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  1. The FIFA World Cup only rolls around once every four years, but when it does, it causes a stir that is felt worldwide. It is officially recognised as the most significant sporting event in the world, with industry experts predicting that viewership with reach an all-time high of 5 billion. If these predictions prove accurate, it will eclipse its 2018 World Cup viewership of 3.5 billion! While many consider the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be more relevant to the online betting community, the truth is that it has had an incredible impact on how casino games are developed. Join us as we delve into the popularity of soccer-themed slots and other casino games. The Popularity of Themed Casino Games Before casino games were infused with stories and incredible graphics, the casino had to grab the attention of its intended audience. Many casinos achieved this by providing thematic experiences which allowed them to stand out from the crowd. While a small number of online casinos like the River Belle, Lucky Luke and Cookie Casino have continued this tradition, most of the heavy lifting in terms of player engagement now lies with the casino games themselves. And once again, games where themes, stories, and fascinating new worlds can be explored lead the charge in terms of interest, entertainment value and revenue generation. The most appealing blank canvas in this regard is the humble slot machine. It allows casino Game developers to overlay any setting they can imagine and fill the reels with characters to support the narrative. Bonus rounds and special features can also be themed to add value to the story and increase player engagement through entertainment. Our slot theme page features 64 game groups, including topics like ancient Egypt, Irish Folklore, Superheroes, Horror, Fishing, Bitcoin, Sports, and dozens more. Each of these then contains a myriad of sub-themes to allow fans to find the exact game that meets their needs. The World Cup Boosts Soccer-Themed Games The soccer theme is one of the genres that have seen a rush of new game releases in recent weeks. What has been surprising is how the application of football as a theme has extended beyond just Online Slots to include several other game types. Here is a breakdown of the new soccer-themed casino games you can enjoy in 2022! ✓ Football video slots As we mentioned, video slots are the ideal playground for software developers looking to create colourful and engaging football-themed titles. One of the hottest new releases in this category has been the Spin & Score Megaways slot by Pragmatic Play. The game has you pick a team to support, and each spin of the reels has you trying to score wins of up to 5000x your bet with the help of the ever-popular Megaways reel feature. ✓ Celebrity Soccer Games If you are a fan of classic footballers, you know who Diego “Dios” Maradona is. Maradona wowed fans and critics in his heyday with his splendid footwork and goal-scoring magic. Even the infamous “Hand of God” goal only added to his legend. One of our favourite releases this World Cup is the D10S Maradona slot by Blueprint Gaming. The slot release pays homage to this football rockstar with gorgeous hand-sketched artwork, a high-value Free Spins feature and the chance to score 10,000x your bet. ✓ Football Table Games While not many innovative football-themed table games exist, developers have not left their fans out in the cold. Playtech offers a Soccer Premium Blackjack table where fans can enjoy a hand of European Blackjack in an environment decked with football imagery and paraphernalia. There are also scratch card games like Ultimate Soccer Scratch 2 by Casino Web Scripts, allowing fans to scratch their football itch without kicking a ball. Each card consists of 9 symbols that need to be cleared. Match any three values to score a big win! ✓ Live Casino Games Fans of soccer and dice games are in for a treat with Football Studio Dice by Evolution Gaming. The game is heralded as the industry’s first-ever dice football game and was released just in time to get on board the FIFA World Cup hype train. Like with any football match, you get to bet on a Home team win, an Away team win or a Draw. The game's outcome is determined by the total of two dice for each side. There are also exciting Draw rewards, one of which is up to 80x your bet. ✓ Soccer Crash Games An increasingly popular genre of games is the Crash Games vertical. The premise is simple, you place your bet and watch an object (generally a plane or rocket) travel across the screen. The further it travels, the greater its win multiplier grows. You can cash out at any time and claim your winnings, but if you are still in the game when the object crashes, you lose your bet. Gamzix swapped out an aeroplane for a soccer ball in their sports-inspired Pilot Cup crash game. With an RTP of 96.6% and a simple gameplay mechanic, Pilot Cup is a fantastic way to get into the World Cup spirit. With its global appeal, it is not surprising that there is a lot of interest in playing new games that feature football players and various soccer symbols and features. After all, it all adds to the hype surrounding the FIFA World Cup spectacle!
  2. Slots may be one of the newest forms of gambling, but it is by far the most popular. Although other casino games predate slot machines, a precursor to the reel games arrived on the scene in the 1890s and since then evolved from card machines to online animated wonders. Since the first Microgaming title hit the internet, a century after Sittman and Pitt’s card machine, a lot has changed and so have the players who enjoy reel action. We’ve seen amazing improvements, brilliantly unique titles, and exciting mechanics reach slots screens, but we’ve also lost some along the way. Some of the biggest hits disappeared instantly and behind the scenes, we’ve seen slot developers rise and fall, while top studios release a massive hit only to bomb out with their next release. Why is it so challenging and what does it take to be successful in the fiercely competitive slots industry? Also, where did our favourite slots disappear to? Now You See Them, Now You Don’t Few things are as disappointing as having a favourite product, and suddenly it is nowhere to be found. Strangely enough, many punters have experienced this with their favourite online slot and the titles that come to mind include superheroes. Truth be told, it’s mainly branded slots that vanish without sight or any warning from the creators, so there must be a reason for this. The Branded Slots Disappearing Act Whether you were a fan of Microgaming’s Lord of the Rings, Playtech’s Marvel collection or NetEnt’s South Park and Aliens hit slots, you would have experienced this disappointment in the last decade. How do slot developers decide on a theme? Why would they pull a slot game off the market if it is popular? To answer the first question, we must understand player behaviour better because this drives slot releases. Trends inspire demand for most products in the consumer market and the igaming industry is no exception to this. Punters want to see popular topics on their slot screen, and Hollywood content is usually a hot topic. It makes sense for slot developers to create titles inspired by blockbuster movies. This attracts players, creates fans of their brand, and brings in the dough. It is good business. As for the second question, the answer lies with distribution rights, known by many as royalties. Branded slots with genuine Marvel, DC, and Lord of the Rings imagery come at a high price and licensing agreements with the owners of the brand. This means providers must shave a bit off their profits to pay royalties for use and hope they renew the licensing deal once it expires. As you can probably tell, either of these reasons leads to branded titles being shelved. Therefore, software developers weigh the risks involved against the exposure and potential revenue injection they can gain from branded slots. License agreements are always subject to renewal and any successful business will remove a product if it is no longer viable to offer it. This is probably why there are fewer branded slots than universal themes and thankfully the most popular ones fall into the last-mentioned category. The Multiplayer Mini-Act As technology advanced and social media took the world by storm, the igaming world became social, although from a distance. It was only a matter of time before social gaming spilt over into the online gambling space and before we knew it, multiplayer slots appeared on the scene. The need was obvious and software developers, gambling operators, and players were thrilled. These community slot games disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Unbeknown to the creators of multiplayer slots, international regulators saw the games as high-risk areas for fraud and money laundering, which led to the cancellation. Some industry experts still believe multiplayer slots are the next thing on the list of innovations and with the metaverse on the rise, they may be right. But until operators, developers, and regulators can agree on how to find the golden midway and eliminate money laundering concerns, the idea remains idle. Hitting the Slot Content Jackpot Finding that sweet spot in the igaming market is not as straightforward as some may think. The sheer amount of Game developers present in the current market proves that some oversimplify the art of successful slot-making. Those that withstand the treacherous waters of changing consumer behaviour, technology innovating at the speed of light, and regulators constantly raising the bar, enjoy the fruits of their labour. Although it isn’t an easy feat, some have conquered the highly competitive market and stayed on top of their game. So, what is their secret and how do they push forward through the sea of developers and create fan-favourite slot games? Brand Identity The trick with slots is that most players do not see the name of the software developer behind the game, because titles rarely display it. Players rarely know which studio developed their favourite game; they only know where to find it in the casino lobby. This is because creating compelling slot content is as much an art as it is designing luxury cars. Any genuine Ferrari fan could spot one from a distance in the dark by recognising its taillights, just like Pragmatic Play fans spot one of their games through a unique spin button. Developers must be very creative and position their brand in players’ subconscious through intentional design work. When they get this right, slot magic happens. Some of the software developers who differentiated themselves from the crowd are NetEnt, Nolimit City, Evoplay, Relax Gaming, and Peter& sons. Players know their games by the look and experience. Something specific sets them apart. Creative Talent: The Wow Factor Some believe lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot, and maybe this is why most established studios have specific games that catapulted them to success while the rest of their library attain average popularity ratings. Examples of releases that changed the igaming industry include titles like Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest, mechanics like Megaways, and jackpots like Mega Moolah. While some studios behind these iconic releases make a habit of creating excellent gambling content, others continue with a hit-and-miss trend seen all over the market. Experts from the developer industry ascribe these successes to the individuals who dreamed up the ideas. Although their teams helped to realise the dream, their creative spark started the fire and led to the explosive release. Balancing Reliability with Excitement Earlier slots used to provide punters with a rather predictable gameplay experience of low to medium variance in payouts, which kept gamblers playing for longer. There is a sense of satisfaction with consistent wins, regardless of the size. For a few reasons, this gradually changed and today, most Online Slots have medium to high volatility. The thrill of possibly hitting it big in the base game excites players and developers seem to feed into this need for adrenaline-pumping igaming. Whether this is sustainable is debatable and some argue that high volatility has concerning effects. The effect of high payout variance shows in gaming sessions and wager amounts. Experts advise studios must find a balance on the volatility scale. Collaborate The gambling industry is rife with merger and acquisition news where larger developers buy small studios and land-based operators take over igaming businesses. It is an age-old business strategy, and some might find it bizarre, but when approached with the right mindset, two heads are better than one. The best example that comes to mind is Evolution, the leading live casino games developer. It is the holding company for top brands in igaming, including legendary studios like NetEnt, Red Tiger, Big Time Gaming, and recently NoLimit City. Their partnership and the continuous excellent content from the subsidiaries pay testament to the power of collaboration. The smaller studios have the freedom to create authentic games, while the holding company provides the advantage of global exposure and resources. Collaboration also allows fresh talent to meet with experienced market veterans, presenting more sustainable business outcomes. Smart Technology and Personalisation Once developers have a clear brand goal and marry this with creative talent, it paves their way into the slot world. Many of the bigger providers are also one-stop shops for operators and provide full business suites to power gambling platforms and drive player satisfaction. B2B suppliers and slot aggregators help streamline the data processes for operators and, through technological advances, enable online casinos to stay ahead of their competitors. With proper backend support and processes that allow essential data analytics, providers can offer highly personalised experiences. The Big R Gambling regulators are focusing more on B2B providers, and developers must create content with regulatory compliance as part of the goal. Although most have a role to play in getting a casino platform recognised as a fan favourite, regulatory compliance has not always been a focal point. This is one reason smaller studios benefit from partnerships with bigger companies. Soon, every part of the igaming process will play a vital role in licensing regimes and maintaining healthy levels of player safety protocols. Those agile enough to adapt to changing demands will stay at the top, and those who can’t will disappear along with those missing branded slots.
  3. Technology is a force of nature, and when embraced, it can lead to spectacular things. The same can be said for the online casino industry and all it releases. From the launch of the first online casino, well before its time, to the online casino games we have today, evolution and innovation are always the key terms. Let's take a walk down memory lane and relive the exciting moments through the history of online slot technology. ✓ 1994 – Online Slots Are Born Thanks to Microgaming In 1994, the world of casinos and gambling changed forever. Games of chance and gambling games have been around for millennia, but online casinos were born thanks to Microgaming. In a time when the average household didn't have quick and easy to the internet, Microgaming took a chance and released online casinos along with the first online slot. ✓ 1998 – First Progressive Jackpot Slot Always looking to lead the way, Microgaming took the crown for another industry first with the release of the first progressive jackpot slot – Cash Splash. This single innovative game feature secured Microgaming as one of the most-wanted software providers in the world. Today, progressive jackpot slots are highly popular, and Microgaming remains one of the best providers in the business. Did you know? Online casinos started out as single provider sites where all of the games were provided by one game creator. This later changed when multi-platform casinos were launched. ✓ 2008 – Casino Apps Arrive on the Market Jumping forward a few years, the world is very different from when online casinos first launched. Mobile devices are becoming more popular, and people look for new ways to play. Several prominent online casinos released casino apps. Clunky and slow, these apps used Flash to run online slots, which could easily crash or lose your game when the signal was low. They also required a download which took up valuable space on older model mobile devices. ✓ 2014 – Spin on the Smartwatch When online casinos realised that players wanted more ways to play, they stopped at nothing to create something new and something that would grab the attention of the masses. When smartwatches started making their way onto the scene, software providers jumped at the opportunity to create tiny versions of their most popular games. Because who wouldn't want to hit SPIN on their watch, right? Thankfully, this trend didn't really take off, and it quickly became a fun gimmick, along with being able to play casino games on your smart TV and smart fridge. ✓ 2014 – Welcome the First Bitcoin Casino In 2014, Bitcoin was just starting to become known to those outside of the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. In order to cash in on this rising star, Bitcasino.io was born and took its place as the first Bitcoin casino. Today, many online casinos welcome the use of cryptocurrency, while others are still wary of the volatile virtual currency. Along with the first Bitcoin casino came the ability to gamble on the blockchain, play provably fair games, and use crypto to bet and win while playing online slots. ✓ 2014 - Interactive Online Slots More than just another theme for online slots to incorporate, interactive online slots have become very popular, with almost every well-known provider releasing a video game-style creation. These games began with releases such as Castle Builder by Microgaming, where the aim is to win while doing more than just spinning reels. Instead, interactive games slam together online slots and video games for very exciting ways to land a winning combination. Fun Fact: Many players may not know this, but the first online casinos didn't offer deposits and withdrawals online. Players had to phone casino call centres and make manual deposits using a credit card machine. ✓ 2016 – Megaways Slots Take Centre Stage Invented by Australian-based software provider Big Time Gaming, the Megaways game mechanic took the online casino world by storm. This feature, which is now incorporated into more than 200 online slots, gives casino games the ability to run more than 100,000 paylines at a time. This lets players win big regularly, with multipliers on Megaways slots climbing up to 50,000x your bet. ✓ 2017 – Virtual Reality by NetEnt For many years, gamblers looked to technology as a way to increase their chances of winning. While technology can't do this, it can make playing online casinos far more exciting. In 2017, NetEnt took matters into its own hands by releasing the first VR online slot. The popular software provider took the beloved Gonzo's Quest online slot and transformed it into a VR fairytale. While VR may not be everyone's cup of tea, it still remains a fun way to play, even if only for a short time. ✓ 2017 – The Bonus Buy Feature Always aiming to stay ahead of their competition, Big Time Gaming once again released a phenomenal online slot feature. This time, the addition of the Bonus Buy feature left many punters with their jaws on the ground. You no longer have to wait for a bonus to trigger on its own. Instead, the Bonus Buy feature allows you to purchase a bonus round for instant gratification. The first Bonus Buy online slot was White Rabbit, an innovative creation that is still exciting to play. Did you know? Free spins may be the most popular form of casino bonus today, but it wasn't always an option. When online casinos first launched, rewards were almost always in the form of cash or deposit bonuses. ✓ 2020 - HTML5 Mobile Casinos After threatening for years to shut down Flash, Adobe finally bit the bullet in 2020, welcoming the era of HTML5. While HTML5 had existed for many years before 2020, the final closing of Flash games meant that online casinos were forced to fully embrace HTML5. This allows for a seamless and instant way to gamble on the go. Mobile apps are no longer required to enjoy your favourite online slot. Instead, you can load up via your mobile browser and play. ✓ 2022 - Big and Better As time goes on, the world of online slots continues to expand. Software providers are always looking for new ways to entertain users, and the fun simply continues to grow. Themes are more exciting, progressive jackpots are getting bigger by the day, technology continues to evolve, and online slots are still a favourite. With the growth of mobile technology and access to online casino games, we can only begin to imagine what the future holds. Will we finally see the release of an AR online slot? Will Bitcoin casino games grow or fall flat? One thing we know for sure is that the online gambling market will be ready to embrace, innovate and explore without missing a beat.
