Tuesday, February 27, 2007

3GSM Good News for Mobile Gambling

Slotland.com’s Mobile Games Manager Liked What He Heard in Barcelona

When I had lunch in London last month with John Lancelent, Mobile Games Director with Slotland.com, he was soon on his way to 3GSM, the big mobile conference in Barcelona. I talked to him the other day about what impressed him there and let's just say it's all good for those of us that like to play games on our phones.

There was a lot to take in at the massive international exposition that covered everything mobile -- from hardware and handsets and telcom infrastructure to entertainment and content. One thing is clear though -- rapidly developing technologies are making it easier, cheaper and more fun to play casino games like slot machines on mobile phones. And that puts a smile on John's face.

“The hottest topic in Barcelona was mobile video and mobile TV. Everyone is excited about delivering music videos, short films and TV news to mobile phones.” said Lancelet. “What excites ME about that is that any phone capable of handling video multimedia is also great for playing slot machines and that means more players coming on board.”

Every year, mobile phones get smarter and more capable of playing graphically rich games.

“At 3GSM, all the new phones the handset manufacturers were showing off had higher display resolution -- 240 x 320 is becoming the standard,” said Lancelet. “That’s just what you want for mobile games like our slot machines and video poker games.”

No matter how cool phones get, or how many new real-money games providers like Slotland.com/mobile develop, one barrier to mobile gambling is still the cost of data transfer. Visiting a lot of WAP sites on your phone’s Internet browser can add up. Fortunately, Lancelet observed a trend that will improve that too.

“It seems more GSM network operators are offering flat rate wireless data tariffs,” observed Lancelet. “That’s good news for the mobile gambler too!”

Thursday, February 15, 2007

First-ever Personalised Mobile Scratch Card Launches to Rave Reviews

WinOne launches GemScope at 3GSM World Congress, Barcelona

WinOne, the Finnish supplier of money games for mobile internet, announced the release of the first personalised scratch card available on mobile phones.

The java-based scratch card, featuring a horoscope theme, comes in twelve versions, each matching an astrological sign. Moreover each sign is matched with a precious stone, hence its name - GemScope.

GemScope enables players to use phone keys to “scratch” their star sign and win money or prizes. The special feature of the game is that there is always a second stage providing a personalised horoscope, so that the player experience is different each time they play - whether they win or lose. Further personalised stages are also available - without buying a new ticket.

“With this type of game mobile players feel they are getting much more value,” commented Rufus Miles, WinOne VP of Business Development. “Of course they have the chance to win a big prize – but even if they lose, they still get personalised content. We think this is unique in the mobile money gaming market today.”

According to WinOne, GemScope is the first of a range of games to push its Mobile EnterGainment® concept to a whole new level. Mobile EnterGainment® is a new idea in mobile money gaming, offering a rich, personalised entertainment experience – as well as the chance to win money and prizes and interact with friends through powerful community features.

Rufus Miles said: “Mobile players around the world look for responsible gaming solutions, excitement, security - but above all varied entertainment. WinOne is able to offer all of this, and across both mobile and internet, if needed.” He added: “Over the next few months we shall be releasing several other games based on this idea, each one with more personalised content than the last.”

Underpinning GemScope, as with all WinOne’s games, is the EnterGainment® Gaming Platform. WinOne provides the platform and the gaming solution as a managed service, including distribution and handset recognition, hosting, back office operations and payment processing. Players will be able to use a single wallet and move seamlessly between mobile and internet if they wish.

The Coolest Thing Ever Just Changed Online Poker

The Coolest Thing Ever is Now Live on Bluff Magazine’s website

It’s here! The Coolest Thing Ever has launched on the newly designed http://www.bluffmagazine.com/ website, and is changing the way online poker players track, interact, and satisfy their poker urges online.

The foundation of The Coolest Thing Ever is thepokerdb, the most comprehensive online tournament database in the world. With results going back as far as 2004, thepokerdb has tracked hundreds of thousands of tournament results, which has been the catalyst for ranking almost two million players based on tournament performance, total lifetime winnings, biggest cashes, “streak” stats, and much more. There is no more accurate way to track your play or compare yourself to the rest of the poker community that with thepokerdb. It is hands-down the largest player-accessible poker database anywhere on the planet.

But with a name like The Coolest Thing Ever, this tool has to be more than super-useful, it has to make poker more fun; that’s what the new community tools are for. The new Buddy List allows you to track your friends online, see where they are playing, and view their up to date results on your own customizable personal dashboard. But if you don’t have time to sit online and watch your buddy reach the final table, new Buddy Alerts will notify you when he gets there. Live on your PC, by email or on your Mobile Phone via Text Message, Buddy Alerts are there to keep you in the action, even when you can’t be at your PC.

Besides being useful, fun, and communal, The Coolest Thing Ever saves you time and energy, getting you to the tables faster than ever. The real-time Custom Tournament Directory means that you’ll never have to load every piece of poker software you own to find the tournament structure, game, buy in, prize range, site preference and starting time that best suits your needs. Simply enter your requirements and the Custom Tournament Directory will direct you to the action.

“The Coolest Thing Ever has been a massive technical challenge” said Jeff Markley, CTO of Bluff Magazine. “Migrating and manipulating millions of records, and adding never-before used technologies has been a labor of love, but its something that, as a poker player, I know will be appreciated by the poker community. All I can tell everybody is to try it – once they do they will never stop using it”, continued Markley.

