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Top 5 High Variance Slots For 2020 So Far

George Miller

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Top 5 High Variance Slots For 2020 So Far
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The high variance slots market is home to some of the most exciting gameplay in the casino industry right now. The popularity of these high risk slots has been driven by talented studios like Big Time Gaming who revolutionised this niche with their Megaways™ game format, and by the exposure that gambling streamers have given the games through their live feeds on sites like Twitch.tv. High variance games are all about drama – fast, high paying action played out in big win sequences that are very irregular, but massively rewarding when they strike. In 2019 more studios jumped on the bandwagon to produce games with super-high variance ratings and big top payouts. And this year, the golden age of high variance has continued with more features and higher payout potential across the board.

So, to keep you up to date with the action so far we’ve chosen our top 5 high variance games for 2020.

 

Royal Mint Megaways™ – Big Time Gaming

Popular slot game and casino site review magazine, The Casino Heat, recently referred to Royal Mint Megaways™ as ‘the quintessential Big Time Gaming slot’, and loading it up and checking out the gameplay for the first time it’s not hard to see why. Royal Mint, which takes its inspiration from the famous London coin factory, brings together all the best features created by this Australian game developer – expanding reels creating 117,649 paylines, Cascading Wins, Free Spins, Multipliers and the Heartstopper™ Enhanced Free Spins format first aired in their Lil Devil slot. The game has a 40,000x top advertised payout, making it potentially one of the biggest paying slots of the year.

 

Pink Elephants 2 – Thunderkick

Back in 2017 Pink Elephants was Scandanavian developer Thunderkick’s take on the 4,096 win ways format used in slots like Raging Rhino. But it had a twist – aside from the psychedelic theme, there were added thrills in the free spins round where collecting glowing ‘orbs’ led to symbol upgrades, enhanced reels, and much higher payouts. It’s a game that is particularly memorable to play and continues to be popular three years on. So of course slots fans are thrilled at the prospect of a follow-up, due for release in the first week of May. The action has moved to a mountain setting and meerkat symbols are replaced with goats, but apart from that the game works in pretty much the same way, only with an improved jackpot of 10,000x.

 

Punk Rocker – Nolimit City

The NoLimit City game studio is a relative newcomer to the scene in comparison to other names, but they are really starting to make their mark in 2020. Punk Rocker is one of their best releases to date, taking its theme from the London music scene that spawned bands like the Sex Pistols. It’s full of Banksy-type illustrations of English icons too, including Churchill, drawn against the backdrop of the London Underground. But graphics aside, it’s the stacks of features that have made Punk Rocker so popular. There are Mystery Symbols, Re-Spins, two Free Spins rounds, and Multipliers and Jumping Wilds to enhance the basic gameplay and push the win potential up to 8,000x.

 

Hellcatraz – Relax Gaming

Relax Gaming, who produce their own games as well as running the Silver Bullet platform, are starting to create some really top high variance titles too. They have three Megaways™ slots under license from BTG under their belts, and Hellcatraz is their newest high volatility product. It has been designed like an 80s Atari game with 8-bit graphics and a backdrop that evokes San Fransisco Bay and the notorious Alcatraz prison island, home to murderers and mobsters. What’s interesting about Hellcatraz is the gamification format – players must collect 2,000 key symbols to unlock the bonus round where free spins come with mystery symbols and an enhanced paytable with a top prize of 50,000x.

 

Heroes Hunt Megaways™ – Fantasma Games

Fantasma Games partnered up with Relax Gaming to utilise their Megaways™ license and deliver this slot on the Silver Bullet platform in April 2020.  Heroes Hunt has a Dungeons and Dragons type theme, with Wizard and Warrior heroes who all have superpowers. Players pick which hero they want to activate at the start of the game, and others can be activated throughout. It’s an exciting enhancement to standard gameplay and with Expanding Wilds, Re-Spins and Multipliers to drive the wins, this slot is a thrilling ride for high risk fanatics. With 46,656 paylines and a top payout of 26,000x Heroes Hunt is getting a lot of attention and will surely be one of the top games of the year.

 

Industry News

ECA Postpones European Dealer Championship Until 2022

Niji Narayan

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ECA Postpones European Dealer Championship Until 2022
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

In light of the continued uncertainty regarding international travel and the viability of in-person events due to the ongoing pandemic, the Board of the European Casino Association (ECA) has announced the cancellation of this year’s European Dealer Championship (Monte-Carlo, October 4-8) and ECA Industry Forum (Vienna, November 31-December 3), with both events postponed until 2022.

While no fixed dates can be supplied at this time, the ECA assures members that the European Dealer Championship will return in April/May 2022, followed by the ECA Industry Forum in September/October 2022.