  4. Our gambler grandmas find it easy to spot how far technology has brought the reel-spinning games, but sometimes it’s not that apparent to modern gamblers. Imagine the journey from single pay-line slot machines to the astonishing 117,000-odd MEGAWAYS in their online counterparts. These changes have decades of work in between, but since the world wide web launched and online casinos appeared, developers (and their imaginations) shifted a gear, or two. Truth be told, innovation moves much faster in this generation than ever before as the improvements from the past five years prove. The popularity of online gambling increased to unprecedented heights since 2020 and quite a few countries joined the regulated market. Higher demand and licensing opportunities opened important doors for developers as casino platforms seek content that engages players and boosts loyalty. Today, we discuss exciting shifts in the online slot space, focusing specifically on what developers do to create thrilling and fresh experiences for gambling enthusiasts. How do they create immersive gaming with players signing in from remote locations? What innovations can we enjoy at this stage? Where may we find our slot-spinning selves in the future of online casinos? Engaging the Senses Some punters who frequent online casino platforms have years of experience with brick-and-mortar gambling facilities. Others discovered their affinity with slot games by clicking spin online. While it is easy to create a sensory experience for patrons at a physical venue, implementing this quality becomes tricky in online gaming. This element has punters returning to land-based casinos and platform providers scratching their heads on how to enable player loyalty. Because it is impossible to engage all the senses with an online experience, igaming developers must employ innovative design principles to focus on the ones they can. The obvious focal points are visual and audio effects. Much like enticing theatre productions or Hollywood blockbusters, an online slot with well-considered sound effects and music leaves the player with an unforgettable experience. Intuitive developers hit the nail on the head by attracting punters with glorious graphic work and inspiring them with a soundtrack worthy of a volume boost. Others, not so much. Inevitably, there will always be those who enjoy sound effects and those who choose to mute audio, much like some choose to spin on slots and others prefer table games. Each to their own.   Modern software providers who grasp the importance of atmospheric and suitable audio effects have dedicated audio teams allowing them to present awe-inspiring slots. These sound experts navigate the intricate details like file sizes and device adaptability while ensuring the most immersive audio experience possible. Punters on the receiving end of these creations can utilise various tools, such as Dolby headsets or surround sound systems on their PCs. With Silicon Valley having a clear intent to launch the Metaverse, we can only wait and watch in amazement at what game developers come up with to improve audio experiences. Innovation Beyond Reels Long gone are the days where punters can only choose between 5 or 10 paylines filled with fruity icons when they feel like a flutter. Games of chance in the golden age of online gambling morphed into a whole new sphere of entertainment with storylines, cinematic artwork, and genres fit for any kind of personality. If we predict what the next couple of years may bring to our screens in gambling entertainment, based on the innovations from the last half-decade, the prospects are extremely exciting. Six years ago, we could never have imagined innovations like Big Time Gaming’s Megaways mechanics. This created a wave of innovation in the slot market with other leading developers introducing impressive features to boost gameplay. Slicing and Shooting In the last year alone, online slot developers broke the mould a few times. In no specific order, Evoplay and Raw iGaming come to mind. The former introduced us to their first-person shooter game, Star Guardians, where punters trade the reels for some action-packed inter-galactic warfare. The latter took the reels to the chopping block and sliced them up, subsequently introducing their SuperSlice slots late last year. Evoplay’s Star Guardians game is a great success, and the approach is unrivalled. The only downside to the game is that it speaks to a very particular segment of gamblers. That being said, this game has the potential to inspire developers as BTG did back in 2016. SuperSlice from Raw iGaming has the potential to become a fan favourite as the innovation doesn’t move too far off from slot game norms. Both types of innovation have their place in the industry and are equally important. Crash Gambles There is another trend making a mark in the slot scene. A whole new genre. Crash gambling games incorporate straightforward mechanics, but developers use unique approaches to attract players to their crash games and slowly chip away at market share because of its commercial success. Improved RTP rates are another reason these games are popular. Some offer a house edge as low as 1%. Suitable for punters who enjoy quick plays, Crash games offer players a sense of more control. The original game appeared in the crypto gambling industry first and slot developers like BGaming jumped on the bandwagon to create one for traditional online casinos. The rules are very simple. Place your bet and risk sticking around for as long as possible while the win multiplier increases like stocks on a good day. Cash-out before it crashes and you walk away as a winner. With the cash-out or crash-and-burn thrill lingering with every increase of the multiplier, the vertical attracts younger audiences and punters that prefer an interactive gambling experience. Crash-style games also offer a higher level of socialising, bringing the human factor closer to remote wagers. Players compete against others in the community, introducing a fresh opportunity for traditionally solo gamblers. What the Future of Slots May Look Like The topic on everyone’s lips in the tech world is blockchain. This is the technology that powers decentralised currency like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology is revolutionary, to say the least, and the online gambling industry, especially games like slots, can benefit from it. Some software providers have cottoned on to the advantages, allowing punters to reap the benefits of features like provably fair mechanics and crypto gambling. Others remain sceptical or uneducated, but experts believe blockchain adoption is inevitable in the technology-driven gambling industry. ✓ Non-Fungible Token Gambling From the technology that makes cryptocurrency so attractive and unique came NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens), digital collector’s items that are all the rage. These blockchain-based items are as unique as a piece of art from Picasso and, depending on who the creator or owner is, it could be as valuable as one. The authenticity of these digital assets makes them extremely sought after and collectors pay astonishing sums to own one. With crypto gambling enjoying an increasing share of online wagers, the market shows potential for these types of additions to attract more players. Elia Software is so confident of this that they created the NFT gambling concept, Slotie. Capitalising on the niche of NFTs, Sloties introduced Ethereum investors to Defi (decentralised finance) gambling paired with NFT ownership. In time, the success of concepts like Slotie will inspire further innovations with blockchain. We are inclined to bet on the NFT reward increasing in demand. ✓ Spinning in Virtual Reality The adoption of virtual reality in gaming has slowly increased, but the market is still lopsided in this regard. A contributing factor is a high cost of acquiring the right equipment for VR experiences and regarding VR gambling, a lack of suitable content fails to motivate players in this direction. Recent shifts in the tech world show that an expansive virtual world is closer than ever before, as Mark Zuckerberg and others set out to create the metaverse. This may be a long way off, but the prospect of walking into a virtual world and travelling impossible distances in seconds sounds pretty amazing. Imagine gambling in an Aussie casino with kangaroos serving you cocktails. Then, with the click of a button, you change venues (and outfits) to Vegas and step out of your limousine into the streets of Sin City. All from the warm comfort of your recliner in your London home. VR presents online players with the chance to get out while staying in and experience gambling like never before. Anticipate in Wonder Although some of the ideas seem far-fetched and others may take time to materialise, we can only imagine what the reality of online slots could become. Taking stock of all the impressive changes from the last couple of years makes it seem like exciting innovations await us, sooner than we can predict.
  5. Wherever you go, whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you! This is one of the many well wishes that include Irish luck and with St Patrick’s Day celebrations upon us, we delve into gambling history from the Emerald Isle. Are Irish truly lucky, and why do people say this? We look into the origins and history of Irish gambling and the lucky charms players and gamblers believe in. From dressing in green to finding that extremely rare four-leaf clover, Irish folklore has deep roots in the global gambling community and many game developers look to the Celtic inspirations from Ireland when creating colourful themes. Some traditions extend beyond Celtic influence, and we unveil the surprising origin of a famous Irish saying. The Emerald Isle’s Gambling Legacy When someone wishes the luck of the Irish on another, they may not always have gambling in mind, but this Northern island has centuries of ties with games of chance and wagering. Historians and archaeologists determined that citizens of this lush green island enjoyed gambling before the arrival of the Romans and Christianity. The discovery of gambling-related artefacts brought them to this conclusion, with some being remarkably similar to dice, which date back to the Iron Age. During the Roman period, this region had its fair share of chariot racing and the wagering that went hand-in-hand with this. Manuscripts dating back to the third century speak of these types of events playing out in The Curragh area. Although gambling was present during these early ages, records lead us to believe that during the 16th century, the practice of horse racing caused a gambling revolution in the country. Thanks to the Irish agricultural community’s natural affinity for producing top-class racehorses, the popularity of race days, and later the involvement of British horse racers, the sport became a top choice for gamblers in the region. While colonised by the English, gambling became an extremely popular pastime among townsfolk, as there were no lawmakers to keep a watchful eye. Once the Irish Republican Army claimed their country back, the new Irish government prohibited some forms of gambling. The street betting act came into effect during 1906, and once the Irish Free State reigned, the Betting Act of 1926 came into force. Since then, Sportsbooks need a licence to accept bets from Irish gamblers. Most of the 20th-century regulations included sports betting and later a Lotteries Act came into effect. During the iconic 80s, one of the country’s most famous brands arose and today Paddy Power is still one of the largest gambling operators in the industry. Since then, online gambling has entered the landscape and Ireland is one of the countries moving toward a regulated market. Irish Luck in Gambling and Beyond A popular saying in gambling and other areas is to have ‘The Luck of The Irish’. One has to wonder why the Irish are seen as lucky to begin and when did this novelty start? The truth of the matter is that it originates from another part of the world and the original use was a bit offensive. Strange how these things go. Let’s uncover some sayings and charms tied to luck in the Irish traditions. The Luck of The Irish Many believe this famous saying originates from America and dates back to the 19th century during the gold rush. According to sources and a Professor of History at the Holy Cross College, many of the mining success stories in this era included miners from Ireland or those with Irish-American blood. According to Associate Professor Edward T. O’Donnell, the saying may at first have been an insult from envious local miners who insinuated that it was by pure luck that Irish enjoyed successful mining. The Professor wrote a book titled, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History and recorded that those who referred to ‘Luck of the Irish’ meant these miners weren’t smart enough to succeed by skill. It must be sheer luck. Thanks to the cheerful and resilient disposition of the Gaelic nation, the saying gained a positive tone and is today seen as a good wish. ✓ Leprechauns Celtic mythology includes wonderful legends and superstitions. One of the most legendary fables from this region is that of the magical leprechaun. This fairy-like creature can easily be the country’s mascot, and every gambler hopes to find what the leprechaun guards with his life. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Fables tell of these water-dwelling creatures that grow approximately 2 to 3 feet in height and love to prank those who seek their treasure. Described as the cobblers of the magical fairy world, which is supposedly the origin of their wealth, leprechauns usually show up wearing green and sporting a long beard. Irish folklore tells how it is lucky to catch a leprechaun as their captor can trade the leprechaun’s life for their pot of gold and win three wishes along the way. ✓ The Shamrock Three-leaf clovers are basic tree-foil plants, but the Irish believe these tiny plants are sacred. The belief stems back to the Celts who recognised 3 as a holy number representing all valuable treasures in the world. A while later, St Patrick introduced the Christian faith to Ireland and instead of using foreign ideas, he incorporated known Celtic symbols to explain details from the Bible. St. Patrick linked the three leaves from the clover to the divine trinity and explained that the leaves represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Shamrock is Ireland’s unofficial national flower and throughout the country’s history, it represented many things. From religious icons to a symbol of unity in rebellion. The clover is synonymous with Ireland and, in the gambling industry, any Irish-themed game without it would be incomplete. ✓ Four-leaf Clovers These are so rare to come across that some could think it is impossible and possibly fictitious. Studies show that the chance of finding a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000 and yet many hold on to the possibility of spotting one. Luck tied to this rare variation of the Shamrock dates back thousands of years ago when they believed it wards off evil spirits and provides protection against sorcery. It is said that when you find a four-leaf clover, you should hide it in your shoe for good luck with gambling, and the cross-shaped plant will only bring luck if you keep it a secret. St Patrick used the fourth leaf of these rare finds to explain God’s grace to Christians in Ireland. ✓ A Horseshoe Along with their love for horse racing, the Irish also believe that a horseshoe brings luck and money to those who find a used shoe. Ancient folklore explains how mischievous fairies cannot come close to steel, which is the material that horseshoes are made of. Therefore, a horseshoe protects the owner from the little creatures. One of the most debated topics with good luck charms is their positioning, and the horseshoe falls into this category of superstitious confusion. Some say they must mount it with the open side up to catch all the luck, while others say it should face downward to shower whoever passes underneath it with the luck it brings. ✓ More Lucky Irish Charms Other Irish traditions to practice this St Patrick’s Day include wearing green, looking for lucky pennies, and spreading some Irish luck with well wishes. Apart from green coming from the shamrock, it is said that leprechauns can’t see those who wear the colour, so you may just be able to catch one for his gold. Should you spot a penny laying about with its face up, be sure to pick it up and luck will be on your side. What is the worth of luck if you can’t spread some cheer and hopefully rub some off on those close to you? Do it as the Irish do: “May the luck of the Irish lead to the happiest heights and the highway you travel be lined with green lights.” Be sure to wish your loved ones well on this St Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick and Irish Luck Every year, communities all over the world unite on the 17th of March by dressing in green and enjoying some Irish traditions. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates one of Ireland’s patron saints and wearing o’ the green originates from a few events and beliefs from Emerald Isle. Green became a political and cultural symbol during the 18th century and the belief remained. Some say the green represents the lush green hills of the Irish landscape. Regardless of its origins, the colour remains a staple for St Paddy’s celebrations and for gamblers it represents prosperity as the colour of money as well. The celebration itself dates back to the 5th century when St. Patrick died, on 17 March, 461. This patron saint of Ireland was an apostle and introduced pagan Celts to Christianity. St. Patrick’s links to quintessential Irish symbols like the shamrock tie in with his preachings of the Christian faith, making green the apt colour for celebrating his life. Many attribute the celebration’s widespread success to the number of Irish pubs all over the world. Apart from donning the colour green, most believe that a drink of Irish beer, known as Guinness, or Irish whiskey is a must on St. Paddy’s Day. Punters will recognise these symbols on Irish-themed slots which bear many symbols akin to the celebrations. This year, software developers present gamblers with even more options when celebrating St. Paddy with a wager or two. If you are keen on spinning some reels in celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, take a look at the following Irish-themed slot games. More fun slots to try include Super Rainbow Megaways, Irish Eyes 2, and Clover Bonanza. Are Irish Punters Really Lucky? Is there really something to the luck of the Irish, or is it merely a saying from envious miners? Some gambling events point to the fact that those with Irish blood may indeed have luck on their side. An Irish punter won a record-breaking €4.8 million on a slot machine, which was the highest ever at that time. Another Irish gambler won the biggest EuroMillions Lottery jackpot and took home a massive €115m in July 2005. Regardless of the historical hardships the people of this country faced, the Irish have a warm and welcoming nature and this is possibly why they say: If you’re enough lucky to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.
  6. The Spanish gaming company, MGA Games, understands consumers on a level that very few other software providers do. Tapping into our social nature and understanding our basic human need to belong, they create gambling titles that provide familiarity. Licensed and regulated in the most renowned jurisdictions globally, punters can find MGA titles on many of the largest online casino platforms. Their peers and loyal following of players recognise MGA games for their unique animations, of which many take region-specific shapes and MGA offers over 100 games suited to all kinds of punters. They even push the envelope by running promotions where they release new games every day for a week to keep players entertained. One more feather in their content-leader cap. We delve into the inspiring company’s history and look at what they’ve achieved in the past 20 years. We’ll also reveal some of the innovative plans they have for the year ahead and we’ll discuss exciting new titles. Keep reading and learn about one of the top content developers in the igaming industry and what you can look forward to. MGA Games: Two Decades in the Making The talented team at MGA games has extensive experience in creating localised content for punters from various regions. Established in 2001, it is safe to say that they have clocked their 10,000 hours and mastered their art. With an established core team comprising over thirty individuals and their high-tech headquarters in Barcelona, they present unsurpassed video slots, video bingo, and table games to casino platforms around the globe. MGA already has a stellar content library with a series dedicated to Spanish, Columbian, and Portuguese celebrities. Their partnerships with over 40 international casino brands, such as 888Casino, William Hill, LeoVegas, and others, position MGA as the software provider for every player out there. Punters will find their content in Mexico, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, and Portugal. Players from LATAM can enjoy MGA games from platforms available to Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, Argentina, and Brazil. In 2022, the team sets out to conquer new markets in regulated parts of Europe and some of these are the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and Italy. Peers classify them as a ‘different and special’ developer as they present gamblers with a wagering experience like no other. More than 100 games have the MGA-unique touch, and they ensure these speak to very specific market segments. They enhance their localised content by collaborating with the likes of Playtech, pariplay, and most recently, Microgaming. Reel Celebrity Crushes Possibly the most notable work from MGA games includes their celebrity adaptations. Their content library includes a collection of local celebrity series, and they intend to expand this exciting range further during 2022. There are a few software providers who offer punters branded online casino games to gamble with their favourite artists or sports stars, but MGA takes the throne. Spanish, Columbian, and Portuguese players adore MGA games, and for good reason. The developers bring their favourite local celebrities to their gaming screens. MGA has a unique take on branded casino games, as they use digitally rendered 3D versions of local stars and adapt their games for each market. Their Lucky Wave 5-reel slot game presents Carolina Mendes for the Portuguese market and Lucía Martiño for the Spanish market. This unmatched adaptability presents the perfect complement to platforms that focus on specific market segments and want the content to achieve their goals. In 2022, the team will release celebrity titles for their new markets, including Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and more Dutch titles for the Netherlands. As part of their celebrity roll-out for this year, they launched the Magnificent 7 drive. From 3 March until 10 March MGA games introduce a new celebrity game every day. That’s 7 games in 7 days! Other plans for this year include titles with Megaways mechanics and a total of 50 licensed international titles. 7 Magnificent Celebrity Games If you appreciate excellent animation with unique themes and top-notch graphics, you will love MGA titles. These entertaining slots, video bingo, and table games present punters with everything they can hope for while brilliant maths enables lucrative wins. The following slots are new ones to try out and only a small part of their impressive library. ✓ Ruleta Grand Croupier El Dioni This somewhat controversial Spanish celebrity is the most famous ex-security guard in the region. Ruleta Grand Croupier El Dioni is MGA’s Spanish celebrity roulette title and players spin the red and black wheel with the Spanish celebrity. El Dioni’s animated persona takes you on a roulette experience like no other. Punters can place minimum bets of €0.10 and maximum bets of €2,000 in this low variance game, enjoying small frequent wins. Find the roulette table positioned on the deck of a secluded island bar with El Dioni as your host and the life of the party. The thatched bar sits above crystal clear waters and your host spins the roulette wheel for your chance of winning the €28,800 pot. ✓ Amarna Miller Cleopatra The ever-expanding Cleopatra series has a new face from the Spanish celebrity series. Amarna Miller Cleopatra is a 5-reel online slot with the famous performer, artist, and content creator named in the title. Amarna Miller’s drive and determination make her the perfect match for this power-women series. As a fan-favourite, the Cleopatra series comes with attractive bonus features and medium volatility. Stakes range between €0.20 and €25 with a maximum prize worth €14,765. A limestone backdrop covered in carved reliefs surrounds the slot grid with two pharaoh statues on either side of the reels. Access 4 mini-games by landing bonus symbols and experience video slot entertainment like only MGA can give. ✓ Pocholo In the three-reel Spanish celebrity series, the MGA team presents Jose María Martínez-Bordíu, affectionately known by his fans as Pocholo. The crazy, unpredictable, and hilarious Ibiza star opens the floor for vibey spinners in his very own slot titled, Pocholo. Spin with him to the party capital of Europe and explore the exciting bonus features in this colourful game. Take a shot at the maximum prize of €15,000 by wagering at least €0.20 or go all-in with a maximum bet of €15. Energising Ibiza sounds play in the background and, at first glance, this medium-variance slot has a retro, arcade-like design. Five mini-games, side-bet options, and manual reel nudges ensure punters will enjoy a unique slot experience. ✓ King Africa Get moving with the Argentine dance project, King Africa, and MGA’s slot dedicated to the entertainer. This is a very colourful slot with crazy changes in scenery and the Latin star accompanies you all the way. King Africa shows up in his eccentric outfits and the backgrounds bear similarities to some of his music videos. Find the bet levels either on the side of the reels or above it, depending on which game you choose. Place a bet between €0.20 and €15 and see how the visible dynamic paytable adjusts to show your potential wins. Enter the bonus multiplier game with the click of a button and experience the heat with the Argentinian singer’s luck. ✓ Daniela Blume Golden Throne This spin-off on the TV hit Game of Thrones is one of MGA’s most loved 5-reel slots. Joining the Golden Throne series is Daniela Blume, with her fearless persona defending the last dragon egg at all costs. In this Golden Throne instalment, she appears as her celebrity presenter persona and under her stage name. Daniele Blume Golden Throne is a volatile game and punters should manage their bankroll carefully in this fiery online slot. Stakes range between €0.30 and €6, where the possibility of winning €38,100 exists. Four mini-games present brilliant entertainment value and higher possible wins in the ancient kingdom of the Golden Throne. Experience heroism at its best when you spin on this explosive slot game. ✓ Popeye Cazatesoros Time for an adventure with a genuine hero. MGA presents the opportunity for punters to reunite with a childhood favourite and embark on a journey with the video slot, Popeye Cazatesoros. The pipe-smoking sailor is the star of the show on this three-reel slot, and it wouldn’t be complete without Olive Oyl, and Bluto. Spin this medium variance game with excellent sound effects, perfect illustrations, and four mini-games. The bottom value for a bet is €0.20 and the top wager amount is €15. Collect bonus symbols and select the bonus game at will where canned spinach and multipliers combine for a powerful win. ✓ El Cartel Become part of the continuous war against smuggling in Columbia and spin on this crime-fighting adventure slot to win the fight. Characters from either side of the war keep players company from next to the reels, with the base game positioned on the sidewalk of a corner shop and the main bonus screen on the upper level of the shop. Place your bets between 5 and 75 credits with one credit equal to €0.20 and make sure you are on the right side when bullets take flight. Enjoy true Columbian scenery and icons with the possibility of 5 bonus features and base game enhancers to make this dangerous mission an attractive prospect. The MGA Games Magic This 20-year-old company is anything but slowing down and one to keep your eyes on. As they embark on an expansive journey into more regulated markets, MGA and their celebrity series will soon be the talk of the igaming town.
