It’s been another great quarter for online gamblers, with an eclectic range of new offerings from the industry’s software provider, so let’s get right to what’s new on internet casinos.
Party Gaming has continued to beef up its casino offerings with the release of a big, multi-featured and interactive slot titled ‘The Circus’, in which the player can choose from four different role playing story-lines in pursuing some grand opportunities for reward that include four bonus games per character.
Circus unlocks more features as the game progresses, empowering players to improve on their skills and their fortunes. The game has a useful function through which the progress of a player can be saved, enabling him or her to return later and take up where he/she left off.
WinADay, a 3D casino that uses proprietary software, launched Roulette 5, an American roulette offering that features five wheels, giving players five chances to win on a single spin. This enterprising young company also capitalised on St. Patrick’s Day by releasing a new 5 reel, 31 pay-line slot branded ‘Leprechaun Luck.’
Latvian developer CTXM kept up the pressure of its regular new game releases with a football themed slot in good time to mark the soccer World Cup in June. ‘Soccer Spins’, is well themed and entertaining, with a range of standard features that includes bonuses. Soccer Spins was accompanied by a game with a military theme and similar features titled ‘Battleground Spins’. CTXM says that both games will later be offered to iPhone and mobile clients.
The Latvian company, which provides games to other platforms, also clinched a deal to deliver a range of fresh games to a new, well-funded online casino just launched within the poker client by Power Poker and branded PowerVegas. Apparently the launch in Cannes was spectacular.
The giant Austrian online gambling group Bwin Interactive also marked the football World Cup scheduled for June in South Africa, releasing a skill game called ‘World Cup Solitaire’, in which players pair cards to reach a total of 13.
Canadian software developer Chartwell Technology can always be relied upon to produce new material, and they did not fail in the current quarter. The company released ‘The Italian Job’, a fun-filled 9 line slot inspired by the famous Paramount movie classic of 1969. The company has promised another new 9- liner – ‘Sleepy Hollow’ – in the near future.
In mid-April Chartwell was back with a new games package comprising 5 slots, three progressives and 2 multiplayer table games. Flagship releases in the package included ‘Agent Max Cash’, ‘Texas Hold’Em Bonus’ and a Flash-based duo of baccarat and blackjack. The package was not solely Chartwell-developed, featuring also games from the Astra and Ash game providers.
The quaintly named Seattle software company Candywriter joined the many companies looking to the iPhone for extended coverage, launching an amusing and entertaining app based on Texas Hold’Em and titled ‘Dogs Playing Poker’.
Multi-hand blackjack is a new version of the genre released on Lady Lucks.co.uk for mobile gamblers by UK-listed company Probability plc. The mobile gambling specialist also reached agreement with mobile technology firm Mobenga, which is to carry Probability games.
Staying with the mobile sector, Microgaming associate Spin3 launched the popular Arthurian legend-themed slot ‘Avalon’ to its mobile licensees.
Arguably the internet’s most prolific scratch card game developer, Neogames has been busy throughout the second quarter, launching two 5 line scratchcard games in ‘Fair Play’ and ‘The Grand Crown’, along with a witchcraft-themed game titled ‘Esmeralda.’ The company followed this with ‘Master Mix’ and ‘Spy Comics’ – the former is the first 10-line multi scratch game from this developer and is built up of ten separate rows, each containing four balls. If one selected row matches what the dealer produces, the player wins.
Microgaming finally released what was probably the most player-anticipated game of the year so far in Thunderstruck II – a massively featured upgrade on its radical and very popular 2003 slot of the same name. The software company teased players with tidbits on the game through licensees and at a major industry expo in January, finally releasing it in May.
Prior to that, Microgaming kept up a barrage of new releases and bingo side games for its licensees. The offerings included Mega Moolah Isis – a well proved 5 reel 20 pay-line progressive, and the 3 reel, single pay-line Fruit Smoothies. The company’s 5 reel, 50 pay-line Suga Mama and 5 reel, 30 pay-line Magic Multiplier slots were followed by 3 new bingo side games in Wasabi-san, Supe it Up and Fruit Bingo.
The latest feature rich slots from this dynamic developer are the 5 reel, 9 pay-line ‘Queen of the Jungle’ which has a comical jungle and wild animal theme, and ‘Lady in Red’ a 5 reel, 25 pay-line game with marvellous sound and an unusual theme that evokes the great swing and jazz singers of the ‘Thirties.
Despite being embroiled with its software provider Boss Media in a legal dispute, Gaming VC’s Casino Club added three new games in the 5 reel, 10 pay-line progressive slots Crazy Wizard and Twenty Seven, and a video poker offering branded Cash Climb, which has an entertaining format in which the player climbs a mountain to win 20 free games and prizes.
The ever-popular Wagerworks company launched the latest addition to its Monopoly-themed line of internet and mobile games in Monopoly Multiplier. The game has a 3 x 3 math model with 27 pay-lines, where three matching symbols across the 3 reels win. This multi-featured game includes a bonus element that can deliver 25 x multiplier rewards.
The company also followed up on the great interest its ICEi stand generated by releasing a 5 reel, 30 pay-line online version of IGT’s famous land slot ‘Kitty Glitter’, duplicating the outstanding graphics and sound effects.
Wagerworks scored a big contract during the quarter to provide Betfair’s Arcade with a slew of games such as Cashino and Rainbow Riches.
Over at Rival Games, the developers made a timely i-slot release just in time for St. Patrick’s Day in ‘Shamrock Isle’, a 5 reel, 20 pay-line game in which a massive 125 free spins can apparently be won, and there are three second screen bonus opportunities.
Rival licensees have also begun launching a new 3 reel World Cup-oriented slot titled ‘Global Cup.’
The Bodog group punted a new range of 20 ‘tweaked’ RTG games that included China, Mega Wild, Face the Ace VP and speciality games like Jackpot 7 and Bingo Scratch.
From Belarus, Viaden Media launched a series of new offerings in its Viaden Legend Slots range, promising that it would maintain a release rate of a game a month going forward.
Affiliates of 888 Holdings licensees have been stocking up their sites with an interesting new promotional aid – a marketing minigame called Damned Small Blackjack, developed by a company titled….Damned Small Games.
The British IGT subsidiary Barcrest hit a topical note on the run-up to the British general elections, releasing an amusing game called ‘Poll Position’ which featured icons based on UK politicians.
In March, veteran software provider Cryptologic released its latest Marvel-inspired slot Thor Jackpot. The game has outstanding graphics and is networked to 3-level jackpots linked to 6 other Marvel-themed games.
Another veteran industry software provider, Costa Rica-based Real Time Gaming, offered its latest slots in the 5 reel, 25 pay-line ‘Lucky Last’ and ‘Hockey Heroes’ – two rich-featured slots with two jackpots each.
Everest Casino, part of the GigaMedia group at the time, launched its seventh progressive slot called ‘Club Vegas’ with a music and dancing theme and a generous bonus round.
Betsoft released its 12th 3D slot in ‘Mr. Vegas’. The game theme features a debonair gambler in Las Vegas, and bonus rounds include classic Vegas table games like roulette, along with a new concept of a ‘mini-slot within a slot’.
Getting in on the burgeoning iPhone action, top poker ace Annie Duke had her ‘Poker Tutor’ app accepted by the bulging iPhone App Store.
Betfair has also gone after the iPhone channel, claiming to be the first to have a sports betting app accepted by the iPhone App Store.
Online gamblers have once again been spoilt for choice with this wide second quarter range of gambling styles and providers…and judging by the undiminished activity among the providers there’s more to come in the months ahead.