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New Gaming Providers Put a Great Emphasis on VR Slot Games

George Miller

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New Gaming Providers Put a Great Emphasis on VR Slot Games
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The iGaming industry has taken some huge leaps forward in the last few years, with many developers seeking to create the next big thing. We’ve moved from basic three and five-reel video slots to complex grid-based titles loaded with colourful features and unique game mechanics.

But the industry is still evolving, the improvements are still coming, and now, iGaming developers are looking to the exciting worlds of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to create the next big thing.

Virtual Reality in Gambling: How Will it Work?

Imagine walking into a casino. You can hear the relentless and welcoming noise of slot machines, the calls of dealers, and the conversations of happy punters. You find your favourite slot, saddle up, and prepare for a session.

But instead of pushing coins into the machine, you just press a few buttons and your account balance appears before your eyes, reducing slightly every time you hit that glowing “Spin” button.

It’s the future of online casino gambling because while you’re enjoying the lively atmosphere of a real-life casino, you just happen to be sitting in the comfort of your own home, wearing your pyjamas, and connecting to this amazing world via a VR headset and a pair of motion controllers.

VR technology has created endless possibilities for developers and while most of these have revolved around immersive video games and virtual tours, creators are now turning their attention to the online gambling industry, and slots is a huge part of it.

A fully immersive casino environment may be a few years away yet, but the world’s biggest iGaming developers are currently focusing on VR slots, with innovative creators like NetEnt and Betsoft leading the way.

In fact, these games are already out there, but they have been developed by indie creators, use very basic slot setups, and don’t allow real money gambling.

Virtual Reality in Gambling: What are the Challenges?

Surprisingly, the technology is not the biggest challenge that developers face. The tech is there, and while it can be expensive, the amount of money that goes into creating slots is already pretty high and developers are more than happy to pay it.

The biggest issue is that while everyone has a phone and/or a computer, not everyone has a VR headset, which means VR slots appeal to a small minority of players.

Furthermore, there could be some regulatory issues, especially in strict regions like the UK and Sweden. The regulators in this region are investing huge sums of money into responsible gambling programs and clamping down on anyone who breaches their strict rules.

Imagine how they will react when slots become infinitely more immersive. It may be great news for responsible gamblers, but what about problem gamblers? These games have the potential to lock them into a world they may struggle to escape from, and that could raise a number of red flags for the regulators.

The developers will need to find and show proof that these games are not harmful before they can be launched. And even then, they may be subject to stricter responsible gambling requirements, such as regular warnings that flash onto the player’s headset, telling them how long they have been playing and what the risks of irresponsible gambling are.

The good news is that these things are relatively minor when compared to the challenges that developers were facing just a couple of years ago, and those challenges may be even less in a few months or a year.

Conclusion: How Long Do We Have to Wait?

Virtual reality is here and has been for several years. Systems created by Sony (PS VR) Oculus, and HTC draw you into an exciting and immersive world. For the most part, games have been limited to novelties, but a greater number of big-name creators have been developing exclusive titles for these systems and that has helped to put them in the spotlight.

In 2020, for instance, we saw the release of a brand-new, eagerly awaited Half-Life title that was a VR exclusive, and developers are also working on exclusive RPG and adventure games that will change the way these systems are seen.

This is ultimately the thing that will make VR bigger. We have the capability to make grand, glorious, VR slots and table games, to combine Live Dealer creations with VR, and even to give players a fully immersive casino they can explore.

However, all of this comes at a cost and it’s a price that might not be worth paying until more VR headsets are sold and they become more common. Once that happens, the process of creating VR slots and table games will become cheaper and more cost-effective, and that’s when they will become the norm.

It might take a year, it might take half a decade, but it will almost certainly happen and we personally can’t wait!

Eastern Europe

Covid-19 Sets Back Romanian Gambling Industry by Five Years

Niji Narayan

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Covid-19 Sets Back Romanian Gambling Industry by Five Years
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Covid-19 pandemic has set back the Romanian gambling industry by five years, according to the data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

The Romanian gambling operators experienced one of the most severe declines of the last 30 years between March and May this year. The local gambling and entertainment industry fell by about 24% in March 2020 compared to the same period of 2015. The gambling sector’s March turnover was only 57 % of February’s. Then, in April and May, gambling businesses reported almost zero revenue.

“Given the situation, we made the necessary business continuity decisions and decided that the safety of our customers and employees was our main priority. We focused on the long-term business principles and we organized our activity so that we would be able to adapt as quickly as possible to the multitude of changes that occurred during this period. For example, over the past three months we went from ‘closed until further notice’ to being open round the clock and then back to limited opening hours (until 11 PM, later extended to midnight), and we hope to be able to return to our non-stop hours as soon as possible. During all this time, we’ve been focusing on communicating with our clients and employees, for whom we’ve taken extra health and safety measures. Maintaining communication with professional associations and the authorities for accurate information on the latest developments concerning gambling halls was equally important,” Attila “Otto” Török, strategy director at Game World Romania, said.

According to the latest data provided by the National Gambling Office (ONJN), 250 gambling operators are currently active on the Romanian market. They contribute about EUR 600 million to the state budget every year. At the beginning of 2020, there were about 45,000 direct employees of the local gambling industry and a few other thousand worked in related and dependent fields.

“According to Romslot data, for each RON the Romanian gambling industry generates, the upstream and downstream industries – HoReCa, IT&C, security – generate another 5 RON,” Török said.

He added that Game World currently has about 400 employees, while the parent group has a workforce of about 2000.