  7. The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, kicked off on 1 February 2022 and this year the king of all animals brings it in. 2022 marks the year of the Tiger and those who believe in the Chinese Zodiac signs are expecting great things. Celebrations take place all around the world and will continue until 15 February. Many are eager to bid last year farewell and with the symbolism that comes with the Zodiac sign of the Tiger, it seems like the most promising year in a long time. The tiger carries great importance in Asian culture as many species of this magnificent animal originate from there. Chinese celebrations for the New Year are equal to that of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Valentine’s Day combined and traditionally workers in China get a weeklong holiday to enjoy the festivities. The Year of the Tiger Ancient Chinese Zodiac signs coincide with the lunar calendar and this belief system dates back thousands of years. The relevant animal and element signs are determined by the Zodiac’s interaction with the heavenly stems. These comprise five elements of Taoism and are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, and work on a number system from 1 to 10. The twelve Zodiac signs are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The water tiger represents strength and bravery and is an action-oriented sign which clears away evil. Other significant meanings attached to the tiger are confidence, leadership, vitality, and power. Many believe this is the year to renew everything and this may encourage people to conquer difficulties from the past year. Just like the yin and yang, the tiger power symbol warns you to take your time when making important decisions. This is a wonderful piece of advice, as life’s fast pace sometimes pressures us into making spur-of-the-moment decisions that we later regret. Taking a gentle and level-headed approach with important people and events is always a sign of wisdom. Lunar New Year traditions include spending time with family while enjoying foods that represent prosperity, abundance, and togetherness. It is also the start of a new season, and the spring festival includes cleaning homes thoroughly to rid them of any negative spirits and energies. This invites goodwill and luck into the cleared space. Lunar New Year Celebrations Rituals of food and paper offerings form part of some traditional households and red banners or posters with messages of fortune take their place on walls of homes and businesses. Family members hand out red envelopes, called ang pau. These envelopes filled with money symbolise wishes of prosperity for the new year. Festivities run according to the moon cycle and draw to a close on 15 February this year. The celebrations include parades with acrobatic shows and traditional lion dancers. Chinese people mark the last part of the festivities, when the full moon rises, by lighting paper lanterns. Chinese Symbols and Gambling Despite China’s prohibition of gambling, traditional Chinese symbols show up regularly on wagering games. International gambling destinations appreciate their Eastern visitors and statistics show Chinese tourists make up a third of all foreign guests in the United States. Apart from their love for wagering, a collection of good luck charms makes up Chinese tradition, and many believe these to bring wealth and fortune. These are some of the reasons why so many gambling games have Chinese themes. Some Chinese money charms are so popular that westerners place them in their homes and places of business, hoping to attract wealth. The money-frog is one of those trinkets as well as the colours red and gold. Jin Chan, the three-legged gold bullfrog, sits on the pile of coins and people place this figure at the door’s entrance facing inward, to signify how he brings money in. China’s national colour is red and has represented happiness and good fortune, among other things, for centuries. The age-old tradition of giving a red envelope filled with Chinese coins is a wish for fortune in the new year. Furthermore, software developers include quintessential Eastern icons to cater for Chinese tourists in gambling hubs and this practice continued into the igaming industry. Punters often link Chinese symbolism with luck and the vibrant colour that these games display could evoke energising feelings. Some have Feng Shui symbols and music, which tend to relax people and spinners who want to break away from the rush of life typically choose these zen-inspired slots. Apart from slots and table games, one of the oldest Chinese games inspired modern-day lotteries and bingo. Keno has its origins in ancient China dating back two thousand years ago and it is noteworthy that Chinese citizens may play Lotto, as they do not see it as a form of gambling. Slots to Celebrate the Year of the Tiger With the tiger symbolism that brings renewed energy and the determination that comes with the water sign, punters may feel like wagering on a spin or two for the Lunar New Year. There is no lack of Chinese or Eastern themed online slot games. However, there are only a handful of games with the mighty tiger in them. The following games are right on the money for proper 2022 Lunar New Year celebrations. Take these for a spin and have a prosperous 2022. ✓ Tiger Tiger Wild Life by Yggdrasil Chinese believe that the tiger is the king of the animal world and the Tiger Tiger Wild Life video slot encapsulates this animal’s powerful nature. Gluck Games partnered with Yggdrasil for this visually stunning slot that plays out in the jungle and punters can win up to 3,500 x their stake when spinning on it. The carved stone 5-reel, 4-row slot grid has majestic tigers all over it and on top, you will find the four jackpots up for grabs. Ferocious roars grab your attention now and then with oriental music that adds to the eastern feel of the game. A Bengal tiger is the top paying symbol with three other high-paying tigers in the symbol line-up. Tiger Tiger Wild Life has fortune-bringing bonus features with the Quickhit Money bonus and Free Spins. A monkey will collect money symbols of up to 20x your stake and four jackpots with the Grand prize being 1,000x your bet. ✓ Tiger Rush by Thunderkick This Thunderkick online slot will transport you into a bamboo forest and get your adrenaline pumping as you hunt for the stealthy tiger and his bonus. Tiger Rush is a unique-looking online slot and the ambient sounds create a tip-of-your-seat experience. With 10 fixed paylines in the base game and 25 in the bonus feature, a 5 x 3 grid layout, and medium variance, it is a game for all punters. Symbols represented by cabochon polished gemstones and imagery from traditional Asian art fill the reels that pay both ways. The tiger is an expanding Wild that grows to cover the middle reels. It lands on reels 2 to 4 and awards a respin while staying in place. The middle reels expand during the bonus game, which triggers when either two Scatters land or a combination of one Scatter and one Wild. ✓ Exotic Cats by Microgaming Microgaming takes us deep into the jungle, where only the bravest souls survive. Although this slot is a few years old, the imagery is beautiful, and the slot is aptly positioned above a river. Making it the perfect online slot game for 2022 celebrations. The developers added realistic jungle sounds to create a truly immersive experience. Punters will roar with delight, and sometimes with fright as the prowling Wilds jump out from behind the 5 x 3 slot grid. Click spin and watch how magnificent beasts roll onto the reels with gem card suites, embellished paw prints, and a jungle princess. The tiger, panther, lion, leopard, and cougar can jump onto their marked reel to cover it with a stacked Wild symbol. More than one occurrence of this bonus feature is possible in a single spin. Win 10 Free Spins with 3 golden Scatter symbols and 5 more spins with Scatters that drop during the feature. ✓ Sapphire Tiger by High5 Games This retro-styled slot will appeal to art lovers as High5 Games incorporate graphics inspired by traditional Chinese art. The Sapphire Tiger online slot presents punters with 576 pay ways, ambient sounds true to oriental roots, and a maximum reward of €360,000. The developers went with an unusual grid layout of 3-4-4-4-3 for the five-reels video slot with a floral jungle backdrop. Tigers, frogs, butterflies, and birds come to life when winning combinations land. The jungle-theme slot has a medium variance and players can expect a reasonable number of wins. Win an initial 6 Free Spins with 5 or more flower Scatters in view and see how the sapphire tiger slot grid changes for the bonus feature. Free spins can re-trigger, and lucky punters could win up to 300 free games.
  8. Reflection is key to gratitude, and hindsight sometimes generates powerful realisations and inspires innovative change. Let’s take stock of what technology and the brilliant developers in the igaming industry have given us since remote gambling first became available. Modern punters probably take most of these innovations for granted, but the truth is the past two decades have brought about massive changes for online gambling. Gambling anywhere you find yourself is a very recent development and the level of entertainment available has improved unthinkably since the 90s. Basic features like 3D graphics, animated characters, streaming, and many others are the norm in 2022, so let’s look at 8 advancements developers brought to the table since the inception of online gambling. ✓ 1. Innovations for Slot Mechanics Video slots are by far the most popular choice for online gamblers and, thanks to the popularity of these games, software providers invest intensely in their innovations. The first feature is so common today that it is virtually unthinkable that it wasn’t always there. Free Spins, and other bonus features for that matter, were not always part of online slots. Original video slots were like one-arm-bandits where punters simply clicked spin and hoped for a line win. This feature shows how far technology has brought us. From slots that have 1 line for a winning combination to Megaways that offer over 117,000 ways to win. This slot mechanic broke the mould and Big Time Gaming’s innovation ensured that the industry will never be the same again. Countless brands have since signed agreements with BTG to incorporate this popular concept into their video slots. The Megaways structure opened developers’ minds to what might be possible and this gave rise to plenty more payline innovations. Thinking outside the paylines, developers soon introduced a Cluster Pay system, where lines no longer mattered. As long as matching symbols land next to each other in cluster formations, it awards a win. This feature led to other interesting developments, like uniquely shaped slot grids. Mega Clusters are the amped-up version of cluster pays presented by BTG and combine cluster pays with split symbols. InfiniReels mechanics only recently arrived on the scene when NetEnt did what most only dreamed of. The brilliant design team developed a mechanic with infinite payways and the rules are rather straightforward. Every win generates a new reel to the right of the grid and this continues for an unlimited win sequence. ReelPlay has the same mechanic, called Infinity Reels. Yggdrasil is another team of genius developers and they brought us massive icons to spice up the reels. Gigablox can drop in sizes of 2x2, 3x3, 4x4, and humongous 6x6, taking up most of the slot grid. These symbols make winning combinations more lucrative, and other developers have since unveiled their own versions. Yggdrasil also presented Splitz where one symbol splits in two for more winning potential. With providers feeding off each other’s innovative ideas, we can go on with this list for a while, but it’s clear that slots are better than ever and players can spin their hearts out. ✓ 2. Progressive Jackpots Something the internet does for us which we may take for granted is that it brings a level of connectedness that never existed. Linking the great big world like never before brought on the wonderful thing that gamblers love, called Progressive Jackpots. These eye-watering, life-changing prizes comprise the tally of wagers in a selected game throughout the provider’s network. The progressive nature of these pots means that the prize increases with each bet placed on that game. These are not just limited to online slots and some exciting card and table games incorporate it too. The favourites include Mega Moolah, the Microgaming hit slot, Roulette Royale, and Caribbean Stud Poker. ✓ 3. Live Dealer Games Another hint that we are indeed living in the golden age of online gambling is the fact that we no longer need to visit a land-based casino to experience the thrill of human interaction. Thanks to incredible internet speed and innovative providers, we can enjoy live dealer games streamed from casino studios. Evolution Gaming is a forerunner in the Live Dealer sphere of online gambling and their games are tremendously popular. Interact with the croupier as they spin the roulette wheel, deal your hopeful 21, or flip the cards to reveal your Hold’em fate. Presenters dressed in colourful and themed attire spin the wheel of fortune for you, and punters have online social spaces to interact with peers. Live dealer technology literally brings the casino to you and they fill casino libraries with interesting takes on traditional games as developers ensure their content is unique and exciting. ✓ 4. Tournaments and Multiplayer Games If you feel you are ready to take your igaming to the next level, tournaments and multiplayer games should be on your list. Play with and against gamblers from all over the world in the best kind of social experience you will find in remote gambling. As mentioned, with live dealer games, you have the option of interacting with other players by chatting with them, but tournaments bring a more competitive edge to the table. Casino Races is one form of a tournament where players opt-in to take part in free point-based competitions. These usually run for a set time and at the end of the race, the players with the most points win cash prizes. Games included in these tournaments are usually a collection of slots and table games. Most online casinos offer blackjack and poker tournaments to seasoned players and these winner-takes-all competitions can get really exciting. ✓ 5. Mobile Gambling and Omni-Channel Gradually mobile phones became an appendix we never knew we needed but now can’t be without. The onset of HTML5 technology combined with fast internet made it possible for developers to adapt website interfaces to work seamlessly on mobile devices. Software providers then introduced omnichannel technology that allows players to move between devices on a single user profile, which is partially the reason for the mobile gambling industry boom. Mobile gambling is now the most popular way to wager, and it is strange to think that a while ago, we needed individual profiles for each device we played on. Smartphone technology allows punters to enjoy the immersive experience of live casinos, as some devices have better processors than computers, and the development of mobile gambling has made games of chance accessible to everyone. One more advantage of mobile gambling is the security it offers with payment apps that link directly to the casino and cut out the need for you to link banking details. All around, mobile technology is a massive game-changer for gambling. ✓ 6. VR Technology One of the most exciting advances in gaming is Virtual Reality and, with the looks of it, we have seen nothing yet when it comes to virtual entertainment. VR games transport players to worlds beyond our imagination and certain games will allow you to recreate yourself as an avatar. Enjoy the company of other players who take part with their virtual version of themselves and forget all about the world around you for a while. Evolution gaming incorporated this technology into one of their live games, Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt. This live game allows players to switch to VR mode, using a headset and controller, and experience the most immersive treasure hunt with the Spanish conquistador everyone loves. ✓ 7. Cryptocurrency The unprecedented growth in the online gambling sector makes it an obvious target for chancers. Electronic transactions fill the money web while players and platforms need to find the most trustworthy manner of operating the process. Although many fiat currency processes exist that are highly secure and most punters use them, the undeniable security offered by blockchain has opened the industry’s mind to cryptocurrency. Online casinos like 7Bit Casino focus solely on Bitcoin and offer remote gambling in cryptocurrency, and many top platforms encourage and reward punters for using crypto as their wagering currency of choice. Advantages include guaranteed anonymity, ease of access, and super-fast processing. Cryptocurrency is not the easiest to come by and, for this reason, many avoid it. It is also a seriously volatile currency, and this is probably why many people still think it is too risky. ✓ 8. Provably Fair Blockchain Gambling Apart from the security blockchain technology provides with payments in cryptocurrency, the node-driven tech presents a list of other advantages for igaming. A concern that some punters have is that the casino may cheat them by rigging the game software. Although it is highly unlikely for random number generator games to be rigged, provably fair blockchain technology is a lot more secure. Some Bitcoin casinos now offer players the opportunity to verify the fairness of each round of the game if they want to. Because of the nature of blockchain technology, it is immutable, in other words unchangeable, and this grants unmatched transparency with the game’s randomness. If a casino has games built on blockchain, players will have the peace of mind that it is designed to be provably fair and they can check the data should they wish to.
