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BettingBusinessInteractive • OCTOBER 2010 iGaming Virtual gifts

The social features available on Dragonfish-powered bingo net- works have been enhanced by the addition of virtual gifts in chat rooms that are paid for by loyalty points rather than the player’s bankroll.

Good Pickup for GTECH G2

Electracade Cozy on phones

Electracade will see its games of- fered through Cyprus-based Cozy Games via the iPhone, Android, iPad platforms and other smart phone devices after the two firms signed a partnership deal.

GTECH G2 has ap- pointed Wayne Pickup to help sell its online gam- bling solutions to the members of the World Lottery Associa- tion. He has a background in lot- tery operations in New Zealand and Europe.

Paddy Power partnership

GameAccount Network has launched its casino games, including Pro Blackjack and Roulette Royale, on Paddy Power’s games website. The company has been supplying gaming software since 2004 and is ‘delighted to strengthen its relation- ship further’.


B2B 31

International appeal Virtue Fusion’s Bob McCulloch discusses the upturn in fortunes in the online bingo sector and life under Playtech ownership.

ob McCulloch, CEO of Playtech-owned Virtue Fusion Alderney (VFA), believes that while government policies and technological advancements which have facilitated the rise of online bingo, it is im- portant to look at the appeal of the product itself.


McCulloch said that for operators, bingo is a very versatile game, yet for players it is very sociable. He explained: “It is great fun and the potential rewards and prizes far outweigh the cost to play. Bookmakers and operators have been quick to acknowledge online bingo’s appeal and it has become a vital tool for cross-selling to casino, poker, sportsbook or other online gaming plat- forms.

“Another important factor is the low risk to operators and their ability to offer prizes otherwise well beyond their means. More than £1bn will be paid out by VFA operators this year to bingo and slots players, exclud- ing any networked jackpot contributions. Such liability for single operators is prohib-

itive - but it is possible thanks to a network with the scale of Virtue Fusion Alderney’s.” McCulloch thinks that originally online bingo filled a niche for operators, but that its popularity is spreading. “The game origi- nally appealed to a younger, more female- orientated audience, which wasn’t typical of a gaming industry dominated by sports- book and poker. However, the crossover and player convergence we are witnessing means that this is no longer the case, and bingo continues to broaden its appeal.” The firm recently launched a Block- busters game on the Meccabingo site and McCulloch said that familiarity of well- loved brands brings games mass appeal. “Players have loved the bingo versions of their favourite TV programme or film,” he commented. “A number of Virtue Fusion Alderney players will have grown up watching Blockbusters so they will be en- couraged to give it a try. Player nostalgia heightens the appeal of these games, and our latest bingo versions of Britain’s Got Talent, Deal or No Deal and Big Brother

have proven instrumental in generating higher levels of player acquisition and re- tention.”

It was only earlier this year that VFA was snapped up by Playtech, but McCulloch is revelling in the new situation. He ex- plained: “Playtech’s business model is one which enables Virtue Fusion Alderney to have the autonomy and freedom to focus on what it does best: developing and man- aging a market-leading bingo network. Both teams have therefore been at pains to preserve the unique qualities and customer experience that VFA has developed over the past decade. The process has been about technology integration and identify- ing areas of synergy and cross-selling op- portunities. It has been more a process of assimilation than great change, and we do not expect our style to materially alter going forward.” He added “One of Playtech’s key strengths is its single technology platform which allows an operator to manage a broad range of products from the same in-

tegrated player management platform, eas- ily adding bingo to a casino or poker offer- ing, or vice versa. As a consequence, oppor- tunities for cross-selling are substantial for both companies.”

McCulloch said that Virtue Fusion Alder-

ney’s geographic horizon has expanded dramatically thanks to Playtech’s cus- tomer base, which encompasses many of the leading industry operators. In the UK, this includes the recent launch of Betfair’s flash casino and a gaming machine deal with Ladbrokes already a Virtue Fusion customer, and internationally across the major bingo markets of Scandinavia and Southern Europe.

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