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HungryBear – real-money Slot Masters Q&A



HungryBear – real-money Slot Masters Q&A
Reading Time: 5 minutes


In the dynamic online gaming sphere, HungryBear stands out as a true trailblazer, spearheading innovation in game design and development with its Slot Masters product. Hailed as the very first multiplayer slot game on the market, it is now set to further revolutionise the online casino sector with an upcoming real-money version, alongside a peer-to-peer mechanic that will allow players to go head-to-head with their friends as they battle for prizes.

Here Justin Chamberlain, HungryBear’s CEO, delves into the development journey behind the upcoming real-money Slot Masters and discusses how it is set to change the face of slot gaming in exciting ways.


Why is there such demand for multiplayer slots right now?

I’d like to think that the buzz and discussion – which there is a lot of – is primarily being driven by us. I’ve seen a lot of people popping up on different podcasts and in different interviews talking about multiplayer being the future, and a lot of people are promising that it’s coming. But, as we sit here right now, we’re still the only multiplayer slots offering in the space.

We’ve established the genre and proved that there’s appetite from the player. We recently hit 1.6 million unique players across our network in 12 months, and they’ve played approximately 1.3 billion spins. I’ve insisted from day one that single-player slots have a limitation – certainly demographically, as younger audiences have grown up playing multiplayer games such as Minecraft and Fortnite. For people up to 25, maybe 30 years of age, all they know and all they want to play is multiplayer, and I think that translates to this space now.


Let’s look at Slot Masters itself as a product. For those who aren’t familiar with it, how does the concept work?

At its heart it’s still a slot, so a slot player is going to understand the game when they first start playing. It’s a set of reels, they spin and you collect points instead of cash, as it’s not real money yet. That was a really important, fundamental piece of bringing this product to market after 20 years of developing slots. One thing I’ve learned is that slot players don’t like a game that doesn’t look like a slot. You can build a game on a slot engine but if it doesn’t look like a slot, typically, they won’t play it. We came to market with that principle at the forefront of our product.

On top of that, it allows for three players to play together and instead of all passively spinning and scoring points upon a leaderboard, Slot Masters allows players to steal points from each other in a timed, typically two-minute window. For example, me, you and somebody else would join a game together, with two minutes to score points. We’ve each got an equal number of weapons available to us – I can bomb your points back to zero, or I can steal your 10,000 points. You can steal them back, raid half your points, or freeze game windows.

Ultimately, it’s still a slot, but it takes those competitive, gamification elements and brings them into play – and that is exciting. Where we’re heading in the future is building a real peer-to-peer game, where I can invite you and a friend to come and play in one game together. That “playing against a friend” element will take it to another level.


What’s the challenge in making that a reality? Does it require a change in the product development process?

It’s in development right now. What we had to bring to market first was a really simplified version of the product. The game was originally designed around ten years ago, but we couldn’t bring it to market then as processing power in mobile phones wasn’t strong enough, and it just wasn’t possible. We took Slot Masters back off the shelf around two years ago and decided right now is the time to do it. There wasn’t a demand for multiplayer ten years ago, but what we had to bring to market was the easiest, simplest version of this product, and that’s what you see on Ladbrokes and other sites.

There’s no risk to the player – they enter for nothing and get the chance to win free spins. The next step of where we’re headed is that product in real money, and peer-to-peer. That’s in development right now. We’ve overcome the biggest challenge so far, and that was just the initial step of bringing a multiplayer product into a live environment. It doesn’t matter how good your product is in internal tests – you don’t know if it’ll stand up until you put it live with an operator.

Today, there will be between 35,000-40,000 people playing Slot Masters. We have to learn how to stand up to that volume, because each one of those players on average is playing 12 times a day. All of these games are happening simultaneously, and our servers can be absolutely hammered by database requests and so forth. Learning how to do that and deliver a stable solution for the operator is the hardest part. Moving that to real money is relatively simple in comparison – the biggest challenge is certification, and then moving that to peer-to-peer isn’t a huge step.