  9. If you are looking for a new hobby and online gambling is the option, here are a few pointers to make it an enjoyable experience every time. For seasoned gamblers, these may be obvious, and the wisdom may have come with expensive lessons, but even experienced punters forget the basics. With land-based casinos closed for long stretches over the last two years, many countries finally saw the importance of a regulated online gambling market as their citizens turned to igaming. Now that we see many new regulated markets and platform providers popping up from everywhere, it is more important than ever to keep your head cool when taking part in remote betting activities. Especially if you are new at this. Online casinos offer bonus deals to attract players to their platform and developers do their best to make their games stand out. With all the flashing lights and “Free” banners popping up, would-be punters as well as experienced gamblers can easily get carried away. So, before you get caught up in the moment, implement these 5 steps to ensure a relaxing and entertaining online gambling time. ✓ 1. Do Your Homework We get it. If reading was your thing, you would curl up on a sofa and get lost in your favourite book. The thing with reading casino and game reviews, though, is that it saves you a lot of time and unnecessary frustration. How so? Experienced players do the grunt work for you by checking all the important facts to consider when picking your gambling platform and which games you will wager your money on. If you pick a reputable source, you can rest assured that the casinos they write about and suggest to their visitors have the correct licenses in place. It is very important to only gamble at online casinos that are regulated within your country, as this ensures your right to recourse if you are dissatisfied with the service you received. On top of that, licensed and regulated platform providers need to adhere to strict gambling laws to maintain their licensed status within their respective jurisdictions. This ensures that players’ safety is a top priority to the casino and their staff. A good review will include factors such as payment solutions, available currencies, available languages for customers, and the level of customer service provided. With online casinos, punters need to know how long they will wait for their withdrawal as well. Most good review sites will include details on bonus deals from all the leading licensed operators, but always be sure to read the terms and conditions for yourself, to ensure you understand them. Review sites will help you choose the best game for your preferences too. With the multitude of slot games available, rather read a couple of reviews and play demos, if available, before you place your first bet. The important statistics will be on the review as well as the theme and rules. Should slots not interest you, all other casino games will have reviews too. Where your hard-earned money is involved, it is always better to have a good understanding of the game rules. ✓ 2. Manage Your Most Precious Resources: Money and Time Cash-flow mismanagement is the quickest way to get yourself into trouble with gambling and bring an abrupt end to the fun. The habit of setting a monthly and a session budget should be part of your gambling strategy to ensure that you don’t overestimate your betting allowance. Always make sure that you stick to what your budget allows and never overspend. Breaking this rule, even once, is a slippery slope to problematic gambling habits. Another golden rule of money management for gambling is to never wager with borrowed money. Some you win, some you lose. Take this to heart and walk away from your losses. Borrowing money to place a ‘sure bet’ or to cover your losses is a certain trap and one that you should avoid at all costs. Money is not the only precious commodity you own. The mentioned budgets should go further than currency to include how much time you spend on gambling. Time management is just as important, if not more so, and knowing when to stop even if you must ‘end on a high’ or walk away from a big loss will set you up for success in the long run. This, in turn, creates a winning mindset, which is a key component in every successful punter’s arsenal. Make sure that your time spent gambling fits in with your daily schedule and does not take away from other priorities, such as family time, work, etc. If you find it challenging to stick within the budget(s) you set for yourself, consider talking to someone about these challenges. Impulsive gambling can lead to detrimental consequences. ✓ 3. Make Use of Deposit and Time Limits The third point ties in with our discussion above and will make it so much easier to manage your bankroll. Online casinos and gambling regulators created this tool to help punters stick within their means and budgets. This is a great tool that promotes responsible gambling and helps you live to wager another day. Utilising the deposit limit application takes one more thing off your mind, as you only need to focus on the game and your betting strategy. Most veteran gamblers have learnt that it is too easy to give in to temptation and make that extra deposit in the hopes that the tides will turn or that the table is about to turn hot. In the heat of the moment, you may believe that the next spin or hand will bring your fortune but sticking to your budget is a skill to hone and setting a deposit limit helps you do exactly that. Regulators require online casinos to offer punters the deposit limit tool and, in most instances, you can limit yourself in different forms. Daily, weekly, and monthly limits will make it easy to structure your budget. ✓ 4. Check the RTP and Variance RTP, the acronym for Return to Player, refers to the amount the game pays back to the player over thousands of spins. They normally display this value in percentages. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 95%, it will give back 95c for every €1 spent. Essentially, this statistic communicates how much you can expect to lose. The % difference is the house’s edge, which translates to the percentage of player bets retained by the game in the long run. Although it is a theoretical amount, the fact remains that the house always wins. Some games have better return values and lower house edge and naturally, these should be the ones you play. The accepted average RTP for online slot games is around 95.5% but some slots can go as low as 85% as certain regulators allow for it. Finding out what the game’s RTP is will empower you to make better game choices for greater winning potential. Slot games have one more vital element to consider and that is the payout variance, also referred to as the game’s volatility. They rate it from low to high and it has a tremendous impact on how you should manage your bankroll. A low variance game will pay out often, but the returns are usually small. High variance games have erratic payout structures and spinners can experience dry spells and sudden big wins. These games are popular for the big wins but understand that they can stretch your bankroll with wins awarded seldom. ✓ 5. Ignoring Betting Lines on Games Understanding the mechanics of the game you are playing is key to the success of any prospective punter. Betting lines, also known as paylines, are a line-up of specific symbols on which they will reward a payout. Traditional slot machines used to have only one betting line running through the middle of the reels, but most modern slot games can have anything from five to hundreds of paylines with winning combinations in all types of patterns. Some video slot developers allow the player to decide how many lines they want to bet on before the spin and more lines mean more winning opportunities. Most of these slot games have a set number of lines you would need to bet on, so adjust your bet amount accordingly. Usually, there are two different bet settings. One for the currency you bet on and one for how many coins you will use per spin. This mechanic may confuse punters and others may just ignore the fact, but this can push your bet up without you realising it. If you find that your total bet displayed on the game’s dashboard is more than the bet amount you entered, chances are the structure of ‘bet per line’ is in place. These details are available in the paytable menu or the game rules, another point that many punters forget to explore before spinning away. Here you will see what individual symbols will reward you and how many need to match for a pay-out. The payline structure will explain how stakes apply and wins are split. If your bet amount is split between lines, they calculate your payout according to line wager. For example, a €3 bet on a 30-line slot means you are only betting 10c per line and would pay out relative to this. As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks. So always check the mechanics of the game before playing and find a game best suited for your betting style. When the Fun Stops, So Should You Having fun while gambling is about staying in control of the situation. Incorporating the above steps can help gamblers to focus on the entertainment factor while practising responsible gambling habits. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our recommended and reviewed GamblersPick online casinos.
  10. Becoming a VIP may not be every punter’s ambition, but let’s be honest, everyone enjoys receiving special treatment. Some throw the term “high-roller” around loosely and perhaps you have a good idea of what a VIP looks like at a land-based casino. In comparison, the perks for online gamblers come in different forms, as it needs to enhance their virtual experience more than anything else. Instead of a luxury hotel room, an online VIP may get a higher deposit match bonus and to make up for the lack of free champagne, online casinos extend invitations to special tournaments for high-rollers. One thing is certain though, online high-rollers get better deals and VIP treatment, so if you want the virtual red-carpet rolled out for you, it is possible. Don’t worry though, some VIP hosts spoil their customers with a surprise now and then, like a bottle of bubbly or the like. Players may think it is unattainable to be dubbed a high-roller as their wagering habits, and budgets, don’t match that of a gambling whale. However, we beg to differ and here we have a few tips that can get you into a virtual VIP lounge without breaking the bank. What is An Online High-Roller? A VIP player at top online casinos will very much function like their land-based counterparts, as they wager sizable sums of money and give the casino a lot of their time. These are the two most basic criteria for high-rolling gamblers. Just like a casino whale would catch the attention of the pit boss by depositing a large sum at their brick and mortar facility, a €4,000 deposit or more will turn heads at the online management office. Receiving that VIP invitation won’t happen unless they detect a consistent wagering rhythm. Once a punter catches the attention of online casino staff because they make big deposits and bet brazenly, they will extend a golden invitation to their coveted VIP loyalty program. This means they want to get to know you better and offer you a tailor-made gambling experience. There is nothing quite like a full-fledged VIP experience at online casinos. Perks can include unique betting limits, tickets to exclusive events, and access to your own private account manager. Champagne on a Beer Budget? If your budget does not allow for large deposits and bold bets, there are other ways of climbing the online status ladder. Using what you have, in combination with what the casino can offer you is one of the easiest and smartest ways of getting exclusive deals. Most bonus deals include deposit match perks, which can go a long way if used wisely. Below we explore the yellow-brick road to your VIP wizard. The path may require some patience, a bit of faking it ‘till you make it, and definitely a lot of savvy. Casino Bonus Offers Because of the fierce competition in the igaming industry, casino platforms do their best to attract customers through bonus offers. This means you will have the pick of the litter with the top bonus offers from the best online casinos. Some online casinos offer deals that include a no deposit bonus and most times, these are available to both new and existing members. All online casinos offer packages to new members, and many of the best casinos have loyalty bonus offers for existing players. These will grant you a wonderful boost to your bankroll and give you a bunch of free spins. In all cases, terms and conditions apply, so be sure to read the fine print in order to maximise the gift. The key here is to pick quality over quantity. Deposit match bonus offers mostly come in the shape of a 100% match, up to a certain amount divided into two to three deposit transactions. Some casinos will give you more than a 1 to 1 bonus, but as we said, there are always conditions that require you to take certain actions before the benefit comes your way. Sometimes, the offers only include certain games, so be sure that the offer is in line with your betting preferences. All free offers come with playthrough requirements, so study these points before you pick a deal and be selective about which games you will use your free spins and bonus on. Picking the best bonus offer to suit your betting goals will go a long way in helping you get to a higher tier, but combining it with the next few tips will make it a sure bet. Loyalty Points Programs Loyalty programs that work on a points-based tier system can help you get to a higher level in the rewards system, by simply gambling at a casino with this type of program. As you level up, the casino will improve their offering to you and, in many cases, they link the level you are on to cashback bonuses. The good news is that qualifying for VIP status usually has a points system attached to it, so you can work your way toward it. Get to know the different levels and what you need to do to level up. Some games may contribute more toward your points than others, so spend the bulk of your time on those. It is also worth finding out whether you keep your level status once you reach it, or whether you need to re-qualify if you haven’t played for a while. Patience and persistence are your best friends here, as you will need to play often and for a while to make the most of climbing the tiers. As the name shows, casinos reward loyal members much more than casual drop-in players. Some casino loyalty programs are by invitation only, and you would need to be a VIP to participate in this type of program. Using your bonus boosted bankroll to play games with better returns can help in this instance. Game Choices to Boost Your Bankroll One of the surest ways to maximise your wager and increase your bankroll to get the attention of casino managers is by playing the right type of games. Obviously, all punters gamble to win, but excellent strategy and game choice will get you there much quicker. Games with lower house edges like blackjack, require skill, so you will need to know a thing or two about the game strategy. Slot games with low stakes and high possible returns can sometimes give your account the balance boost it needs to wager like a high-roller. With table games like blackjack, you can theoretically win more often than you would at a random number generated outcome like a slot machine, but with card games, the wagers need to be higher for a good return. Depending on the house edge, you may look at pay-out ratios of 3:2. Compared to slot payouts, this is a poor return. This being said, there are interesting options like blackjack with win multipliers that could land you big wins. Using slot machines is not as clear cut as card games of skill, however, the returns can be much more attractive. Plus, online slots usually contribute a lot more to loyalty points. Slot machines often have potential payouts at vast multiples of your bet and some have progressive jackpots that pay out daily. Points to keep in mind when gambling on video slot games are the variance, meaning how often the game pays, and stake levels. If a game has a very high variance, it seldom pays, but usually, the wins are bigger, and the opposite is true of a low variance game. Remember that bonus spins and free money have terms attached to them, and these apply to jackpots and payouts most of the time. So remember that they may cap a jackpot win if you used free spins or free money to place that bet. Making It Into the Club The one certain thing is that becoming an online VIP isn’t something that happens in one deposit or bet, as it could in a land-based casino. This is a game of patience, so you may as well use all the tools at your disposal to maximise your odds. Do your homework, pick your online casino, and start wagering. Once you manage to get your profile at a level where the VIP customer care department reaches out to you, be sure to enjoy the perks that come with being a preferred client. You can enjoy customised bet limits and payouts will happen faster. Better bonus deals are at your disposal and you will surely receive invitations to the best tournaments. Oh, and let your host know about a few of your favourite things.
  11. We know that the online casino industry has many misconceptions that are attached to it. Whether or not these myths are a reality make all the difference to just how safe or rewarding playing casino games can be. The world of online gambling, casino games, and even land-based casinos has come a long way since its conception. As gambling regulations are established and laws become more stringent, it’s easy to see that many concerns about casinos are nothing by but a myth. Let’s take a look at the most popular “myths” and debunk them to put your mind at ease. Myth #1 – All Casino Games are Rigged While it may be frustrating when a losing streak drains your bankroll, it doesn’t mean that online casino games are rigged. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. With regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gambling Authority keeping a keen eye on how casinos and software providers operate, games are tested on a regular basis. Third-party companies have been created to ensure that casino games are fair and payout as they should. No more or no less than they have been designed to do. You can rest assured that all of the online casino games you play by trusted software providers at licensed online casinos are safe and fair. Myth #2 – Past Results Can Predict Future Wins Unfortunately, no matter how many times you’ve won while playing blackjack or roulette, casino games are based on pure luck. Yes, while certain casino games may take some skill to get the most out of a bet or hand you’re played, only Lady Luck can truly determine who wins or loses. In games such as roulette, where the random outcome of the ball is what determines the winner, this couldn’t be truer. Random results are what make casino games such a gamble – but it’s also what provides a lot of the fun. Myth #3 – Betting Systems are the Key to Winning The online casino industry is filled with betting systems and “experts” who insist that betting systems are the perfect way to make yourself a winner. While certain steps can be taken to get the most out of your bet and make your bankroll last longer, betting systems are no guarantee of landing a win. Depending on the betting system you choose to incorporate into your gaming session, you could end up walking away with a much lighter bankroll instead. Myth #4 – Online Slots Pay Out in a Rhythm While it’s true that all online slots pay out eventually, there’s no way to determine when or how that will happen. If a certain online slot hasn’t paid out in a while, it doesn’t mean that you can force that win by playing it more. When outcomes of a slot are determined by random outcomes, it’s impossible to guess what it will take before a big win lands. Instead, be patient and play responsibly. Myth #5 – Online Casinos Never Pay Winners We can with certainty that this is 100% not true. All trusted, licensed and regulated online casinos are required to pay out winners if they meet the standards set out by the regulator. While there may be some paperwork involved, online casinos worth their salt pay out their winners as quickly as possible. It’s because of this that it’s so important to choose the right online casino. We have a long list of reviewed online casinos that can be trusted but not all casinos are created equally. If you find that an online casino has been blacklisted or has a bad review, steer clear to be safe and keep your money and information safe. Myth #6 – Certain Slots Never Pay Out Jackpots All online slots are created with an RTP percentage. RTP or Return To Player, is the percentage that determines how often an online slots pay outs across its lifetime of spins. This is entirely hypothetical and can range from 92% to 98% depending on how generous the provider is feeling. While this number is hypothetical and cannot truly be tracked, it does give players an idea of what to expect when it comes to winning. A higher RTP means there’s a better chance of winning, but this could be over a long period of time. For instance, if a slot has an RTP of 94%, it should pay out $94 for every $100 bet over the game’s lifetime. Statistically, all online slots are designed to pay out wins. This is what makes them entertaining and rewarding for players who bet. Myth #7 – Online Gambling is Illegal Depending on where you live, this may be true. However, many countries around the world are starting to embrace legal gambling practices and putting regulators in place to keep gambling safe. While this doesn’t mean that online gambling is legal everywhere, the chances of finding legal gambling sites in the country you live are better than ever. If you find yourself in a country where online gambling is legal, make sure that you play at a safe and licensed online casino for the best possible experience. There are many online casinos that offer their services to players in countries where gambling online isn’t legal. This is unsafe and means you’re playing without any protection. Play Safe, Stay Safe The online casino industry is simply a part of the entertainment industry. This means there are rules and regulations that must be met to keep players like you safe. Playing at a safe online casino means you should have a fun and rewarding casino experience and that’s why we want to make sure that you’re always in good hands. Trust our GamblersPick Select casinos for the best experience possible.
