck Video Slot. The quality of graphics and special features are already looking out of this world!”

“We are extremely proud of the brands that we have developed ourselves; Thunderstruck is a prime example of this,” added the CEO. “The game will contain unrivalled graphics, innovative game play and the best possible user experience, with an optimal screen resolution of 1024 x 768.  We expect to see the same level of success from the sequel as we did from the original.”

No final date has been given for the game’s release, although industry experts are waiting with baited breath.

Mastercard Blocks Online Gambling Payment

Mastercard, the credit card payment processor, has shown signs of clamping down on internet gambling sites by blocking payments by players trying to transfer funds for their gaming entertainment. Although no official announcement has been made by Mastercard on the issue, online casino and poker sites have reported that players are having no luck paying with their Mastercards. Some sites have already removed the Mastercard logo from their payment options.

It is believed that Mastercard has attempted in the past to block payments but has not, until now, been able to figure out the codes that online gambling sites use to get around the online gambling payment transfer ban. In the meantime, Poker Stars, one of the leading US facing online poker rooms, denied that it falsely codes transactions to allow the use of Mastercard.

“Poker Stars does not, nor ever has engaged in the practices of miscoded credit card transactions,” said the poker room in a statement. “We have therefore been unaffected by any crackdown by Visa or Master Card to close down such miscoded processing accounts.”

It is believed that Visa, Mastercard’s rival, will follow suit and also try to block online gambling payments.

Betfair to Roll Out New Games

Leading UK gambling and sports betting group, Betfair, announced that it would be rolling out new games in its arcade section in the future. This is as a result of a deal signed between Betfair and Mazooma, a subsidiary of the Bell Fruit Group. The new games will include popular titles such as Snakes and Ladders and Cops ‘n Robbers.

“We are delighted to enter into this partnership agreement with Mazooma,” said David Rushton, the Head of Games Commercial Development at Betfair. “With Mazooma’s games proven in the off-line world over many years, we’re very confident that by offering them in the Betfair Arcade we’ll continue to provide our customers with the most engaging and entertaining portfolio of games available.”

Tony Oliver, the Managing Director of Mazooma said: “We are looking to create sustainable partnerships with leading brands to enable us to maximize our content exposure. Betfair has had huge success in the market place with a large and loyal customer base. We feel we can deliver compelling new content for their customers and are looking to provide further well-known titles very soon.”

China Seeks to Clamp Down on Internet Gambling

Despite its tough stance on internet gambling, and the difficulty that the country’s citizens have to access online casinos, the government has announced an even greater clampdown on the industry in the hope of obliterating it completely from Chinese society. A top government official, Huang Ming, who serves as the head of the Ministry of Public Security held a conference this week and explained that eight central government departments have joined together to target “major and severe cases, uproot domestic and foreign groups that organize online gambling, and severely punish criminals.”

Focus would also be placed on “underground banks and third party payment platforms that provide banking services to gambling groups.”

This is not the first time that the Chinese authorities have launched a wide scale anti online gambling campaign, yet players always seem to find a way to access their favorite sites and enjoy online wagering. Earlier this month, the police charged 17 people with operating illegal casinos. Newspaper reports say that $22 million was fueled into the casinos in a space of four months. The fight against online gambling will be difficult, to say the least, since many of the casinos and payment processors are situated offshore.

Casino News, February 2010