You have a sportsbook version of Slot Masters live with Ladbrokes – Clash of the Day. How is that being perceived by bettors instead of typical casino slot players?

Really well! The original idea behind that product came after the sports betting team at Ladbrokes approached us. They’d seen the success on the casino side, and it was pitched as an opportunity to put a slot game in a sportsbook setting for the very first time, which typically they don’t do. We went into a pretty substantial six-month development period with that team to make the product fit their fanzone system and appeal to the typical sports betting punter.

One of the most unique things about Clash of the Day is that you get to play as your Premier League team. When you become a Fanzone member on Ladbrokes, you tell them what your chosen team is and play on their behalf. We took that a step further with OPAP in Greece, where they wanted a certain leaderboard system – so not only do you play on behalf of your team for daily prizes, you also play on a second leaderboard to help drive your team to the top.

That’s one way we’ve moved our product into a much bigger part of the industry. We’ve only just gone live with these versions, but they’re going to be a very big part of our sales for next year. Football is only one skin of this product, but we’re talking to a lot of people in different jurisdictions about re-skinning it for basketball, American football, ice hockey and so on. I think it’ll be a big one for us next year, because of the amount of permutations we can drive off the back of that.


In terms of a real-money version of Slot Masters, is it a case of working alongside game studios and their IPs, or are you developing your own content around that?

The main deal we have now is with Blueprint, which is just beginning to bear fruit. We’re readying a launch in December with a big tier-one operator who I won’t name yet. The real money version will bleed into those IP deals, but at the moment, the demand we’ve had from operators is purely for the real-money version of the product because it is working so well as a free-to-play acquisition engagement tool. We know the players are there, and we know they engage every day, so the operators and HungryBear are all very confident that once we’ve got a real-money version, they’ll convert to spend on that same product.

We now have the green light from GLI (Gaming Labs International) that the Slot Masters version we submitted to them for testing is compliant with UK regulations, so we now know that we can bring the product to market. We’ve pioneered and led with free-to-play, and we’re still the only offering in the market. We’re now working on the real-money build for this game which is really exciting.


“Our Product is Young, Flexible, and Dynamic” – Anhelina Stasiuk on the Future of the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator



“Our Product is Young, Flexible, and Dynamic” - Anhelina Stasiuk on the Future of the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator
Reading Time: 3 minutes


European Gaming met with Anhelina Stasiuk after her appointment as Head of Business Line at the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator to learn about her plans for the product. In this interview, Anhelina shares her vision for expanding the client base, enhancing player engagement, and maintaining top-notch service and technological innovation.


Congratulations on your recent appointment as Head of Business Line at SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator! Can you share your immediate priorities with us in this new role?

Thank you for your congratulations.

I am pleased to have this opportunity because the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, being one of the newest products in the SOFTSWISS ecosystem, presents vast opportunities for development. Its technological advancements and timeless appeal make it a top-notch engagement tool in high demand among our clients.

Our meticulous approach focuses on technology to ensure we deliver high-quality solutions. As the new Head of Business Line at SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, my priority is to expand our client base by tapping into the clients of the SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator. I believe this tool is a ‘must-have’ for them. They can seamlessly launch the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator and join the Network Jackpot, offering their players a thrilling experience and the chance for significant wins.

Expanding our Network Jackpots is another priority in our strategy. Our research shows that network jackpots increase player engagement and enhance performance metrics for participating casinos. The shared pool mechanic is particularly attractive to players, offering more substantial rewards than individual branded jackpots.


Can you explain how the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator differentiates itself from other jackpot solutions in the market from your point of view?

We continuously study our competitors, and our Network Jackpot consistently delivers excellent results, giving us a significant market advantage.