  12. The tech world has always been obsessed with the next big thing. Whether that was the advancement of the basic home computer, the release of the first mobile phone, or the chance to step foot on Mars – every day, finding what could be next while on the search for new technology is never a dull experience. While not a new concept, the metaverse is the latest landscape to be conquered and 2021 is the moment that many tech giants have chosen to embrace it. But what does that mean for the online gambling industry? What is the Metaverse? The metaverse is a mimic of real life (or a twin universe) that combines the online world with our own via the use of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and social media. Naturally, cryptocurrencies are an important part of the metaverse as people aim to remain as anonymous as possible when spending money to protect themselves and their cash. 3D avatars, connecting via virtual spaces, gaming in a virtual world where you can interact with your friends face to face while being on the other end of the world – all of this and so much more can be achieved via the metaverse. Or at least, that’s the hope. For many years, the idea of a virtual world much like our own (but better) has intrigued inquisitive minds. In fact, the term “metaverse” was coined by a sci-fi writer named Neal Stephenson in 1992 in his novel, Snow Crash. In the novel, a 3D world was used to interact with avatar versions of human beings as a metaphor for reality. Facebook and Microsoft Embrace the Metaverse Some are calling it the modern space race – who will be the first to conquer the metaverse? Facebook rocked the world when it recently announced that it would be fully embracing the metaverse and cemented the idea by changing the larger company’s name to Meta. Only days later, Microsoft released their plans for a more immersive Teams experience with 3D avatars and meeting spaces. While many are disappointed that the metaverse’s first real implementation will be for work meetings and presentations, it’s only the start. No matter how the technology is used, it’s apparent that creating virtual versions of ourselves and uploading them to a “twin” world of our own has been the aim for many years now. But where did the obsession begin? The Metaverse: Inspired by Sci-fi The concept of using AR and VR in everyday life has long inspired movie creators to make that dream a reality. Minority Report and that infamous scene where Tom Cruise navigates the world around him using a virtual reality ‘map’ is one that has been recreated again and again. Tony Stark uses similar tech to create his Ironman suit in the Avengers movie by creating, conceptualising and eventually sharing his work all via an AR interface. Fans of Ready Player One, the popular novel that became a film in 2018, will recognise living life in a virtual world. Rather than having AR or VR become one with our world, Ready Player One shows what life could be life if we spent all of our time online instead. Finally, one of the largest mobile games in the world, Pokémon GO, lets players experience AR in a fun and easy to use manner. Players can choose to have the Pokémon they’re attempting to catch appear in the room with them, rather than just appearing on screen. While this is all optional, it still makes AR a normal part of life for those who use it daily. The Future of Online Gambling with AR and VR Anyone who’s been in the online gambling industry for even a short amount of time can tell you that the future is always the aim. What’s next on the cards for technology and casino games? Developers want to know where to focus their talents and expertise. Staying one step ahead of the rest of the world is where casino Game developers thrive. Even the metaverse has always been something they’ve seen as the next big thing. For many years now, analysts and experts have said that VR and AR are where the online casino world will blossom. Up until recently, however, it was nothing more than a gimmick. But now that tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft are pouring more and more cash into making the metaverse a real-world reality, the advancements for every other industry will begin to flow. Perhaps it’s been the recent worldwide lockdown and subsequent need for human interaction on a new level, or maybe the world is just ready for the metaverse – but things are advancing much faster than was ever predicted. Many believed that the metaverse would only really become a reality within the next 10 years or more. But instead, it’s here. It’s new but it’s here and the future is bright – for everyone, including online gambling enthusiasts. Play with VR Today Currently, augmented reality is not really on the table for online gambling just yet but VR has been embraced with a cautious hand. SlotsMillion Casino launched the first ever virtual reality casino in 2015. While it’s still functional today, it’s not utilised as players realised that it simply wasn’t sustainable. The futuristic and heavy graphics meant spending hours with VR goggles on and this can cause some users to feel ill. Others simply don’t want to be tied to their computers, instead opting for mobile gambling. In 2021, the shift is starting to take place with Evolution releasing the first-ever VR live casino game. Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt in VR combines the excitement of playing an online slot while interacting with a live host, all set in a virtual reality. It may not be as immersive as the metaverse plans to unleash one day but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
  13. Death. The thought that takes most of us to the end of our life. The end of it all. If you believe in an afterlife, it is the end of this phase of your existence. Mostly, it is a sad and dreaded, though unavoidable, event. For many, this is not the case, as we observe the reason and traditions around Día de Los Muertos, a two-day sacred holiday. Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, has its roots in Aztec worship and the ancient belief that when a soul departs from this world, they have an extensive journey to the next realm. Aztecs and other Nahua people believed it was disrespectful to see death as a loss and mourn it. Instead, they saw death as a natural phase of the continuum of life. ✓ Two Days for the Dead Although the celebration originated in Mexico and they still celebrate it there today, many people observe Día de Los Muertos throughout Latin America and other parts of the world. They celebrate the holiday on the first and second days of November. Día de Los Angelitos, the Day of little angels, is in remembrance of children who died and precedes the official Day of the Dead. Should you find yourself in Mexico on 1 and 2 November, you will have the privilege of encountering a colourful, shrine-filled world as Mexicans remember the lives of their deceased loved ones. The centrepiece of the celebration is Ofrendas and is an altar created in honour of the deceased. They adorn towns and graves with marigolds, the Mexican flower of death. Synonymous with the celebration are colourful Calacas and Calaveras – skeletons and skulls – and families fill their homes and towns with this symbol. The small altars, Ofrendas, are very personal and families build these in their homes during the days preceding the holiday. The family also adorn the grave with marigold petals and other flowers and scatter a trail of petals from the altar to the grave. ✓ A Few of Their Favourite Things Ofrendas do not represent a place of worship, it is an invitation. An invitation dressed in the dead’s favourite things from this world. It is a multi-level display crowned with a photo of the deceased person, as well as their favourite foods, drinks, sugar skulls, crosses, and a candle for each dead relative. During Día de Los Muertos, family members take part in the deceased’s favourite activities, hoping they will return and share the experience. Should their spirit decide to return, food and drinks await them at their grave as sustenance after the treacherous journey. ✓ Sugar Bread for The Dead If you are wondering what the dead might want to eat, this Mexican tradition believes that we have a sweet tooth once we pass on. Candied sweets and pastries fill the altars, and Pan de Muerto is the quintessential snack for the dead. This is a sugar-glazed traditional Mexican bread in the shape of bones. You will find colourful Calaveras in the shape of masks and candies sitting on gravesites, ofrendas, and painted murals. Those who celebrate Day of the Dead mostly dress up to resemble Calavera Catrina, and suitably wear hats, fancy clothing, and paint their faces. They say the skull symbol and La Catrina originates from the Aztecs worshipping the goddess of death and satiric drawings from José Guadalupe Posada. During the 18th and 19th centuries, literary Calaveras were sarcastic, yet humorous poems often found on tombstones. These poems would make fun of the living. Posada was a political cartoonist, and he created a character inspired by literary Calavera, noting that we are all skeletons. Catrina was born from a drawing inspired by Posada’s, as seen in Diego Rivera’s 1947 mural ‘Dream of Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park’. Dressed in her famous feather hat and given the name that means “the rich”, Catrina is a reminder that we must not live with pretence. ✓ The Lighter Side of Death One might think that Day of the Dead is a sad day of mourning but, you will find it is a celebration of life. It is notable how Mexicans deal with death and how they view the afterlife. To them, it is not morbid at all, and although they mourn their loved ones, they prefer to incorporate humour into the proceedings. They usually depict the iconic skeletons that feature during the festival in some humorous scenes, like drinking and dancing. Mexicans also believe that children travel faster through the spirit realm. Therefore, their welcoming celebration happens first, as their spirits arrive before the adults. It is believed that the dead come to visit their loved ones on this day. The marigold petals scattered from the altar to the gravesite is to ensure the spirit does not get lost on its way back. ✓ Bizarre Rituals for the Dead In another part of the world, there exists a tradition where families keep the corpse of the deceased in their homes. In Indonesia, Torajan people believe their funeral is the most important day of their life. So much so that they would take on crippling debt to host an elaborate funeral in honour of the dead family member. While the remaining family saves toward a death celebration, the corpse remains with them. They visit the dead person daily and serve them three meals. Social gatherings happen with the dead relative and include children looking on to the embalmed corpse. This can continue for years until the funds are ready for the funeral. These celebrations of death include the slaughter of hundreds of livestock and tau-tau, an expensive wood-carved statue. The remaining family members fork out tens of thousands of dollars to ensure that the celebrations do not put their family to shame. A year after the burial takes place, they exhume the body to dress it with new clothes and allow it to catch a bit of sun. ✓ Fiction, not Fact Many people have the impression that Día de los Muertos is the Mexican version of Halloween. As you can see from the above details, this is not true. Halloween is about death and the Day of the Dead, ironically, is about life and celebrating it. Another myth is that Mexicans take part in huge parades during this festival. The idea came from Spectre, the 2015 James Bond film, and is a dreamed-up scene. It was only in 2016 when the first veritable parade took place in Mexico City. Skull-Candy Slots Enjoy different spin on celebrating life with three popular Día de Los Muertos themed slots. ✓ Day of Dead by Pragmatic Play It seems the dead walking from altar to grave inspired Pragmatic Play. Day of Dead is a high variance video slot with 5 reels and 4 lines that can award up to 4,500x your stake. Fittingly set in a graveyard, they complete this online slot with La Catrina, Calaveras, and slot sounds with Mexican background music. Reels: 5 x 4 Paylines: 20 Volatility: High RTP: 96.49% Max Win: Bet x 4,500 The tombstone Wild turns into a walking Wild and triggers a respin as he leaves the slot grid to the left. The round finishes when he finds his way off the grid. 3 Scatters will trigger the Free Respin Feature and here you have indefinite respins that kick off with two walking Wilds. Once no more Wilds are on the reel, the Bonus Feature ends. This is a good choice for classic slot lovers who don't like surprises. ✓ The Mariachi 5 by Real Time Gaming This colourful rendition of traditional Mexican sights pays tribute to Day of the Dead and has a band of Calaveras wearing sombreros. The Mariachi 5 is a 3D slot by Real Time Gaming with 243 pay ways. Set in a Mexican town with traditional buildings and a cobblestone road. Reels: 5 x 3 Paylines: 243 Volatility: Mid-High RTP: 96.97% Max Win: Bet x 6,000 Royals carved out of bone represent low paying symbols and a donkey pinata Scatter is the premium symbol which awards you 200x your stake for 5 of a kind. The Free Spins feature has Wild Multipliers and during the base game, you have a stacked Wild on reels 2 and 4. Choose one of the 5 Free Spin options when you land 3 pinatas and dance your way to 6,000x your stake. ✓ Grim Muerto by Play’nGo Contrary to the title, this online slot from Play’nGo is anything but grim. The colourful design and friendly mariachi band members pay tribute to Mexico’s Día de Los Muertos. This video slot has beautifully rendered images and is absolutely in line with the Mexican tradition of celebrating life during the Day of the Dead. Reels: 5 x 3 Paylines: 20 Volatility: High RTP: 96% Max Win: Bet x 1,000 Strum your way to a fortune on the Mexican Guitar (vihuela) Wild, which brings you 10 free spins if you land 3. Mexican music will get you in the mood for this fiesta and stacked wilds during the Free Spins game can bring mucho wins. Highlighted reels, extra wilds and second chances make Grim Muerto slot as entertaining as they come.
  14. As lifelong fans of gambling and in particular online gambling it is fantastic to see how many countries are adopting a positive stance towards the hobby. Even if a region does not currently allow local licensing and advertising opportunities, they tend to adopt a ‘no harm, no foul’ approach which allows players to gamble at offshore casinos without any legislative requirements. In a 2021 review of the legal online gambling landscape Slotegrator reported that gambling regulation falls into one of four distinct categories: Those where gambling websites must be licensed by the local regulator (32 countries) Those where only local gaming sites need a license, not foreign sites (32 Countries) Those where online gambling is prohibited, but no legal action is taken against play at foreign sites (28 countries) Those where there are no gambling restrictions at all (93 countries) When looking at the European Union in the context of these categories is becomes clear that the majority of the member states have adopted or are investigating a multi-license regime. ✓EU Free Trade Supports Gambling Regulation For those who are unfamiliar with how the European Union works simply put it is an agreement between 27 member countries that make up most of continental Europe that aim to promote economic and political unity. As a response to the devastating impact of World War 2 on Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created in 1958 to foster financial dependencies. The logic being that when countries are reliant on one another for trade the likelihood of aggression declines. According to a report by the EU Commission in 2021 “82% of products traded in the Single Market are subject to harmonised rules and some 18% of intra-EU trade in goods fall under mutual recognition”. Given that the EU free trade agreement is such a pivotal part of the makeup and longevity of the Union, online gambling became a hotly debated topic as the UK, who was still a member of the EU at the time, promoted full regulation and licensing and expected to be able to trade with its partners. Jurisdictional legislators such as Malta became highly respected markets who expected EU member states to recognise the validity of an MGA licensed casino to trade within the Union. Members that stood against regulated online gambling were seen to be contradicting the compact, and this early friction ultimately led to a burgeoning European online gambling industry. ✓EGBA Striving for Standardised Regulation As with any other multi-party endeavour one of the challenges members of the EU have had to face is how their differing definitions, requirements and even fee structures have become stumbling blocks for their peers. To assist in creating a unified logic to regulation and a set of standards the Brussels-based European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) was founded. “EGBA works together with national and EU regulatory authorities and other stakeholders towards a well-regulated and well-channelled online gambling market which provides a high level of consumer protection and takes into account the realities of the internet and online consumer demand.” To achieve a sustainable online gambling regime the EGBA strives to: Achieve a well-regulated and competitive market Define an ambitious set of European industry standards Build an integrity-based betting market Address betting-related match-fixing and corruption In addition to creating forums for discourse and staying on top of the day-to-day minutiae associated with tracking the gambling rulings and legislative decision making of 27 member countries the EGBA is also a founding partner of the EU Athletes program, a member of the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and registered with the EU Transparency register since 2009. A July 2021 decision by the EU Commission to not reinstate the Expert Group on Online Gambling to assist regulators in coordinating their legal efforts could see the EGBA having an even more authoritative voice as it fills the role that the Commission renounced. ✓The French Gambling Legislation Interestingly enough when looking at online gambling regulation it is important not to interchange online gambling and online casino, especially if you are looking to play online slots in France. While many gambling sites will say that online casino is legal in France, they are in fact incorrect, however, it is correct to say that online gambling is legal in the country. This is because in 2010 France had a massive overhaul of its gambling law which both created the current body known as the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) and legalised all forms of land-based gambling including casino games, card games, and sports betting. However, in an unexpected turn of events when addressing online gambling the regulation only made allowance for the licensing of online poker and online sports betting, while online games of chance remained a restricted category. ✓An Avid Gambling Community Despite the exclusion of online slots and other casino games, online gambling has flourished in France with La Française des Jeux (FDJ) being responsible for betting and lottery games, while Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is specifically responsible for horse racing. The Q2 2021 report by BusinessWire on the financial results of the FDJ reported that the “digitalised and online stakes” showed an impressive 70% growth over its Q1 results reaching €1.1 billion in revenue from stakes of €9.2 billion. Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of FDJ, said: “Our stakes are increasing, both online and in our point-of-sale network. Over the half-year, we accordingly recorded an increase of nearly 9% in revenue compared with the same period in 2019. Barring new restrictions in response to developments in the health situation, the Group expects to maintain good momentum in the second half and is confident in its business and results prospects in accordance with its responsible gaming model.” These reports show that the FDJ’s online performance is tracking perfectly for the body to achieve its target of €2.2 billion for the year. Market analysts expect this to come from just over €19 billion in stakes. However, the growth in both player stakes and overall revenue for France’s online gambling market has raised the question of whether their reasoning for excluding online gambling was genuine. When the regulations were announced in 2010 ARJEL argued that games of chance held too high a risk of gambling addiction. That games like slot machines encouraged high engagement and participation, something they then claimed to be looking to actively discourage. However, with the €9.2 billion in stakes over six months it proves French gamblers are an engaged and active community. Despite numerous calls in recent years for other EU member states to open their borders to regulated online gambling, to protect locals and actively participate in the free trade compact France has silently refused to budge on the issue, deflecting the conversation around casino games to a discussion of regulated online gambling instead. In a decision that further confuses the matter, France declared that its citizens may gamble at international offshore casinos. Yet this puts them at risk of playing with casinos who do not adhere to EU safer gambling standards, reduces channelisation by not offering a casino game option for slots players, and driving revenues offshore which could be funnelled into programs that would uplift the French community such education programs and compulsive disorder treatment centres. ✓The Bitcoin Casino Stumbling Block France is one of the most progressive nations in the world and as such has been at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption. The French are proud HODLERs with nearly 4% of the population owning Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital tokens. Unsurprisingly the lion’s share of this ownership sits with wealthy, tech-savvy men and women in their late mid-twenties to mid-thirties. It should come as no surprise then that in the absence of regulation making online casino gambling illegal a large portion of the French casino market is turning to Bitcoin casinos. Not only do they get to engage in leading online slots and tables games, but they stand the chance to withdraw even more of the valuable cryptocurrency in the process. However, July 13th saw a Parisian court rule that French ISPs had to block local users from accessing two cryptocurrency gambling sites. The ruling came of the back of a decision to hand over cryptocurrency regulations to Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), a securities watchdog with a specific brief to manage digital currency exchanges in the region. In this case while the casino games themselves were not the issue the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in an unregulated marketplace saw the AMF flex its muscle and once again limit French players access to online casino entertainment. Once again, sane minds argue that if France would extend its current online gambling legislation to include online casino games, they could offer local players access to a secure crypto-exchange and secure a valuable revenue resource in the process.
  15. As online slot fans there is nothing more exciting than seeing our fellow players take home amazing jackpot wins on our favourite casino games. At GamblersPick we thought that now would be the time to celebrate with the lucky spins, immaculate timing, and mega wins of 2021. The 7 Biggest Jackpot Wins of 2021 Let’s kick off this exciting list of big wins and progressive jackpots with the largest payout for the year and work our way down the list from there: ✓Absolootly Mad Mega Moolah - €19.4 million April 27, 2021, will be a day to remember for one lucky player at Napoleon casino thanks to a life-changing Mega Moolah progressive jackpot win. The Belgian slot fan went from enjoying a few spins of his favourite slot machine to claiming the biggest online jackpot in history with a massive €19,430,724 win on Microgaming’s Absolootly Mad slot. CEO at Microgaming, Jon Coleman, said: “We’re absolootly delighted to see Mega Moolah make history once again with its latest record-breaking win, and what an incredible win it is – €19.4 million! That’s the largest jackpot payout in an online slot of all time. Congrats to the player, and well done to Napoleon Sports & Casino on their second Mega jackpot win on our network in as many weeks.” With more than €1.3 billion in payouts across their progressive network Microgaming are consistently one of the hottest jackpot slot providers. ✓Book of Atem: WowPot - €17.5 million The only this better than holding first place in the jackpot race must be holding first and second position. This is exactly what Microgaming has managed to accomplish with a stunning €17,529,047.11 progressive payout on their Book of Atem WowPot slot. Neil Banbury, UK General Manager for the Kindred Group, said: “We’re overjoyed for our player, first and foremost. Congrats on this incredible win! Well done to Microgaming, too, for delivering the industry’s leading range of progressive jackpot games. WowPot comes with a cracking set of games and is now on par with Mega Moolah as one of the big hitters.” What makes this win by a 32Red Casino player even more special is the fact that it was also the first Mega jackpot won on Book of Atem since its inception in September 2020. ✓Deal or No Deal Jackpot King slot - €8.1 million A new and exciting addition to this list of incredible jackpot wins is the recent €8,133,445.23 win on Blueprint Gaming’s underappreciated Deal or No Deal Jackpot King progressive slot. Jo Purvis, Director of UK Marketing at Blueprint Gaming, said: “Many congratulations to the lucky individual who’s received the biggest ever prize from Jackpot King. This is a truly life-changing sum of money and we couldn’t be happier for the player! This latest big win epitomises the beauty of Jackpot King and why it continues to be an integral part of an operator’s online casino offering.” The amazing thing is that this win did not cost very much at all. The lucky PokerStars Casino player was playing only €0.80 per game, and after reaching the Wheel King level was awarded an €8.1 million payday. ✓Crazy Time Live - €2.8 million An unusual entry into this list of incredible jackpot wins is Evolution Gaming’s Crazy Time live game. Building on the Dream Catcher money wheel concept Crazy Time allows players to choose their own adventure and as such win based on their decisions, not group choices. The internet went wild when Evolution Tweeted out: “Check out this massive win on the Crazy Time bonus game, where a 5000x multiplier gave a total winning pay-out of €2.8 million to players!” A group of lucky players spinning the Crazy Time wheel in the early hours of the morning landed the games maximum 5000x multiplier, awarded a cumulative jackpot payout of €2,802,834! ✓Aztec Millions slot - €3.7 million 2021 has been a good year for one lucky Golden Euro player when she turned a €27 deposit into a mind-blowing €3,746,291 win. Rather than one of the usual progressive slots we expect to see wins of this magnitude from she got lucky spinning the reels of Realtime Gaming’s popular Aztec Millions slot. ✓Sherlock & Moriarty WowPot - €2 million With two entries into the years ‘biggest jackpot wins’ list, It seems that Napoleon casino is using 2021 to transform their players into millionaires! The lucky player who has chosen to remain anonymous was cracking cases on Microgaming’s March 2021 slot title, Sherlock & Moriarty WowPot slot, when they uncovered the location a massive €2,025,388.75 windfall. ✓Sisters of Oz WowPot - €1.1 million The Sisters of Oz are doing it for themselves with the help of Microgaming’s WowPot progressive jackpot. After a near-miss in January of this year, one lucky player managed to crack the million Euro win mark on March 12th with a win of €1,123,513.15! This win is the third WowPot progressive jackpot payout in excess of €1 million in 2021. If the trend continues in the months that lie ahead WowPot could become a serious contender for the top progressive network of the year.
