Festive Season Enriches Online Gambling Industry

New games and casinos hit the market

This holiday season was very innovative and generous to online gamblers, who had a chance to indulge a variety of new games but also explore some new places to play at.

A new Microgaming-powered poker variant came from Carmen Media Group - Caribbean Draw Poker, a five-card draw video poker using one standard 52-card deck. The game sees the player competing against the house dealer, and it consists of two games: the main five-card draw game, and an optional side bet, which may bring you the progressive jackpot. The game prides itself in its superb graphics, digital sound effects and slick gameplay, joining Microgaming's quality Gold Series.

A new, South African-oriented download online casino was released by Swedish provider Net Entertainment. The casino titled Betwize.com also offers an EveryMatrix-powered sports betting facility, and it enables download and browser-based play, as well as full player services and generous promos.

A Costa Rica-based online software provider RealTime Gaming, which has lately often been seen engaged in disputes with players, also released a South African-facing online casino: ClubSA, which is owned by a Curacao licensed company in Salford, England.

Another software provider saw its operator suite enlarged. Rival has released three new white labels licensed in Curacao and owned by Bonne Chance NV, which already has some ten casinos.

Bet Cave.com and Casino Lust.com are US friendly casinos (however, neither accept Canadians), featuring rather similar designs and offering a variety of games, from video, classic and i-slots to blackjack, roulette, video poker and specialty games. Vegas2Web Casino.com is a South African-oriented online casino licensed in Curacao and owned Silverstone Overseas from Folkestone, UK. All casinos support the usual Rival games suite of over 100 games, as well as full services and a tempting sign up bonus.

Rival also had a good season in terms of games – it enlarged its offering by two slots: Reel Party Platinum, a 5 reel, 15 pay-line slot based on the original Reel Party slot and Japan-O-Rama, a 20 pay-line, 5-reel i-slot that features bonus rounds with different Japanese themes, expanding wilds and unique animations for each icon that lands in a row of 4 or 5.

Certain novelties came from Playtech, as well. They released two new casinos a few weeks before the end of the year; Winner Casino.com and City Tower Casino.com boast full player facilities and an impressive and diverse suite of games. Winner Casino is licensed in Curacao and owned by Curacao-based Zirconium Gaming Limited. On the other side, the casino thought to be a sister to City Club and Crown Europe, City Tower is owned by a Curacao registered company branded Seagate NV. Both offer attractive sign up bonuses.

The recently relaxed Italian market has been attractive for a number of big industry names. One of them is online gambling operator Unibet, which released its Italian platform on Unibet.it targeting Italian players with its Sit & Go, scheduled and multi-table poker tournaments on the Ongame P5 Poker Engine. The platform will be complemented with poker cash games, casino offerings and sports betting in 2011.

Unibet CEO Henrik Tjärnström on this occasion said: “Re-launching our operations, using our own technology and joining Ongame network is the first step of our market re-entry in Italy. With the imminent introduction of cash games, we see great value in the Italian market.”

The deal between Unibet and Ongame Italy is an extension of the partnership, as Unibet has already announced its intentions to join Ongame Network France.

Another operator was active in the Italian market – it was former Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment and now Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which announced its partnership with Microgame S.p.A., Italy's largest poker network operator. The deal refers to marketing of the World Series of Poker brand in Italy with online and offline poker tournaments and promotions, and it is believed that with Microgame’s network online and at retail, a great number of new players will be attracted to poker.

WSOP and People’s Poker brands will be used to co-brand a network of over 120 online poker sites, People’s Poker, which will serve as the online hub for poker playing in the Italian market.

Wagerworks was also prepared for the holiday season, and it treated its players with an interesting slot release based on a famous television show series Pyramid and already popular in land casino slot machines manufactured by its parent IGT.

100 000 Pyramid is an enhanced version of The 50,000 Pyramid – one of the company’s most successful online games. It is paid on 15 paylines, and the maximum prize is 100,000x line bet. The game features a bonus, multipliers and free spins.

TotalESoft Ltd.,UK has presented a new site titled Totally Wicked-Casino.com, whose offering includes slots, poker, craps and roulette. The casino is available in 16 languages and a number of currencies. It was stated by the company that additional branding and a dedicated online poker website will be added to the site in 2011. The group of which the casino is part is also called Totally Wicked, and it is oriented in various directions, which include electronic cigarettes.

Last but not the least come BetonSoft and Dragonfish, which also showed a considerable amount of activity during the season. BetonSoft released a new slot (a precursor to its most popular game Alpha Squad), about the early life of the super hero leader, Captain Shockwave. On the other side, Dragonfish network got a new member – an online bingo site licensed in Gibraltar, titled White Rose Bingo.com. The site offers 75-ball bingo, 90-ball bingo, slots, video poker, instant and table games.

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