A key strength is our collaboration with game providers. For example, we have launched network jackpots with providers like Evolution and currently have a campaign running with Apparat Gaming. These collaborative jackpots highlight their portfolios and open new initiatives for SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator’s clients. The Jackpot Aggregator’s unique mechanics and the Game Aggregator’s user-friendly settings make these launches seamless and fast.

Additionally, we allow other platforms to organise their own jackpot networks. We can integrate with third-party platforms, enabling them to launch and manage their networks effortlessly.

Our Jackpot Aggregator is versatile and compatible with sportsbooks, which is rare in the market. Betting jackpots are especially exciting during major sports events. For example, we launched jackpots for several SOFTSWISS Sportsbook’s clients during the European Football Championship. With flexible settings, brands can create different jackpots to meet the heightened interest in sports betting.

Moreover, we can run joint campaigns for both casino and sports betting, which is another unique feature. This versatility allows our clients to maximise engagement across different types of gaming activities.


How do you envision the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator evolving, and what impact do you expect these changes to have on SOFTSWISS’s market position?

The SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator is a universal and modern tool that can be implemented not only in casino games but also across the entire iGaming system. All SOFTSWISS products integrate seamlessly, and the Jackpot Aggregator is no exception. It enables unified campaigns combining casino games and sportsbooks, enriching the user experience and allowing casinos to customise launches quickly and easily.


Customer satisfaction is crucial for any product’s success. What strategies will you implement to ensure that the Jackpot Aggregator continues to meet and exceed your clients’ expectations?

A partner recently emphasised that while a product may be perfect, service is equally crucial. They emphasised that they would always choose the option with excellent service. At SOFTSWISS, we are committed to excelling in both areas – ensuring our product is stable and our service outstanding.

Our technical team is dedicated to maintaining top performance, ensuring the product can handle any load, regardless of the client’s size, supporting existing functionality, and developing new features. We pride ourselves on our technology.

Equally, we prioritise excellent communication and a solid client-oriented approach in our hiring process, supporting our managers’ qualifications through ongoing training.

Our account managers focus on providing quick responses. We have established minimum response time standards to ensure clients receive timely assistance, even on weekends. We understand that time is money, and our clients trust that their requests will always be processed promptly, with the necessary support and advice for effective operations.


What are the main challenges for you in this new position?

The challenge is to demonstrate that I can achieve everything I have planned. I have a proven track record of success and am eager to lead us forward in this new role. With the team, we will explore new opportunities and continue to develop the product.

We are prepared to enter new markets and work with clients to consider new markets at their request. Our young, flexible, and dynamic product makes it well-suited for expansion and adaptation.

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A mix of skill and chance: Bitblox on the potential for crypto prediction games



A mix of skill and chance: Bitblox on the potential for crypto prediction games
Reading Time: 4 minutes


The rise of cryptocurrency over the last few years has been inescapable. From the launch of new tokens to Bitcoin reaching record highs, the world of crypto is slowly becoming much more popular – and the iGaming space has been no exception to its influence.

Making its debut earlier this year, Bitblox has already made its mark on the iGaming industry with a new vertical: crypto prediction games. With games such as Up or Down, Up or Down Turbo and BitSlap making up its portfolio, Bitblox prides itself on blending games of skill with games of chance, thereby offering something completely new for players.

Brandt Page, Chief Executive Officer of Bitblox, walks us through the company’s journey so far and how crypto prediction games can help operators to tap into the elusive Millennial and Gen Z player bases.


Can you start by giving us a very quick elevator pitch – who is Bitblox, and how are you bringing something new to the industry?

Bitblox is really bringing something new to the market that players haven’t seen before. We don’t build slots, or crash games. We are creating games that are a genuine combination of games of skill, and games of chance. Our first games are centred around players making a prediction on the price of Bitcoin – one game runs in 60 second intervals, while the other is much quicker at 20 seconds.