  16. While the adage "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" would have you believe that there is no real difference between gambling online or at your local casino, that simply is not true. While land-based casinos do offer certain benefits like the potential to get free drinks, be comped a meal, and the experience of a night out “on the town”, playing at an online casino offers far more benefits for both experienced and beginner gamblers to enjoy. Why Gambling Online is the Best Here are 10 reasons why we believe online casinos trump their land-based peers every day of the week: 1. Perfect Environment for New Players Most online casinos offer free to play versions of the real money games they have on offer. This is the perfect way for new players to get to grips with the mechanics, features and bet sizes of any game they intend to play for real money later. Not only can you play these games for free, but each game comes with handy in-game hints and a detailed help file that explains everything from what each button does to how wins are determined and the games specific return to player percentage. 2. Online Casinos Offer Better Payouts The simple fact of the matter is that the House always has an advantage, whether playing online or at a land-based gambling venue – the trick is optimising that advantage as best possible. This is where online casinos beat out their brick and mortar counterpart’s hands down. Land-based casinos must cover the costs of running sprawling complexes which include restaurants, bars, clubs and all the staff to man these various activities. Online casinos only have support staff and tech-related costs which cost a fraction of what it takes to run an offline casino. This is why online casinos offer payouts of around 96%, this means the average house edge is as low as 4%. 3. Incredibly Range of Online Slots Slot machines are by far the most popular game type whether you choose to play online or offline, this is due to their wide range of themes, interactive features, payline options and jackpot win potential. Plus, individual developers each offer something unique to give their slots even more appeal. Big Time Gaming created their Megaways system offering up to 117,649 ways to win, Microgaming offers incredible progressive jackpot wins on their Mega Moolah slots and so much more. 4. Gamble When It Suits You Unlike online casinos which are open all year round, not all local casinos offer 24/7 access to their games. By playing online you can hop onto your favourite slot machine or play a few hands of blackjack whenever it is best for you. Oftentimes it is also simply not possible to coordinate getting to a casino venue at conventional times given the demands placed on our time by work, travel, family and more. In this instance being able to relax over a cup of coffee and a few spins of the reels when you have downtime available to you is an important feature. When you add this to the fact that you can play on your mobile device online gambling offers the most comprehensive, customer-first, gambling experience you could hope for. 5. Live and Play on Your Mobile The mobile device is far more than just a phone these days, we all run our lives from these tiny handheld computers. Online casinos understand this and offer an engaging gambling experience right there in the palm of your hand. Best of all thanks to high-quality apps and HTML5 these casinos offer the same entertainment on your device as they do when you play on your laptop or desktop computer. Allowing you to gamble whenever and wherever you want to. 6. There is Always a Seat for You A very real downside to gambling at a land-based venue, especially in smaller towns, is limited seating or access to popular games. At an online casino, whether you are playing at peak traffic times or in the middle of the night, your favourite casino table or online slot will be waiting for you to dive right in. This is equally true of buying additional casino chips while playing your favourite game. Online casinos allow you to easily top your chip stack from within the game you are playing rather than expecting you to get out of the action to go get more chips as you would at your local casino. 7. Fantastic Casino Bonus Selection Receiving bonuses at a land-based casino is highly unlikely for a new player. All new players at reputable online casinos will receive some form of welcome bonus. This bonus acts both as a gift basket to make you feel at home and as a safety net with which you can test out casino games without risking your own money. These casino bonuses will include deposit match bonuses, free spins, no deposit bonuses, wager free bonuses or a combination of these. Once you are a regular at the casino you will be able to avail yourself of reload bonuses, cashback and Loyalty bonuses. 8. Choose When to Play with Others A big part of ensuring your mental health though, especially during lockdowns is having the choice to play with others when you need contact and give yourself space when that is more important. One of the fastest-growing niches within the online gaming industry is the live casino sector. This allows players to step away from purely RNG casino games to enjoy the experience of interacting with a live dealer and the players around the table. As the market appetite for live games has grown so developers like Evolution Gaming have stepped up to grow their selection beyond traditional games like blackjack, roulette, and craps, to include custom games like Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal Live and Mega Ball. 9. Protect Your Privacy with Bitcoin For players who are looking to further enhance the privacy and security offered by online gambling, there is the option to gamble at a Bitcoin casino. These sites are built on the blockchain, offer provably fair gambling, and ensure that your transactions are hidden from prying eyes thanks to Bitcoin’s incredible encryption. This is over and above any other measures, one can take online to protect their search histories and online banking by using virtual private networks (VPN) to connect to the internet. 10. Safety First When making the decision whether to play online or go to a local casino one must consider the potential health risks. Given the current situation we all find ourselves in, it is prudent to avoid crowds of people and rather play from home. With the ease of access to multiple casinos and swathes of cutting edge casino games, not to mention the bonuses and 24/7 personal support, there is very little reason to play at a land-based casino when with the click of a button you can enjoy world-class entertainment from the comfort of your home.
  17. Year after year, April 1st rolls around, and the public waits with bated breath for the latest prank or ploy to hit the newspapers and social media. While it is becoming more and more difficult to pull the wool over the eyes of the masses, now and then a company or individual will get it right and leave their unsuspecting victims red-faced at the fact that they have been duped. Join us as we delve into the origins, history, and evolution of this famous globally celebrated day and take the time to enjoy some short stories of the best pranks ever carried out. April Fool’s Day and its Origins April Fool’s Day falls on the 1st of April every year. It is a traditional celebration of mischief and tomfoolery. Traditionally, individuals, companies, and corporates concoct ridiculous stories and events to trick other members of the public for the sake of a laugh. With the help of circulated media, the internet, radio, and television, pranks can be broadcast to thousands of people, simultaneously. Part of the fun of the day is trying to decipher the real news from fake reports. Did you know? The earliest recorded celebrations of April Fool’s Day go back to the 18th Century (the 1700s) where it was celebrated as a two-day event. The first day would involve sending people on phoney errands, while the second day involved playing pranks on one another, such as pinning fake tales or ‘kick me’ signs on people’s backs. Although the true origin of this celebration and its trickster practices remains a mystery to this day, some have taken educated guesses as to where this tradition all started. Here are three good guesses: ✓ A Change in the Calendars There is some speculation that April Fool’s Day dates back to the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar by the French in 1582. The Julian Calendar instituted New Year’s Day around the Spring Equinox, which is roughly the 1st of April each year. Once the transition was made to the Gregorian Calendar, New Year fell to the 1st of January, but some people either failed to receive the news in time or outright refused to break from their long-formed traditions. Either way, many continued to celebrate New Year’s during the last week of March to the dismay of others, who brandished them as ‘’April Fools’’. Quick Fact: In the late 1500s, those who observed New Year’s Day on the 1st of April after the transition to the Gregorian calendar, became the victims of pranks and mockery. One of the most popular pranks included tagging a paper fish on their back of an unsuspecting person. This fish (called the ‘’April fish’’) alluded to someone gullible and easily caught. This is honestly one of the most likely origins of the tradition, as the practices observed above fit the mould of the April Fool’s Day that we all know well today. ✓ Roman Ancestry Educated historians have linked the possible genesis of April Fool’s Day to Ancient Roman culture, and specifically, the festival of Hilaria, practised by the Cybele cultists. This festival involved citizens disguising themselves in costumes and then mocking and pranking their kinsmen and other popular officials. The roots of the festival seem to traditionally emanate from Egypt, where it received inspiration from mythological gods like Isis, Osiris, and Seth. ✓ Seasonal Swindle The last credible speculation of the Origin of April Fool’s Day ties in with the vernal equinox. Many believe that the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is a swindle of mother nature on the world. Some believe that she unleashes unpredictable weather to fool the people from one day to the next. The Craziest Pranks in History Over the centuries, pranks have gotten bigger and better. We can thank advancements in communication technology for this. Some of you might be astounded at the extent that people have gone to for a laugh. To capture the heart of the celebration, we have listed 5 of the best pranks ever recorded. ✓ Bathing Lions The earliest recorded April Fool’s Day hoax on the history books hails from London in 1698, according to the website, ‘’Museum of Hoaxes’’. Citizens of London were urged to attend the lion washing ceremony at the Tower of London to observe the annual bathing of Africa’s largest cats. Masses of people showed up only to realise that it was all a hoax. The prank was a big hit and was pulled each year from then on, targeting visitors to London with great success each time. Eventually, the pranksters began printing tickets to the show, duping thousands of unknowing victims in the process. ✓ Branson’s UFO Airways In 1989, Richard Branson (the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group) planned the ultimate April Fool’s Day prank for Hyde Park in London, however, the prank came a day earlier in the town of Surrey. On the evening of March 31st, English residents in Surrey noticed a flying saucer hovering in the air and then landing in a nearby field. The police went to the field to investigate the phenomenon, only to meet a silver space suit-clad figure exiting the ‘flying saucer’. They were so spooked that reports say they ran away. Richard Branson had been hiding in the flying saucer as well. It turns out that he and Don Cameron decked out a hot air balloon to look like an ‘other-worldly’ UFO to spoof Londoners in Hyde Park on April 1st. A change in wind conditions forced them to land the ‘sputnik’ a little earlier than expected. While the desired outcome was different from what was planned, the result was still hilarious. ✓ The Liberty Bell Buy Taco Bell, a famous food joint in the USA, ran a spoof newspaper ad in 1996, announcing their purchase of the Liberty Bell. While the initial take on the news may have seemed scandalous and received a negative response from the masses, it was undeniable that the old adage of “any exposure is good exposure’’ worked for the company and resulted in an upturn of business once the public realised it was a prank. Did you know? Inspiration for the mobile game sensation, ‘’Pokémon Go’’ came from a fake April Fool’s Day prank instituted by Google in 2014. The massive multimedia company advertised that it would be releasing a game that would allow players to catch Pokémon characters in the real world using Google maps. While the news turned out to be fake, Niantic Labs took the joke and ran with it. This prank became a pioneering feat that has altered the views of many companies when it comes to marketing. Since then, multiple businesses have used spoofs and jokes to draw attention to their brands. ✓ Spaghetti Trees Please One of the most famous April Fool’s pranks took place in England on April 1st, 1957, when the BBC aired a fake news segment on “an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop” harvested in Ticino, Switzerland. The news feed even filmed people picking the pasta from trees and bushes. While some viewers were upset that a stand-up newscaster would stoop to dupe the public with such fiction, other viewers enquired about how they could start their own spaghetti plantation at home. ✓ No Naked Beasts Not even National Geographic has managed to avoid being a little mischievous over the years. A Twitter announcement in 2016 stated that the reputable publisher would no longer publish photos of naked animals. Instead, it posted a gallery of clothed creatures on social media to promote their newfound views on animal rights. Their tweet read: "The media group says that it will no longer degrade animals by showing photos of them without clothes." Upon clicking through the pics, readers were met with an ‘’April Fools’’ notice amidst the gallery of adorably dressed dogs, cats, and more. Celebrate April Fool’s Day with GamblersPick At GamblersPick we enjoy celebrating special days in a unique way. Get ready for the mischief and mayhem of April 1st by playing a slot game dedicated to the Norse god of mischief himself, Loki. The Legend of Loki slot by iSoftbet is a fabulous game where the trickster will help you outplay other gods like Thor and Odin for rewards of up to 10,000x your stake. The comic visuals and epic soundtrack of the game are inviting and will appeal to those who have followed the antics of this troublemaker from their childhood. Play on 20 paylines where the higher volatility and average return to player ratio come together for great rewards if you practice patience. Some of the game stats include: Reels: 5 Paylines: 20 Volatility: Medium-High RTP: 96.23% Max Win: 10,000x The most fun arrives when you manage to trigger the special features in the game. Play for free spins with sticky symbols, Wild Strike sticky wilds, symbol transformations, stacked re-spins, and a whole lot more. Round-Up Round off your April Fools by playing this engaging game at one of our GamblersPick Select casino sites to ensure the most exciting gameplay experience around, all within the safest gambling environment. One thing you can be sure of at our site is that we are not here to make a fool of you, but instead offer you the chance to partner up with the best selection of community-approved casinos around! That means you can relax and enjoy genuinely refined online gambling entertainment.
  18. In the online gambling world, few game types take as much intricate planning to produce as online slots. Increasing innovation and technological enhancements have made playing video slots super exciting. The special graphic effects, sounds, and features developed over the past few years have been entertaining and have inadvertently churned up a heated and competitive market space. Did you know? In the USA, the latest stats show that nearly half of all casino visitors play slots. The trends are not set to change either, as a new generation is entering the market. These players have grown up on video games and are likely to engage better with slots than other game types. Quick fact: Online gambling stats in the UK show that young adults between the ages of 25 and 44 years old dominate the gambling player market. This is sure to make an impact on gambling trends. It is believed that online slot games will rule the casino world for years to come. We can expect to see so much more from this sector. Each year, the quality of the games improves, and the diversity of features and mechanics grow. This has us excited about the prospects for 2021! Let’s take a look at what we can expect in the slot world this coming year. ✓ Bitcoin is Booming! Decentralised casinos are a big thing right now, especially with all the attention that Bitcoin is getting in the finance sector thanks to its hefty growth over the past year. This has resulted in a healthy introduction of casino start-ups in this segment. With a push for a more transparent gaming environment, game developers in this segment are introducing more and more titles with provably fair algorithms built into the RNG software. This way players can validate that each game is random and fair. Quick Fact: With provably fair games, the game developer provides specific tools for players to use that grant them access to the software’s open-source code. Gamblers can check to make sure that no alterations are made to the RNGs algorithms while a spin of the reels is underway, thereby proving that the result is unmanipulated and random. For this reason, we can expect that far more provably fair online slot games will enter the marketplace over the course of 2021. This is sure to set a strong trend for greater transparency in the casino market, as a whole. ✓ Mobile is Mapping the Future While mobile gaming is not new to the online gambling industry, we expect that far more players will be turning to “on the go” gaming options in 2021. More and more people are acquiring mobile phones year on year, which bodes well for gambling statistics. Did you know? Many top gaming providers are developing their games for mobile-first, in keeping with the obvious trends in this market. More and more people are using their mobile phones to manage every part of their lives. From watching Netflix to diarising their days and spending time on social media. It is only natural that these same people would use their handsets to play their favourite online slot games too. ✓ Keep an Eye on AR and VR Technology Virtual Reality entered the market a few years ago, providing players with a far more immersive way to play slots. Players could actually enter into the virtual world of the game by donning special headgear. They could control the mechanics with hand gestures which would be relayed back to the gaming software via sophisticated sensors. The main reason that VR did not catch on then was that the hardware was very expensive to purchase and not everyone could afford the tech needed for it. New tech is always over-inflated when it comes to cost, but we can hope to see these prices normalise soon. The implementation of VR for mobile is a far more cost-effective alternative as well, so expect to see VR’s possible return this year. Augmented Reality (AR) is another engaging gaming alternative to watch out for. The technology uses overlays in the mobile app software to superimpose an augmented reality over your present environment, which is visible on your phone’s screen. Did you know: One of the most popular Augmented Reality games still played today is Pokémon Go. While it is not a gambling title, it provides us with the perfect example of how slots may play out in the near future. We said earlier that this was the year for mobile technology innovation, and this may be two ways in which “on the go” gameplay might steal the show in 2021. ✓ Enhancements in 3D Imagery The noticeable demand for titles in video gaming culture has been for games that look more realistic. The better the graphics and effects, the more popular games tend to be. This is becoming the norm among modern video slot players too. This is also one of the reasons that games like Gonzo’s Quest are timeless classics. Here, 3D imagery was used to provide a cinematic-like experience for its players. With enhancements in CGI, game developers have all the tools at their disposal to create ground-breaking strides in the graphics department. Quick Fact: CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery. It is a popular form of technology used to enhance the special effects visible in movies and TV programs. It is based on the 3D imagery that we are seeing more and more in video games and slots today. Keep your eye on the line up of games each month to earmark the stacks of ‘pretty’ games we are expecting will arrive this coming year. ✓ AI to Handle Slot Security The standards of security are set for enhancement this year, as game developers and online casinos opt for AI-backed protection for their players. Quick Fact: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer science that uses machine learning protocols to undertake smart actions that would normally require human intelligence. In many sectors, AI is used to greater effect than a human workforce, because of the speed of transactions possible through the software mechanics. Artificial Intelligence protocols will be able to pick up on suspicious activities and hacking risks within seconds and move to resolve/neutralise the issues that players are facing in real-time. The Promise of More While the forecasting for the future of the slot industry is no exact science, all the trends suggest that the above technologies and innovations will be metered out over the next few years. One thing is certain though – This year promises advancements in the iGaming realms and is bound to build upon the innovations of last year to give us something more than we had in the past.