When talking about the biggest challenges the gambling industry is now facing, Török says these are related to the coronavirus pandemic and the health crisis, even though all operators have strictly implemented all the measures required by authorities to limit the spread of the virus.

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Latest News

Paf Lowers Player Loss Limit Even Further

Niji Narayan

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Paf Lowers Player Loss Limit Even Further
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Paf, the Åland-based gaming operator, has lowered its annual loss limit by another 5000 euros.

Paf is the first international gaming company in the world to introduce a maximum limit for the amount customers can lose in one year. The lowering of the loss limit strengthens the firm’s commitment to responsible gaming.

When Paf first introduced the loss limit in 2018, it was set at 30,000 euros per year. Last year the limit was lowered to 25,000 euros and this year it is lowered even further to 20,000 euros.

“We are proud to have been able to lower our loss limit by as much as a third in just two years. We see that our maximum limit effectively stops big spending players and prevents the personal tragedies that can occur when huge amounts are lost,” Christer Fahlstedt, CEO of Paf, said.

“We are now lowering the loss limit further to show that it is possible to survive as a gaming company without income from the biggest big players. We are a gaming company that sells exciting entertainment for adults without trying to squeeze the last drop of money out of them,” Christer Fahlstedt, added.

The further reduction of the loss limit to 20,000 euros per year also means reduced revenues.

“Paf’s income will decrease by approximately 2-3 million euros. It is a large sum of money for Paf, but more importantly it is good for our customers that we say no to it,” Christer Fahlstedt said.

“We work in an industry that has enormous challenges. Paf has been a pioneer for a long time when it comes to responsible gaming and it is part of our mission to lead the way and be a positive agent of change. The lowering of the loss limit strengthens our leading position alongside the very small number of other gaming companies that have dared to adopt a loss limit,” Christer Fahlstedt added.

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eSports

Fnatic Announces the Appointment of New Chairman, Lucien Boyer

George Miller

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Fnatic Announces the Appointment of New Chairman, Lucien Boyer
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Continues Role as Pace-Setter for Global Esports Performance with The Addition of Top Talent from the Sports and Entertainment Industries

Fnatic, leading London-based esports organisation, today announced the appointment of its new Chairman, Lucien Boyer, who brings decades of success and experience from the sports and entertainment industry. Additionally, the brand has brought on two new hires to support the continued growth of its talent and partnerships division: Soraya Sobh, Head of Talent Management and George Mead, Interim Partnerships Director. These impressive additions bolster the growing Fnatic leadership team to secure its leadership position in the world of esports.

“At Fnatic, we are always on the search for top talent across industries, and we are excited to welcome Lucien to leverage his deep expertise and network within the media and sports landscape,” said Sam Mathews, Founder and CEO of Fnatic. “As a leader in esports performance, we are constantly working towards a more diverse and inclusive future, and we pride ourselves on being an equal opportunity employer as we continue to grow our business in 2020 and beyond. The team looks forward to working closely with both Soraya and George to ensure Fnatic continues to be at the top.”

As the Chairman, Lucien will help support the company’s next phase of growth, advance and develop the brand internationally and continue driving relationships with key stakeholders in the media and entertainment landscape. He is recognised as one of the leading experts in sports and entertainment marketing and is an industry pioneer in sponsorship activation, branded content, experiential marketing, fan engagement and social entertainment. Lucien is co-founder of Inspiring Sport Capital and Chairman of Global Sports Week, an annual international sports event that connects diverse leaders to shake, shape and share the future of the sport economy. Prior to that, Lucien was the Chief Marketing Officer at Vivendi, the leading integrated media, content and communications group and the Global President and CEO of Havas Sports and Entertainment. Lucien will succeed Nick Fry non-executive Chairman, who will remain as an advisor to Fnatic.

“I am humbled to join a highly successful organisation led by such a visionary founder and CEO,” says Lucien Boyer. “There is no doubt that esports represents the most promising new frontier for sports, bringing it closer to the entertainment world. I believe that my unique mix of experience and leadership in brand, sport, media and the entertainment business will help guide Fnatic through the next stage of its success story.”

Lucien’s appointment builds on other reinforcements Fnatic has made to its leadership and management teams this year, particularly in the talent and partnership verticals. Soraya joins Fnatic to continue building out the internal talent management function. Previously, she ran her own artist management agency where she worked with well-known creators such as Above & Beyond and Benny Benassi. This experience, coincided with her entrepreneurial spirit, provides the perfect blend to ensure Fnatic remains the destination of choice for all the best pro-gaming, creator and influencer talent in esports. Soraya is also a recent winner of the Women of the Future (Media) award sponsored by Aviva, and is a previous Music Week 30 Under 30 rising star.

George joins Fnatic following an extensive career with Beko, leading global brand management and partnerships where he spearheaded the Beko #EatLikeAPro campaign with FC Barcelona and UNICEF, which received a series of international industry awards. As Fnatic continues to secure notable, global brand partnerships, George’s prior experience of working with iconic brands and major sports teams brings a strong, knowledgeable perspective to the organisation. With the increased interest of non-endemic brands looking to partner with esports or gaming organisations, George offers an experienced outlook to the table.

“In a young industry and community such as gaming, there are many opportunities to differentiate,” continued Mathews. “At Fnatic, we’re utilising our talent to continue creating a competitive advantage among the biggest brand holders in esports, music and entertainment. Each new hire supports our brand’s larger mission of seeking out, leveling up and amplifying performance-led creators, players and brands for the years to come.”

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