What we have done is really quite bold for the industry. If you walk around the expo floor of any conference now, you’ll see so many different slot titles or crash games. It’s the same in casino lobbies online too. These types of games are fantastic, but our mission was to create something unique for the players.

We also wanted to find a way that would allow us to introduce the iGaming industry to cryptocurrency in a way that is easy to understand. After some internal discussions, and chats with people at industry events, we settled on the idea of cryptocurrency prediction games – they are straightforward, engaging and can act as a platform to introduce players to the world of crypto without overwhelming them.


You describe yourself as offering a blend between games of skill and games of chance. Can you tell us what you mean by that? 

You could look at this from two different angles. Firstly, if you are making a prediction on the price of Bitcoin over a set time period, theoretically speaking, you could actually build a model to look at fluctuations in the price of Bitcoin over the last six months or year. If you were smart enough, you could then build a model that might allow you to extrapolate some of that data and offer some sort of prediction on what might happen in the future, based on particular market conditions.

There will be players that try to do this, especially those that are really interested in the trading element. Our odds provider uses an on-chain probability protocol that helps power the odds for our fixed odds games.

On the pools side of things, the probability protocol also ensures that every pool has sufficient funds to pay out winnings.

The other angle that you could look at this blend is that if you look at some of our future games, such as BitSlap, players are still making a prediction on the Bitcoin price, but others may be more interested in which character will win the slap fighting bout.

In that case, we’ve almost flipped the Bitcoin price to become a random number generator in itself. Players are cheering on a fighter, and becoming invested in an individual character, rather than simply just looking at the fluctuations in price.

You can almost think of our games as the perfect mix between trading and gambling. The reality is, we wanted to create an enjoyable experience for players that delivers something new and unique; players have the opportunity to win, unlike in other verticals where the RTP is unbeatable over time.


How will this blend of games of skill and games of chance enable Bitblox, and its operator partners, to engage with both sports bettors and casino players? Does UX play a role here, or is it more about the game itself?

I think it’s hard to say just yet because we are still in the early stages of launching. But based on the discussions we’ve been having at industry events, our games offer operators a way to reach, and engage with, a younger audience that tends to be much more technological and crypto savvy.  This is a generation of bettors who are more likely to be comfortable using a Web3 wallet and trading different cryptocurrencies.

If operators can tap into that player base, they can then start to cross-sell much more traditional content – whether that’s sports betting or casino. Engaging with this audience has been notoriously difficult; this is a topic that has dominated industry discussions for years now, and we believe that it is content such as ours that can help bridge that gap.

On the flip side, you then have the more traditional bettors who haven’t had much exposure to the crypto world. We are bringing crypto to players in a way that is easy to understand and engage with. This can then open the doors to introduce those more ‘traditional’ players to newer content that they may have not tried before.

From the conversations that we’ve been having with operators that we’re working with, a clear pattern that we’ve seen is that games such as ours seem to be getting a lot of traction in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Of course, we are aiming for our games to be popular right across the world.

We’ve seen a growth in popularity for crash games, for slots, and now is the time for crypto prediction games. Players like to feel like they are in control of the outcome – by adding cash out features, we are giving players that sense of control that they might not get with other types of games. But I’m very excited to see how our games are received in different markets around the world.

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Amplifying horse racing: An inside look at how Altenar is diversifying its platform in partnership with SIS



Amplifying horse racing: An inside look at how Altenar is diversifying its platform in partnership with SIS
Reading Time: 4 minutes


Industry heavyweights SIS and Altenar are both well-respected suppliers in the industry, known for delivering memorable sports betting experiences. After penning a new deal to boost its horse racing offering, Antonis Karakousis, Director of Operations at Altenar, is joined by Andy Kelly, Head of Commercial Partnerships at SIS to discuss the huge benefits in play.


How did the partnership come about?