  19. Canada’s online gambling space is growing at a rapid pace. The industry currently generates sales in excess of $30 billion and is primed to continue growing. As more people join the fray, the questions are growing. What can you expect? Where can you find trusted online casinos? What do the rules look like? In light of this, we have compiled a list of the 50 most frequently asked questions relating to online gambling in Canada. We’ve addressed your burning questions so that you can stay informed! Plus, we’ve added handy categories to help you navigate these FAQs easily. Top Canada-friendly Online Casinos 1. Best online gambling sites for Canada? There are plenty of wonderful gambling sites available to the Canadian market. The top online sites are generally rated due to a variety of factors, including the number of games, payout size, speed of payment, trustworthiness, security and overall customer experience. To check out our top-rated Canadian online gambling sites, visit our Canada Online Casinos page. 2. Are instant play casinos available in Canada? Instant play casinos allow for immediate play in a web browser and do not require an application to be downloaded. Thanks to HTML5 coding, instant play casinos are available in Canada, with many online sites offering the no-download version. 3. Which online casinos offer the best payouts in Canada? Payouts are an important part of any online casino offering. The top payout rates for online casinos in Canada generally exceed 96%. For a comprehensive list of online casinos with high payout rates, have a look at our Canada online casino page. 4. Which Canadian online casinos can be trusted? There are several ways to verify the trustworthiness of an online casino. The first step is to check the licences of the online casino. If the licence has been issued by one of the industry’s top regulatory authorities, this is usually a good sign. Secondly, check if the games on the site undergo regular testing to ensure fairness. Testing bodies such as eCOGRA usually issue their stamp of approval to online casinos who have been audited by them, so be on the lookout for these badges on the casino site. GamblersPick has compiled a list of trusted Canadian online casinos and assigned them the Select badge. GamblersPick only awards this badge to casinos who are properly licensed and can show proof of fairness. In addition, casinos bearing the Select badge are licensed and regularly audited by an independent third party. 5. Which Canadian online casinos are good for beginners? When looking for a good casino, beginners need to consider two things: trustworthiness and ease of gameplay. Beginners should stick to online casinos in Canada that carry licenses from any of the top regulatory bodies, as this is generally a good indication of an online casino’s trustworthiness. As for gameplay, beginners should consider starting with online casinos that offer a wide variety of table games, especially blackjack, as this is seen as one of the easiest to comprehend. Most Canadian online casinos we feature offer blackjack, roulette and other table games which are easier for beginners to grasp. 6. Do I have to download software to play at Canada online casinos? Not always. While some online casinos do require the downloading of software to proceed, many online casinos are ‘instant play’. This means that no downloads are needed. 7. Are online casinos in Canada always open? Most online gambling sites in Canada are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What may not be readily available are the customer support lines. 8. Where can I find online casino reviews for Canada? While online casino reviews are readily available on the internet, if you’re looking for honest reviews, look no further than GamblersPick. 9. What is the best online casino in Canada? While the title of ‘best online casino’ is quite subjective, the current favourite online casino among Canadians seems to be Jackpot City. Check out the GamblersPick review of Jackpot City. Welcome Bonuses and Promotions in Canada 10. Can I claim a welcome bonus when signing up at a Canadian online casino? Most Canadian online casinos offer a welcome bonus to new players who sign up. However, deposit rules may vary from casino to casino, so it is advisable to read up on the Ts and Cs before signing up. 11. What are my chances of winning at a Canadian online casino? There’s no definitive answer here. While there may be statistical odds or theoretical Return-To-Player (RTP) figures available, the reality is that any chance of winning boils down to pure luck. Canadians looking to indulge in the online casino experience should never pin their hopes on the stated odds. 12. Are there wagering requirements on winnings in Canada? It depends on the casino. While many establishments still use wagering requirements, several top online casinos have taken to offering players wager-free deposits and free spins. 13. Can I gamble for free online in Canada? Plenty of online casinos in Canada allow users to play free or demo versions of games without having to first register. While no winnings can accrue from these free games, players will be able to get acquainted with the rules and gameplay before making any deposits. 14. How do I choose a real money Canadian online casino? There are several ways to go about choosing a real money online casino. You could spend hours, if not days, doing the research yourself. Alternatively, you can check out GamblersPick’s recommended Select list of real money Canadian online casinos. 15. Are there online gambling promotions in Canada? Yes, there are. Most online casinos in Canada offer a selection of bonuses and promotions to attract players. These bonuses can be quite varied, ranging from free spins to deposit bonuses to seasonal tournaments. Each online casino provides its own unique offering. For a great selection of online casinos with top promotions, be sure to visit GamblersPick’s Canada Online Casino page. 16. Can you win money on online casinos in Canada? Winning is by no means guaranteed. However, if lady luck smiles down on you, there is every chance that you may pocket large sums of money from your online casino winnings. It should be stressed that online casinos should be primarily used for fun. Know when to stop, before the fun ends. Playing By The Rules 17. Are online gambling winnings taxable in Canada? The good news for Canadians is that winnings from online gambling are not taxed. However, any interest earned on gambling winnings must be declared. 18. Is online gambling in Canada legal? In short, yes. It is legal for Canadians to play at any offshore online casino. However, it is illegal for a company to operate an online casino in Canada without a license. 19. Legal age for gambling online in Canada? The general minimum age for gambling in Canada is 19, except in Alberta, Calgary, Manitoba, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec, where the legal gambling age is 18 years. 20. What are the online gambling rules in Canada? Canada does not have many rules when it comes to online gambling. The Canadian government made the decision a while back to leave the rules surrounding gambling (including online gambling) to each province. At present, the rules simply state that it is illegal to operate an online casino without a licence from the relevant authority. Canadian players, however, can play at an offshore online casino, provided that the casino is properly registered and regulated. 21. Is online gambling banned in Canada? Online gambling is not banned in Canada. However, it is illegal to operate an online casino from within Canada without the proper licence. 22. How can I find legit online gambling sites in Canada? One of the best ways to find legit online gambling sites is to check their licence. While there is never a guarantee of legitimacy, all good casinos should, at the very least, hold a gaming licence from a reputable regulatory body. Casinos holding licences from the Malta Gaming Authority, UK Gambling Commission, the Curacao Gaming Control Board, Kahnawake Gaming Commission or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority are generally seen as safer bets, due to the stringent licence requirements of these authorities. If you’re interested in checking out safe and trustworthy Canadian online casino sites, be sure to visit the Gamblerspick Canada online casinos site and view a variety of Canadian sites bearing the signature Gamblerspick Select badge. These sites have been verified for quality based on trustworthiness, safety and customer experience. 23. Can I play at international online casinos in Canada? Yes, Canadian citizens can play at international online casinos as no laws are prohibiting this. 24. Can US citizens gamble online in Canada? The answer is yes. US citizens are free to gamble online in Canada, as there is no specific federal law prohibiting this. However, in terms of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, it is illegal for banks to handle any deposits or withdrawals related to a US player’s casino account. Online Gambling Banking Options 25. Can I gamble for real money in Canada? Yes, you can. Players can deposit via debit card, credit card, EFT or several other methods. This money can be used to gamble for real money winnings. 26. Can I use PayPal when online gambling in Canada? Currently, online casinos in Canada do not accept PayPal as a form of transaction. The reason for this is that PayPal only operates in countries with clearly regulated and defined laws. As Canada does not currently have clearly defined online gambling laws, PayPal will not run the risk of processing any illegal gambling payments. 27. Are there banking fees when playing at Canadian casinos? This depends on which banking methods are used. Some instant banking methods will attract a fee, while most e-wallet transactions will also see a fee charged. Most prepaid cards and credit cards do not charge a fee. 28. Can I use my credit card when gambling online in Canada? Yes. Most online casinos available in Canada will allow players to deposit and withdraw money using credit cards. 29. Can I play at online casinos using Canadian dollars? Yes, as most online casinos available in Canada allow users to play using Canadian dollars. 30. Which Canadian banks allow online gambling? Currently, there are only 5 banks in Canada that allow online gambling, namely the Bank of Montreal, the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Royal Bank of Canada and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. 31. Will I need to verify my identity before making a withdrawal? Most online casino sites in Canada will require verification before withdrawals can be made. This is mainly to prevent fraud and money laundering. However, not all online sites have made identity verification a requirement. Safe and Responsible Gambling In Canada 32. Who regulates online gambling in Canada? There is no specific body that regulates the online gambling industry as a whole. Due to changes in the Canadian Criminal Code, the regulation of gambling activity, including online gambling, fell to the specific provinces. Within Canada, The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the regulatory body charged with issuing the licenses needed by online casinos to operate within certain Canadian territories. 33. Where can I get help for gambling problems in Canada? For people struggling with gambling addiction, several organisations in Canada offer assistance. Industry-specific organisations include Gamtalk and Gambling Therapy. 34. Will my information be safe at Canadian online casinos? While it is never possible to guarantee the safety of any information, there are plenty of casinos that conform to the strictest levels of security and encryption to protect customer information. If you’re looking for online casinos that offer strong safety protocols, check out Gamblerspick’s list of online Canadian casinos that have received the Select badge of approval. 35. What is the online gambling regulation in Canada? From a regulation perspective, players from Canada can gamble at online casinos located offshore. The only requirement is that they be legally registered to operate. 36. re there safe online gambling sites in Canada? Yes, there are. Online casinos that are regulated by a top gaming authority are the safest options, as these authorities impose strict conditions on casino operators wishing to obtain a licence. Gamblerspick has put together a comprehensive list of safe Canadian online casinos for you to visit! 37. Is it safe to download software from online casinos in Canada? It is generally quite safe to download software from any licensed and trusted online casino in Canada. Always check the casino’s regulatory licences before downloading software. Online casinos regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority and the Curacao Gaming Control Board are usually seen as quite secure. 38. Is online casino gambling popular in Canada? Online gambling is growing in popularity in Canada. Almost 20 million Canadians actively gamble online. This has resulted in billions of dollars in revenue being generated. 39. What is the safest online casino in Canada? While it’s not easy to tell you what the safest online casino in Canada is, we can tell you that the safest casinos will adhere to the highest security protocols and will go the extra mile to ensure the protection of your sensitive information. This is why Gamblers Pick has a compiled a list of Canadian online casinos that meet their criteria in terms of, among other things, safety protocols. These casinos have been given Select status, meaning that they have all been verified for quality. Sports Betting in Canada 40. Is sport betting safe in Canada? Sports betting is generally quite safe in Canada. While there is no foolproof system, Canadians can only place bets with betting houses that are properly registered and licensed. Players can feel reasonably safe in the knowledge that, barring any unforeseen issue, they are placing bets in a relatively safe environment. 41. Is online sports betting allowed in Canada? Much like online gambling, there is no formal law prohibiting online sports betting in Canada. Players are therefore generally free to place online sports bets as they see fit. Canadian law does prohibit players from being found in illegal betting houses or casinos. 42. Are there legal online sports betting sites in Canada? The only legal online sports betting sites in Canada are the ones carrying licences from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. That doesn’t mean that Canadians cannot enjoy betting on their favourite sports online, as there are plenty of offshore betting sites that cater to them. Popular Online Slots 43. Can I play with free spins at an online casino in Canada? Yes. Many casinos offer free spins. These spins are generally awarded when a particular deposit amount is made. It is also usually linked to a specific online slot. 44. Are there progressive jackpot games at Canadian casinos? Yes, there certainly are. Canadian online casinos, much like other casinos around the world, offer a variety of progressive jackpot games. As these jackpots accumulate. Canadian players stand the chance to win millions. 45. What are the best online gambling slots in Canada? There are some incredible online slots available in Canada. Depending on your definition of ‘best’, this may vary. If you’re interested in checking out Canada’s top slots, head over to Gamblerspick’s Canada online casinos page now! Canadian Mobile Gambling 46. Are there online gambling apps in Canada? Many online gambling sites in Canada also offer mobile apps. These online apps can be downloaded onto most Android, iOS and Windows devices. 47. Best online gambling apps in Canada? While there are plenty of great online gambling apps available, there are several standout options for Canadians. These include LeoVegas, Play OJO, Unibet and Betway. 48. Can I play on mobile when gambling online in Canada? Yes, you can. Most online casinos have formatted their sites for play on almost any mobile device. Users can experience the thrill of online casino gaming wherever they go! Finding the Best Casino Games 49. What is the best software for online casinos in Canada? Everyone has their favourites when it comes to the best software available. Some of the top software for online casinos are provided by the industry’s biggest names, such as Playtech, NetEnt, Microgaming and IGT. 50. Which software providers can be found at Canadian online casinos? Some of the industry’s top software providers can be found in Canadian online casinos. These include legendary companies like NetEnt, Microgaming, Quickspin and Playtech. This list of questions is by no means exhaustive. They simply represent the most common questions currently arising from the Canadian market. Frankly, the more questions, the better informed the player. For more information regarding the world of online gambling in Canada, be sure to check out the GamblersPick Canada page.
  20. For beer lovers around the world, this is a bittersweet time of year. While the 2020 Oktoberfest celebrations are dated from September 19th to October 4th the official Volksfest celebration in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Munich's Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter noted: "It's a quite sad day for me today, several hearts are beating in my chest. The fact that the Wiesn 2020 cannot take place is a bitter pill to swallow. We hope that next year we can make it up together!" As lovers of German beer and in order to keep the spirit of the festival alive, we have compiled a list of interesting facts and information about the Oktoberfest which will keep you entertained. If you are looking for fantastic online slots’ entertainment, we have included several top-notch Oktoberfest-themed games. What is the Oktoberfest? As outrageous as this may sound, we have a royal wedding to thank for the cultural behemoth that is the Oktoberfest. King Ludwig I married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12th, 1810, and the ensuing festivities were held in open fields named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's Meadow") in honour of the newly crowned queen. In honour of the auspicious occasion, it was decided to make the celebrations an annual event which the locals simply began to refer to as Wiesn. The original selection of sporting events held on the day was also expanded over the years to include horse racing, tree climbing, lawn bowling and other competitions where participants could win prizes of silver, porcelain, and even jewellery. This aspect of the festival is said to have to so impressed visiting Greek delegates that it became the inspiration of the Zappas Olympics, the global sporting event we know today as the Olympic Games. The festival was later used as a tool for sharing the values and wonder of Bavarian culture with a particular emphasis on its fashion, food, and of course excellent beer craft What Qualifies as German Festival Beer? One of the cornerstones of the Munich Oktoberfest is the adherence to the Reinheitsgebot which translates as ‘purity order’. Given that the festival was a platform by which to evangelise the quality of the traditional German beer the 1516 Bavarian Law outlined not only the requirements for which beers may be sold at the festival but also its price and the penalty for any transgressions. In short, the order stated that: Festival beer may only be made from barley, hops and water – this allowed them to stop the inclusion of problematic herbs like belladonna, henbane and stinging nettle while not impact the local cost of bread production which required wheat and rye. Any person caught selling non-regulation beers would have their entire stash confiscated as a matter of law The sale price per litre was established as either one or two Pfennig, region dependant, with tavern owners allowed to only increase the price by one third when reselling beer to “the common peasantry”. Adjustments have been made to the modern Reinheitsgebot to allow for the inclusion of grains and organic products to aid in fermentation. That being said only beer following the modernised order and brewed within Munich will be served during the official Munich Oktoberfest. There are only six breweries who have the approval to produce and label their beers as official ‘Oktoberfest Beer’, and these are: Augustiner-Bräu Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu Löwenbräu Paulaner Spatenbräu Staatliches Hofbräu-München Thankfully for beer aficionados, these companies do ship their beers internationally, allowing you to savour each festival’s selection beers without having to leave the comfort of your home. A Celebration in Honour of Unification One of the oddities of the Oktoberfest is that despite its name, it is now held from mid to late September to the early part of October. This is done to celebrate the historic reunification of East and West Germany which took place in 1990 after 45 years of segregation. While the festival would historically run until the first Sunday in October it now runs until German Unity Day which is 3 October, to remind Germany and the world of hope and that we are all stronger when we stand with rather than against one another. What is Oide Wiesn? For the uninitiated, there is often some confusion what d’Wiesn and Oide Wiesn are, especially given that they run over the same time period and both take place on the same fairgrounds. In simple terms, Oide Wiesn is a return to the roots of what d’Wiesn was always meant to be, a more relaxed, tradition-driven, beer garden styled festival. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the festival 2010 saw a once-off Historisches Oktoberfest (Historical Oktoberfest) erected as a showcase of “the good old days”. However, it was such a hit with festival-goers that they demanded it to be installed into the event each year. This area of the festival offers visitors beers not covered in company logos, traditional unamplified music, retro entertainment such as chain swings, petting zoos and even the simple sugary enjoyment of cotton candy. The Oide Wiesn also closes for the day at 8pm, allowing it's more family orientated supporters to make their way home before the more frenetic partying of the Wiesn gets into full swing. Oktoberfest Themed Video Slots With the travel bans which are currently in place you can celebrate the Oktoberfest at home by trying some of your locally available German beers and cuisine. If you prefer to stay socially distanced, we have selected three fantastic slot machines loaded with Oktoberfest themes and imagery which will keep you entertained. ✓Lucky Oktoberfest by Red Tiger Red Tiger brings you one of the best slots for Wiesn fans in Lucky Oktoberfest. The game opens with two beer steins clinking and foam flying as the band strikes up a merry tune. Lucky Oktoberfest slot offers high variance entertainment across 5-reels and 10 fixed ways to win with an RTP of 94.68%. The reason for this the fact that the pays out up to 5000x your bet and offers a maximum stake of €20 for a jackpot potential of €100,000! The reels are filled with classic German beer festival imagery including feathered hats, beer barrels, pretzels and two locals named Hans and Helga. Get spinning today to get in on the action. ✓Heidi at the Oktoberfest by Red Rake Gaming Red Rake Gaming invites you to enjoy the sights and sounds of their Heidi at the Oktoberfest online slot. The gorgeous blonde local will be your host and serve up winning spins as you enjoy the ambient sounds of the festival. This medium variance video slot is played across 5 reels and 50 fixed ways to win offering at RTP of 94.9%. Collecting Heidi symbols on the reels will put you in position to claim up to 200 free spins and the chance to claim the slot machines maximum payout of €100,000. Each new spin of the reels will see the screen fill with beer steins, accordions, beer kegs, pretzels and of course the lovely Heidi as you enjoy all that Red Rake Gaming has to offer. ✓Oktoberfest Spins by 888 Gaming Get into the festival spirit with 888 Gaming and Oktoberfest Spins video slot. The slot will have you cheering for jackpot wins as you enjoy the ambient sounds and rousing music of a traditional Munich Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest Spins is a medium to high variance online slot that unfolds across 5 reels and 25 fixed ways to win. The game offers players the added excitement of a randomly triggered progressive jackpot which requires no special symbols combinations to unlock, just pure chance. It also offers the chance of a free ‘Refill’ spin on any non-winning game you play. To complete your Oktoberfest experience the reels are filled with beer stein’s, bottled beers, pretzels, German sausages and a cheeky Daschund who triggers the bonus game that offers win multipliers of up to 33x!
