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April 24th Casino news ... My Gambling Book at mygamblingbook.com
NUMBER OF ONLINE GAMBLING TWITTER FOLLOWERS SOARS
Usage of social networking continues to soar, prompting the independent research company MECN to carry out a survey of how online gambling marketers are adapting to this exciting new communication channel.
The study found that Twitter is experiencing massive increases in interest in the industry, indicating that marketing activity as well as player involvement is on the rise; in 2013 industry followers on Twitter soared 93 percent, the researchers found, with Paddy Power heading the charge with 252,000 followers, well ahead of Pokerstars and Ladbrokes, and the average number of followers across a selected basket of online gambling companies coming in at just over 49,000.
MECN likewise assessed the popularity of a selection of online gambling operators on Facebook by measuring the number of "likes" for each, and found that Paddy Power was again way out in front with 1.18 million "likes" with the average for the basket of operators at 212,574 "likes". William Hill and Pokerstars were the Irish betting group's closest rivals.
However, when it came to a study of the "most discussed" metric among those "most liked" on Facebook, online gambling operator bet365 led the field, with 8.3 percent compared with an average for the basket of operators of 2.3 percent, indicating the UK operator has achieved better levels of engagement with its audience on Facebook.
BIG FISH CASINO LAUNCH LATEST SOCIAL SLOT
Casual games developer Big Fish has released its latest social slot titled "Fate's Fortune".
The slot is themed on the mysteriousness of old New Orleans and features scatters, free spins, free tickets and free gold or chips.
Fate's Fortune allows for cross-platform play across iOS and Android devices, PC and Facebook.
BETFAIR CLAIMS AN ONLINE GAMBLING COUP WITH SNAPCHAT
The publication MarketingWeek reports that UK online gambling group Betfair has scored a first-to-market coup with the imminent introduction of the photo-messaging app Snapchat, and is to use the technology to serve exclusive football odds to smartphone users.
The new service will debut Saturday 22 February, when Betfair will push odds for the Chelsea v Everton and Crystal Palace v Manchester United Premier League fixtures, targeting mainly the social media channel.
The SnapChat campaign will encourage punters to follow the Betfairofficial Snapchat profile. Rather than the current odds of 6/4, users will be able to place a maximum GBP 10 bet on enhanced doubles odds, following a similar promotional template the brand used when it first began offering exclusive odds via its Twitter profile.
Betfair says the trial is for this weekends matches only but promises that the company will look to extend the service if it proves successful.
Betfair brand manager Mark Ody told MarketingWeek: Snapchat is a relatively new, yet rapidly growing social media platform, which Im certain will play a huge role in the marketing mix of companies going forward. To be one of the first brands, and the first betting company, to make use of the platform is very exciting. It has huge potential for us as a business.
The gambling firm, which has placed mobile at the core of its off-line marketing activity though apps and social media, has also been experimenting with other emerging channels such as Vine.
In other industries, Unilevers Lynx brand became one of the first to use the SnapChat app last summer, and has since ramped up efforts to push its advertising offering with the appointment of former Instagram commercial chief Emily White.
SnapChat recently spurned a reported $3 billion offer from Facebook.
ONLINE GAMBLING BUST IN BULGARIA
A special operation undertaken at the end of last week by Bulgarian authorities has revealed an illegal online gambling network operating out of Dimyan Casino on the Varna Coast.
According to the Bulgarian State Gaming Commission and the State Agency for National Security, Dimyan Casino, whose gambling licence was previously withdrawn, is alleged to have been running online gambling with participants mainly from Turkey and Israel.
18 NEW GAMES IN RECENT WORLD MATCH RELEASE
Malta-based software provider World Match Ltd. recently released around eighteen new games to its Casino Games Suite spanning a broad range of themes.
New releases included HD titles Archibald Oriental Tales, Archibald Africa, Archibald Mayan Ruins, Dante's Paradise, Dante's Purgatory, Dante's Hell, Maracuibo, Code Red, Ace Adventure, Robin Hood, Secrets of Poseidon, Book of Pharaon, Jungle Mania, Return of the Phoenix, Lady Glamour, Just Hot, Arctic Adventure, Queen of Oceans, Jungle Mania.
All games can be demo-ed at http://www.worldmatch.eu/HDSlotMachines
AUSSIE SOCIAL ONLINE GAMING FIRM TO EXPAND
Australian InfoPowa readers may recall the name Lawrence Escalante, the young Perth entrepreneur who raised capital online to launch his Facebook social gaming company Virtual Gaming World and its Chumba Casino subsidiary.
Escalante used a typically social gaming business model to generate revenues, allowing his online players to buy extra chips for premium action rather than playing the slots and card games for rewards.
The Australian Financial Review reported over the weekend that Escalante now plans to take the Chumba action wider and for real-money within the next few weeks, using a recently acquired Philippines internet gambling licence.
Escalante additionally has expanded his Facebook action by offering Chumba's 200,000 active monthly users sweepstakes action. Apparently two thirds of his player base is US-resident, where laws pertaining to sweepstakes-style gambling are ambivalent - pursued in some states and permitted in others, and Escalante is exploiting this.
The idea is to allow users to buy virtual credits with which to gamble on his slots, enabling them to "cash in" any credits they win for a variety of prizes.
Escalante hopes that the new venture will increase the revenues per head he currently makes from around 15,000 active daily users, along with attracting more punters to his Facebook casino.
There is some cause for optimism already - Escalante claims that after one month, with no marketing, he is already seeing sweepstakes users deposit more and play far more often than those in the social casino.
The Australian entrepreneur raised $A2.5 million in private investment and says he is mid-way through raising a further A$5 million from as yet unnamed investors. He has gathered experienced managers around the company, including Steve Parker, the former general manager of slot manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure, and ex-studio manager Edgar Pau, who has recently designed for US company Bally, and is the start-ups head of slot machine design.
Innovative slot design is a key objective. Better slot games are the biggest monetiser of a social casino, says Escalante.