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Happiness is…

…seeing your customers come back for more. Barnaby Page reports on the latest e-gaming loyalty programme


laytech’s Virtue Fusion, which develops and licenses online Bingo, has developed a customer-loyalty system to aid its licensees with player retention.

Rewards can be in the form of extra funds for

play, withdrawable cash, or points which customers can redeem in operator-branded stores. In these, Virtue Fusion suggests offering items like shopping vouchers or tickets to major sporting events.

Also new on the Virtue Fusion Bingo platform is a free-tickets feature, which lets operators target particular players with complimentary games: for example, to promote new rooms, or to entice back users who haven’t visited the service for a while.

“Customer-retention strategies are key to an

operator’s success and the new tools developed by Virtue Fusion will continue to ensure loyalty among players on our worldwide network. These unique products will provide a significant business advantage to our operators and players will enjoy a real point of difference on their platforms,” said Bob McCulloch, Virtue Fusion’s Chief Executive.

The firm offers Bingo in a dozen languages

and seven currencies. But it’s not just Bingo operators who can benefit from schemes like this: land-based casinos making the move online, in particular, will find that such programmes form the obvious equivalent to comps, and can even be integrated with land- based comping policies.

Over the Irish Sea

One Internet gambling company that’s not so happy is Betfair, the online betting

30 APRIL 2011

exchange whose shares have been traded on the London Stock Exchange since last autumn, and the reason for its unhappiness is the British tax regime.

Although it will keep its corporate base in

west London, it now plans to operate under a Gibraltar licence, and relocate its data centre to Dublin.

Although it’s primarily a sports-betting service, Betfair’s decision could ring warning bells with all kinds of gaming operators considering a UK location. It claims that just by moving, it will grow its profits by £10m ($16m) in 2012, and double that amount in subsequent years.

For although it will still be liable to British

corporation tax, it will avoid the 15% levy on gross profit that the UK imposes on gambling operators. It follows William Hill and Ladbrokes, two major British land-based sports-betting operations, which moved their Internet divisions away from the UK in 2009. And, of course, many e-gaming firms with online casino operations have chosen jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Malta or the Isle of Man.

“It was always inevitable. Shareholders

naturally want the best return on their capital, and they will have been asking the question whether paying a 15% tax in the UK is worth it. The tax rate in the UK market is too high. Even bet365 [the only major e- gambling operation left in the UK] has moved significant parts of its business offshore,” Warwick Bartlett, CEO of the gaming consultancy GBGC, was quoted as saying.

Although a reduction in the tax rate would reduce one revenue stream for the

government, luring e-gaming operators back to Britain would also mean the creation of jobs, he pointed out – bringing both revenue and social benefits.

Playtech for Integra

Playtech has become the exclusive e-gaming platform provider for Malta-registered operator Integra Gaming’s Grand Duke Casino. It will now offer players more than 150 Playtech games.

Greece’s nitty-gritty

Greece’s government, edging toward legalisation of Internet gaming as well as video lottery terminals (VLTs), has dropped the planned “black period” from its draft legislation.

Had it been implemented, the black period

would have required licence applicants to call a halt to their business until they received approval.

It has also altered its tax proposals, dropping the idea of a 30% levy on gross profits and opting instead for a six percent tax on turnover, after pressure from the Remote Gambling Association.

Companies wanting to obtain a Greek licence will need to be incorporated there, and have minimum share capital of ¤400,000 ($563,000) as well as a letter of credit for ¤200,000 ($281,000) before they can apply.

On the operations side, Athens has also made a couple of changes to the way games will be offered to the public, reducing minimum bet levels but requiring a player ID card.

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