To try The Coolest Thing Ever, visit http://www.bluffmagazine.com/ and click the link to The Coolest Thing Ever.

Five Stars Sign Up for Asian Poker Classic

Top names announced for the guaranteed $1million tournament in India

Five of the world’s top poker stars will play in the Asian Poker Classic, the largest poker tournament ever staged in India, taking place in beautiful coastal resort of Goa from March 1-5, 2007. The $1 Million guaranteed jackpot combined with a minimum $250,000 overlay makes this tournament one of the richest in the world.

Ram Vaswani, Arshad Hussain, Surinder Sunar, Lee Nelson and Mel Judah have announced that they will compete for a share of the guaranteed US $1million prize pool and £250,000 add-in in this televised poker event!

The Asian Poker Classic is sponsored by online gaming site Maharajah Club and the five players who have signed up have huge profiles in the game thanks to their formidable achievements:

Ram Vaswani – a member of the London-based Hendon Mob, Vaswani’s live tournament winnings exceed $2.3 million. The 36-year-old is the only player to have made three final tables on the European Poker Tour (EPT).

Arshad Hussain – Hussain topped the European Rankings in 2006 after a series of remarkable performances. The 33-year-old from Accrington in Lancashire came second in the EPT Grand Final Event at Monte Carlo, winning $644,825.

Surinder Sunar – The Wolverhampton-based player earned $822,631 when he won the Paris Grand Prix on the World Poker Tour (WPT) in 2004. Sunar is famed for his poker face – he has an inner calm and shows absolutely no emotion at the table.

Lee Nelson – New Zealander Nelson has been the top-rated player in Australia and New Zealand for the past seven years. He was 2006 Aussie Millions champion, earning him more than $1 million.

Mel Judah – UK-based Aussie player Judah won bracelets at the WSOP in 1989 and 1997 and was 2003 Legends of Poker winner, collecting $579,375. He made the final table of the main event at the WSOP in 1997.

Sachin Pawa, CEO of sponsor Maharajah Club (http://www.maharajahclub.com/), said: “It is fantastic to see such high-profile players participate in India’s first poker tournament and I’m looking forwarded to hosting them and Europe’s top Asian poker players. The surroundings in Goa and huge prizes on offer mean the Asian Poker Classic will be one of the most exciting and eagerly-awaited events on the poker calendar.”

150 players are expected at the event, which will be held at the five-star Intercontinental hotel at Grand Resort Goa. Register to play in the tournament at http://www.asianpokerclassic.com/qualify.html or email team@asianpokerclassic.com for further information.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

London’s Annual iGaming Networking Week a Marathon of Parties!

One thing ya gotta love about the igaming industry is we know how to party! Sure, conferences like ICEi and CAP Euro offer seminars and lots of formal opportunities to soak up news and information. But let’s face it – the real business is done at all the cool networking parties that are such an important part of the annual week of online gaming events in London.

Yes, everyone in London was talking about the impact of UIGEA, but it seemed to me the consensus among the thousands of casino and poker operators, affiliates and gambling media that gathered in London was that sure, lots have taken a hit losing their American business – but at the end of the day there are other expanding and lucrative markets to focus their attention on. America? Who cares – Europe is hot!

Lyceum Fire & Ice was, as usual, the biggest and best party of the week, held just as ICEi was wrapping up and the CAP Euro crowd were arriving in town. Lyceum got a huge venue this year – a posh new Picadilly night club -- to accommodate the 1500 partiers. Thanks to Cryptologic and NextGen Gaming who kept the open bars open. (See www.lyceummedia.com/events for photos.)

The next day I had the pleasure of escorting Tila Tequila, the Queen of MySpace, to promotional press appearances around London, including the huge launch party for TilaCasino.com. Tila and her Tila Girls were raunchy and sexy and in extreme performance mode -- the air was thick with hormones at this posh Mayfair bash. TilaCasino.com invited all CAP Euro delegates, so it was one of the first of many rowdy affiliate gatherings. (See www.lyceummedia.com/tilacasino for photos.)

Another event I really enjoyed was Bodog’s party at the CafĂ© De Paris. The place reeked with history -- Prince Charles, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Christian Slater have all partied there. But the slick Bodog crew turned it into a high energy mingler by filling the ornate celebrity hot spot with sexy videos and thumpa thumpa music. The room had to be cleared at ten for another private party so everyone spilled out onto the busy London streets and wound up at various Picadilly Circus venues.

I only spoke to one guy that had started the week with the mobile gambling summit -- John Lancelet from Slotland.com. Slotland was one of the first to test the mobile gambling waters and John, who sees mobile phone users as the biggest new market for online gambling to target, suggested more of the online gambling crowd should come a few days earlier next January if they don’t want to miss out.

3GSM in Barcelona this month is the next big event on John’s calendar. It’s a huge gathering of mobile operators, vendors and content owners from across the world where I’m sure mobile gambling will have a strong presence. But it couldn’t possibly be the crazy marathon of parties that happens every January when the online gambling world converges on London!

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Larry Colcy is an account manager with London’s igaming PR and events specialists Lyceum Media.