Andy Kelly: One of the biggest goals for SIS this year is continued geographic expansion. Having signed a host of international deals, we are looking to enhance our reach, a key strategy to support this ambition is to partner with leading platform providers that have big networks worldwide. Altenar has an impressive client base and being able to collaborate will only serve to benefit both brands. Our extensive product range appeals to operators in search of added value, with 24/7 betting content to drive new operator revenue streams across racing, competitive gaming (esports), and live number draws.

We have hit the ground running with Altenar, with our teams demonstrating a willingness to cooperate and implement strategies in providing products to operators efficiently, with no disruption to existing offerings.

Antonis Karakousis: The collaboration with SIS is a significant milestone for us.. The decision to add a racing provider to our in-house sportsbook stemmed from our commitment to offering a diverse and engaging sports betting experience to the users. Recognising the popularity and global appeal of racing products, we sought a reputable partner who could deliver high-quality content and a seamless integration process.


What excites you the most about the partnership?

Karakousis: The breadth of SIS’ offering, including its extensive portfolio of horse racing services, real-time data, and streaming solutions, aligns seamlessly with our commitment to providing diverse and engaging content to users. We look forward to the positive impact this partnership will have on our platform and the satisfaction it will bring to our operators.

Kelly: Our partnership with Altenar provides us with the opportunity to offer the full SIS product range to a host of new operators across the world through a single integration. The deal means we can get more eyes on our products. We are launching with over 74,000 racing events every year, with our range of live fixed odds numbers draws to follow, with Competitive Gaming events-based sports simulation product completing the product offering. It’s about providing Altenar with a range of premium, highly engaging content that creates fresh revenue opportunities around the clock, through exciting short-form events.

It has been great to see both sides sharing insights to ensure smooth and seamless processes in delivering content to a wide range of operators.


How has the integration worked so far?

Kelly: The integration process has all been smooth so far, aided by the experienced and very capable technical teams on both sides. Together we will be able to offer bettors more round-the-clock opportunities across the product range, initially starting with our live racing content. Having worked with platform providers in the past, we are confident that we can continue to get our products to market through Altenar quickly and seamlessly.

Karakousis: Working closely with the SIS team, our technical experts have engaged in a concerted effort to ensure a smooth incorporation of their products into the Altenar sportsbook. We are pleased to share that the integration has exceeded our expectations on several fronts.


Are there any more products in the pipeline?

Karakousis: Our collaboration with SIS goes beyond the launch of the horse racing product. We have exciting plans in the pipeline, with both greyhound racing and lottery games set to be introduced in the near future. There is no doubt that SIS’ product base is one of the most respected  in the industry and has elevated our offering to a wider audience. Additionally, as 2024 progresses, we expect the horse racing product to expand further, bolstering odds on some of the world’s premier race meetings.

Kelly: We are constantly looking at enhancing our existing product range to serve the evolving needs of operators. This has previously been demonstrated by our expanded range of live fixed odds numbers draws, with high-frequency Fast 15’s designed to keep bettors engaged with a new draw every three minutes.

We will also continue to grow our live racing content offering across the world. We have the rights to some of the biggest and most prestigious international races in the world including all contests at Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup, to name a couple. Having rolled out fixed-odds betting in Colorado with bet365 recently, we are hopeful that other US states will follow suit.

There is also the possibility of adding a wider array of sports simulations to our SIS Competitive Gaming offering to ensure localised appeal.


How do you foresee 2024 going in terms of this partnership?

Kelly: We believe the rest of the year will bring mutual success and growth for both SIS and Altenar. We are already seeing the positive impact of our partnership, with collaborations across multiple departments, working together cohesively to meet the challenges of the market together by delivering a product range that engages bettors and provides additional revenues for operators globally. With our combined efforts this is certainly achievable.

Karakousis: As we look ahead to the rest of the year, we are highly optimistic about the trajectory of our partnership with SIS and the impact it will have on the Altenar sportsbook. The collaboration has already laid a strong foundation with the successful launch of the horse racing product, and we anticipate several key developments and milestones in the coming year.

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