“Health and safety have always been our top priority and the continued uncertainty created by the pandemic makes the postponement of our in-person events the prudent decision. We needed to put down our foot and make this decision now considering the scale of these events and the efforts that are going into organizing and executing them. While we regret the cancellations this year, we look forward to the prospect of EU-wide vaccination programmes lifting current travel restrictions to enable us to reunite with our members in 2022,” ECA Chair Per Jaldung said.

“The ECA Dealer Championship brings together the best dealers from all over Europe in the spirit of healthy competition, while the Industry Forum is a special get-together for industry stakeholders, suppliers and researchers to celebrate the collaborative nature of this business. We believe these events will be more important than ever in 2022 as the industry rebounds from the pandemic and seeks to address the challenges of the ‘new’ future,” Hermann Pamminger, Secretary-General of ECA, said.

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Industry News

DoubleUp Group Selects Fast Track for CRM Solutions

Niji Narayan

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DoubleUp Group chooses Fast Track CRM for player engagement on flagship brand
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Fast Track has signed a deal to provide its customer relationship management (CRM) solution to the new online casino brand of the DoubleUp Group.

DoubleUp Group strives to simplify the user experience. Using their expertise in tech, the team is always on the lookout for ways to improve the player experience. This creates seamless experiences, allowing players to “dive straight into the fun.” Their intuitive new online casino brand is set to launch this May.

Fast Track will support DoubleUp Group’s new launch with their real-time player engagement platform, allowing the team to implement automation across CRM activities and efficiently scale this as the brand grows. This includes the use of Fast Track’s in-house solution for on-site notifications to create “in the moment” engagements and experiences for their players.

“We chose Fast Track because they offer a flexible solution that can power the dynamic engagements that are vital to creating a memorable player experience. We want our team to harness the full extent of their creativity and not be limited by the capabilities of default tools. Fast Track will give them this freedom, allowing them to maximise player engagement,” Ale Rollo, Managing Director of DoubleUp Group, said.

“We share a lot of the same values as DoubleUp; we are constantly looking at how products and processes can be improved, and don’t settle for the status quo. We know they have ambitious plans for their brand and we are ready to support them in making it a success,” Christopher Hirst, Co-founder of Fast Track, said.

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Industry News

FDJ Reports 5.2% Rise in Revenue in Q1 2021

Niji Narayan

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FDJ Reports 5.2% Rise in Revenue in Q1 2021
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French gaming giant La Française des Jeux (FDJ) has reported a year-on-year rise in revenue and stakes during its first quarter, despite continuing restrictions on retail activity related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Total revenue for the three months to March 31 amounted €537.6m, up 5.2% from €511.2m in the same period last year. Gross gaming revenue was up by 5.1% year-on-year to €525.9m, while revenue from other activities jumped 10.7% from €10.6m to €11.8m.

FDJ said the rise in revenue was driven by an increase in stakes, with players spending a total of €4.6bn, up 11.8% from €4.11bn in Q1 of last year, despite the operator facing longer restrictions related to the pandemic than the same period in 2020.

However, despite the limitations, player spending was up across all areas of the group, most notably in sports betting, where stakes hiked 46.1% to €1.1bn, helped by the return of the traditional sports calendar after disruption in the latter part of Q1 2020.

Lottery remained FDJ’s main source of income with stakes here rising 3.8% to €3.46bn, or 10.0% when excluding the Amigo game, which is offered in bars. FDJ said the closure of bars and other Covid-19 measures had a significant impact on Amigo, with stakes down 50%.

Draw-based game stakes were up 2.6% year-on-year to €1.3bn, while instant games stakes also increase 4.6% to €2.1bn

In terms of where customers were gambling, land-based operations remained the most popular source, with stakes here rising 5.7% to €4.0bn, despite the restrictions. Digital stakes jumped 64.7% to €1.4bn as more players turned to online during the quarter.

Players won a total of €3.20bn gambling with FDJ during the quarter, up 13.7% from €2.81bn in the same period last year. This left €1.40bn in gross gaming revenue and after paying €915.7m in public levies, revenue stood at €537.6m.

“Despite the enduring impact of the health situation on the environment, the first quarter confirmed the good trends in our business, with stakes exceeding the levels recorded before the crisis,” FDJ chairwoman and chief executive Stéphane Pallez said.

“After reaching almost 10% of our global stakes in 2020, digital stakes continue to grow at a strong rate whereas our network activity is maintained. The events program for lottery and a busy sporting calendar, including Euro 2021 in football, should allow this momentum to continue in the months to come.”

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