  21. The online gambling world is a massive industry worldwide and probably one of the most competitive digital markets around. With tons of content released each year at online gambling sites, picking a game as a new player can soon become an overwhelming task. Of course, some of the more prominent industry leaders tend to set the trends, but with the advances in technology of late, even the smaller companies can punch way above their weight. Every now and then, one gaming studio pushes the envelope just that little bit further than their competitors to introduce a game that stands a class apart from the rest. These innovative marvels demand royal mention and their providers deserve praise. It is here that the industry’s gaming awards associations play their part in giving credit, where it is due. Industry Instigators The three foremost gaming awards organisations in the iGaming market are the EGR (eGaming Review) Awards, the IGA (International Gaming Awards), and the Global Gaming Awards (GGA). Should a game provider or casino operator walk away with an acknowledgement of excellence from any of these icons, you can assume that they have dared to venture into the realms of cutting-edge development, service, and innovation. Remembering the Remarkable In an attempt to remember the best entertainment the online casino industry has brought our way, we’ve gathered a list of the most remarkable award-winning games to feature on our desktops and mobile phones in the past 20 years. The following games have proven to be leaders in their time, many of which have received legendary status in the industry and are still widely played today. ✓ King Kong Cash by Atronic (IGA Slot Game of 2008) King Kong Cash deserves an honourable mention here. The game was a VLT phenomenon that boasted new and innovative concepts within the branded slot genre. It was trendy on European casino floors thanks to its 4-level progressive jackpot and a free spin round that were based off scenes from the iconic 2005 King Kong movie. While Altonic no longer exists, their legacy was carried on by GTECH, which is now an IGT subsidiary. ✓ Book of Ra by Novamatic (IGA Slot Game of 2009) This Egyptian-themed game is probably the most popular title of its genre. It has inspired so many copycat versions over the years, such as Book of Dead by Play’n GO. Even so, players keep flocking back to the original. It won its award based off the back of its fabulous Scatter/Wild symbol, which when triggering the free spin bonus, selects a random symbol to become a special expanding icon for that feature round. Each time a symbol lands on the reels and can complete a winning combo, it will expand to cover its reel, thereby providing more winning chances. Combine that bonus round with a Gamble Feature, and Scatter wins, and you have a recipe for success. ✓ Big Bad Wolf by Quickspin (EGR Game of the Year 2013) Quickspin rose to the occasion in 2013 with this title. It has since become their flagship game, having won the EGR award based on the fantastic visual design and animated involvement from the characters on screen. It truly is a stunning sight. Based on the story of the Three Little Pigs, this title offers a flurry of features, including Big Bad Wolf Free Spins, where the K-9 foe attempts to blow down your house. Most notable, however, is the cascading/tumbling reel feature after every win. While many slots use this mechanic today, it was a new concept back in 2013. ✓ Immersive Roulette by Evolution Gaming (EGR Game of the Year 2014) Live Dealer casino games only gained traction around 2009, with the growing momentum of Evolution Gaming. The introduction of Immersive Roulette celebrates one of their award-winning milestones, and it has redefined the immersive quality and innovation of Live Casino games forever. Unlike their other standard Roulette game versions at the time, this one uses multiple close-up camera angles to immerse the player into every action taking place in a single game round. This was an innovative feature unheard of in the gaming world at the time. Not only is each movement captured, but it is rendered in High Definition for the clearest shots around. ✓ Spinata Grande by NetEnt (EGR Game of the Year 2015) NetEnt needs no introduction to online casino gaming enthusiasts. This beautiful Mexican-themed game got the attention of millions of players around the globe in 2015 and continues to thrill gamblers today. The awesome soundtracks, effects, and animations are very engaging. It truly feels like you are standing on a dusty road in a Mexican village playing for money. The dogs barking, passers-by whistling, sounds of pick-up trucks driving by, and the guitar playing the distance are fully immersive Of course, true to NetEnt’s style, the visuals are not the only award-worthy detail. The features are harnessing too. These include Colossal Symbol wins, a Mini-Slot feature, and Free Spins. Just like a pinata, this game contains many surprises when opened. ✓ Jurassic Park by Microgaming (GGA Digital Product of the Year 2015) The Steven Spielberg movie is a cult classic that has driven the franchise to produce a series of great films based on its storyline. Trust Microgaming to bring it alive on the gambling screen and scoop up the accolades at the same time! All your favourite cast members and dinosaurs are available in full view for you to see. You can relive the cinematics of the movie through the energetic soundtrack and vivid visuals presented in the game. As you play, the screen moves through the forest in search of wild and dangerous sights with winning combo animations bringing each dinosaur alive. The game is no slouch in the bonus game department either, which may have been a real catalyst in the decision-making process for the award. There are 5 distinct free spin rounds based on 5 different dinosaurs from the movie. They all provide free games with different add-on modifiers, such as Wild Reels, Multiplier Wilds, Running Wilds, Mystery Multipliers, and Winning Wilds. Welcome to Jurassic Park! ✓ Guns ‘n Roses by NetEnt (EGR Game of the Year 2016) Arguably one of the best rock bands in history is immortalised on the reels of this slot by NetEnt. Yes, there are tremendous features when playing Guns ‘n Roses, such as Appetite for Destruction Wilds, Legend Spins, Solo Multiplier, Encore Free Spins, and a Crowd Pleaser Bonus. But we all know why this game won the game of the year award in 2016 – BECAUSE THE SOUNDTRACK ROCKS! Set before a stage, while you roll the reels, you can select one of 5 of the band’s best songs to play along with you. Once a track is done, and your foot tapping has warmed up, or your air guitar is in tune, you can select another song to rock along to. You simply won’t want to stop playing until you have heard all the jams. Enjoy songs like Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Child of Mine, Paradise City, November Rain, and Chinese Democracy. Here is one hint if you are going to give it a go – wear headphones and crank up the volume! ✓ Wild Toro by Elk Studios (EGR Game of the Year 2017) Elk Studios turns the brutal sport of bullfighting on its head in this humorous and quirky slot game. That’s right, in this game the bull always wins, which is probably why it has so many fans and walked away with the game of the year award only 3 years ago. Designed with real Spanish flavour, the game transports you across Europe to enjoy the bull defeat the matador in a flurry of features. These include Walking Wilds, Extra Wilds, and bonus Re-spins of the reels. The mix of authentic sounds and visuals combined with a great maths model and feature selection made this game the winning contender in its class and a firm favourite in the Elk Studios library to this day. ✓ Lighting Roulette by Evolution Gaming (EGR Game of the Year 2018) Innovations in Live Dealer gaming has dominated the online industry in the last few years. Lightning Roulette has seen great success since its introduction to the market because it combines the table gaming world with RNG jackpot entertainment. No longer is 35:1 the best reward for a straight-up bet. If the lightning selects the winning number prior to the spin, and your chips are in place, you could be looking at rewards of between 50x and 500x your stake in prizes. This unique concept is a crowd favourite, earning it the game award by EGR in 2018. ✓ Monopoly Live by Evolution Gaming (IGA Game of the Year 2020) Everyone’s favourite Hasbro board game, Monopoly, came to the Live Casino world thanks to a partnership between the game maker and Evolution Gaming. The new gambling variant is a remake of the famous Dreamcatcher wheel game with unique Monopoly game elements. This innovation combines the two worlds of live game action and augmented reality to produce something that players had never seen before. It is evident by Evolution’s actions, that boldness and chance-taking can lead to significant payoffs, as this game scooped up the International Gaming Award in 2020. Ponder the Pedigree For the ultimate in online casino action, we recommend that you revisit some of these iconic game selections to remind yourself of what true ingenuity and quality is like on the market. Feel free to play some of these titles at one of our Gambler’s Pick partner casinos for a safe and secure gaming experience.
  22. Every year, on the fourth Saturday in July, the National Day of the Cowboy is celebrated in the United States. It seems somehow fitting that the same month the USA observes its Independence, it recognises this stoic, hardworking symbol of the American West – a true icon of Americana! Who are the Cowboys? While cowboys were effectively ‘ranch hands’ in the real Old West, their journeys on the prairies while running cattle drives came with much-associated adventure, which has been romanticised for nearly two centuries in books, films, and games. Thanks to these works of fiction, just about any horse-riding stranger with a gun in the Wild West is affectionately referred to as a cowboy. The idea of ‘cowboys’ seemed to evolve massively from their farming status to that of gun-wielding, Stetson-wearing, posse forming, outlaw fighting heroes. So, despite the entire sub-culture of post-civil war society being identified as cowboys, the purest definition of the word actually refers to someone who herds cattle on horseback. History of the Cowboy The era of cattle drives that we have all read about or seen on TV, found commonplace in states like Texas just prior to and after the American Civil War in the mid-19th Century. The cattle business began to boom, and cowboys would traditionally run the herds to where the money was. The Wild West was just that – Wild. Cattle ranches were not often fenced in like they are today, and it was commonly accepted by ranchers that other farmers would move their cattle through their territories. The rugged terrain and potential threats from wildlife, such as bears, wolves, and cougars, meant that traditional cowboys were hardened outdoorsmen and notable survivors. The iconic cowboy, however, traces back a little further than the Civil War, finding his origin in Spain. In fact, the term ‘cowboy’ comes from the Spanish word ‘vaquero’, which is derived from the root word ‘vaca’ meaning ‘cow’. The iconic figure on horseback with hat, spurs, and a lasso were traditionally borrowed from Mexico, who had strong Spanish influence embedded in their culture. The first time the term ‘cowboy’ was used in written form, was by author Jonathan Swift in 1725, but the intended use of the word was to describe the work of a young boy who tended cows. Later, Western literature caused the cowboy to evolve into a rugged, masculine, horseback adventurer. The Wild West has re-defined these figures for us a lot, as most of the stories we have heard about cowboys in books and films have truly little to do with animal husbandry. True cowboys still exist in cattle herding states and regions in America and Canada. Every year, these true heroes, both male and female, get to strut their stuff in horse and cattle-based sports events, called rodeos. These events still find big followings in the cattle states, like Texas, Montana, and Alberta (Canada), and help keep the rugged image of the Wild West alive. Cowboy Books and Literature As mentioned before, much of what we have come to know about cowboys has been defined by the books we have read and the movies we have watched. Some of the earliest Western literature came about in the earlier parts of the 19th Century, during the very age being written about. People, like James Fenima Cooper, told stories of the American frontier, in settings like the Appalachian Mountains and the areas West thereof. The Leatherstocking Tales are a great example of this early fictional work. Between 1850 and 1900 the ‘Western’ truly established itself as a specialised genre. Many of these sorts of tales were published as “Pennydreadfuls” or later as “Dime Novels”, a book-style named after the cheap nature in which they were made. These hugely successful books were one of the main reasons that cowboys are now so readily associated with the image of mountain-men, outlaws, and lawmen of the Western Frontier. These novels would fictionalise stories around the lives of real men living at the time, such as Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holiday. Many of these characters are household names as a result of the tales told about them. By 1900, the Western genre of books had picked up a great following and was even adopted by foreign writers. At this time, some of the stories began to spread eastwards across the globe thanks to a new medium of literature, called Pulp Magazines. The popular ‘Hopalong Cassidy’ series of stories by Clarence Mulford appeared in 1904 in this form, as well as in dime novel format. Progression into the 20th Century saw many evolutions in writing style, including the genre’s move to the comic scene. Both Marvel and DC climbed on the bandwagon from around 1948 and 1951 respectively, releasing stories such as Kid Colt Outlaw (Marvel) and All-Star Western (DC). Other Western-styled comics were published by Charlton Comics, Prize Comics, Fawcett Comics, and others. It was around the 1950s that some of the top novels made it to the silver screen. Jack Shaeffer’s 1949 novel, “Shane” was one such story that made it to film in 1953. Between the ‘70s and 2000s, Western Fiction dropped in popularity – mostly because film superseded written media. The only sub-genre that managed to stay its course were Adult-Rated Westerns, which are known for their explicit sexual content. Cowboys of the Movie World Westerns were recognised as one of the most popular film genres in the mid-20th Century. In fact, such movies were already well attended throughout the 1930s. John Ford’s “Stagecoach” thrust now renowned actor, John Wayne, onto the Hollywood scene, making him a mainstream movie star. He became the quintessential face behind the Western Genre at that time and will live long in the hearts of your grandmothers. A string of popular and iconic Western films ran through the ‘50s era, earmarking that period of movie history as the Golden Age of the Western. Some of the renowned titles included Broken (1950), High Noon (1952), Shane (1953), and Wichita (1955) to name a few. The cowboy craze spread to the 1960s with titles such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The ‘60s saw the introduction of a new cult hero for the cowboy/western genre – Clint Eastwood. Known as ‘The Man with No Name’, this seldom speaking, tough stranger, and nightmare to outlaws, would headline a string of Spaghetti Westerns called the Dollars Trilogy. The recognisable character in the brown poncho and hat, sucking on cigarillos and having little to nothing to say catapulted Eastwood to fame with A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Over the years, many cowboy Westerns have stolen the hearts of moviegoers. More recently, the 1990s made us fall in love with Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves, and Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, and Keffer Sutherland in Young Guns I & II. Even the comedy genius of the 1999 Steampunk Western - Wild, Wild West with Will Smith and Kevin Kline will leave a long-lasting stamp on our memory. Almost all the above-mentioned stories had the same root of genetics running through their veins – Masculine Gunslinging types on horses whipping the butts of the baddies and riding off into the sunset to live another day. These stories sold tickets and did a tremendous amount of work for romanticising the American Frontier. It placed the cowboy firmly as a patriotic symbol of American pride. Western Slots and Pokies Just about every worthwhile genre or theme will find its way onto the gaming scene at some point or another and may even trickle through to the online casino world. Let’s face it, the type of adventure that Cowboys and Westerns exude makes for some great game features and bonus rounds. It’s for that very reason that many of the top gaming studios in the online casino market have ventured to re-tell some of the best Western Stories over the reels in good ol’ slot fashion. While a myriad of games can be found online with an American Frontier theme attached to them, whether it be the Wildlife theme, Gold Digging tales, or plain old Cowboy high jinks only a few stand out. Recent recollection would highlight games like Sticky Bandits by Quickspin or Dead or Alive and Dead or Alive 2 by NetEnt. ✓ Sticky Bandits Quickspin’s 2017 Sticky Bandits tells the tale of Railway Bandits over 5 reels and 30 paylines. The simple visuals yet apt soundtrack provide a real sense of the Old West on the screen. Massive Sticky Wilds are the stand-out feature n the game, but a standard free spin round provides you with suitable action to your bankroll. ✓ Dead or Alive NetEnt are the true masters of the slot world. They are known for their ability to make a theme come alive through top graphics, sounds, and engaging features. Dead or Alive was released in 2013 and became the most popular Western-themed game by far. Its high variance and massive max win drew crowds. The typical dusty ranch visuals are complimented by some apt western-classic sounds. There is no meaningless meandering tumbleweed in this game though, each feature is well-placed for the ultimate entertainment experience. It may only be played over 9 paylines, but Dead or Alive provides several winning ways, dominated mainly by the Sticky Wild wanted poster Wilds and a host of free spins. ✓ Dead or Alive 2 Just when you think NetEnt has outdone themselves with the original Dead or Alive game, they provide an even more volatile option in 2019. Not only was the math model changed, but the maximum win peaks at over 100,000x your stake. Instead of one free spin feature, there are three up for grabs in the game. It could literally turn you into a millionaire if the way of the West is with you. A dusty Western Main Street forms the scene for the action. Here, the game maker even allows you to shoot selected items on the screen between spins – just for the heck of it! The game headlines some of the worst cowboy outlaws the genre has ever seen, such as Apache the Kid, Billie the Kid, Belle Star, Jesse James, and Della Rose. Wrangling Roundup The Wild West will live on for a long time still and it is on days like this when we must tip our hats to the impact that the era has had on our entertainment. It has followed mankind for over two hundred years and shows no sign of dying yet. Still today, the cowboys attend the cattle and compete in Rodeos throughout the ranch lands of North America. Even if the Cowboy genre has petered out on paper and the big screen for a while, it will most certainly still be around on the reels for a long time, so make sure you play your favourite Western at a Gambler’s Pick partner casino, today!
  23. The humble video game is a fond friend for most adults in the world. It was how we went on adventures to splendid new worlds, learned about our preferences in life – battle lines were drawn over whether to play Halo, FIFA, Final Fantasy or Need for Speed – and more recently determined your career choices in life. In recent years gaming has evolved from something children are allowed to do in order to give their parents a break to a multi-billion Euro industry that creates opportunities for coders, designers, musical score producers and marketing executives. However it is not only corporate entities who are benefiting from gaming as streamers on platforms like Twitch, Facebook and YouTube and eSports professionals, who compete for massive cash prizes, have created a whole new career niche around gaming. The Nerdy History of the First Video Game Any discussions of video games will have older generations wistfully remembering their Atari video game system, which comprised almost solely of Pong, or perhaps the more beloved Nintendo system. The reality, however, is that the first commercially available video game was produced by a physicist named William Higinbotham back in October 1958. As the head of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s instrumentation group, he felt it was his job to ensure their annual open day was exciting for the visitors. He came up with the idea for a tennis game which would allow the event’s guests to have an interactive experience. Using his experience with radar systems Higinbotham conceptualised and built the first tennis video game, Tennis for Two, in less than two weeks. The game was a smash hit with long lines of players, later he would say of the launch title: “It never occurred to me that I was doing anything very exciting. The long line of people I thought was not because this was so great but because all the rest of the things were so dull” Despite being an early adopter of what would one day become one of the world’s largest and most profitable industries Higinbotham never made any money from his game, nor could he since he was a Federal employee and any patents he submitted would have become government property. Early Consoles & Vintage Game Collecting The early 1970s would see standing arcade games become a fixture of shops and arcades where youth would congregate and spend the money they had begged from their parents or earned doing chores but nothing lit a fire under gamers like the chance to own your gaming console. These early consoles presented some challenges of their own: The Magnavox, Nintendo and Atari consoles of the 70s ranged in price from $75 up to $199, in present terms this is from $400 up to $750. By the late 70s, only 15 million households owned a television set in the US, which was a requirement for playing video game consoles. Even then it was only one set which meant gaming had to wait till the family wasn’t using it. If you were lucky enough to get a console and had a television to play it on the average game would cost around $40 which equates to about $140 today. It is worth keeping in mind that the minimum wage in the 1970s was less than $2 per hour, making putting these kinds of entertainment expenses out of reach for the many middle to lower class families. Rather than bury these classic games in the annals of history these fond memories, often of renting the games or playing at a friend’s house, has led to a rabid vintage game collecting market where boxed, or near mint condition, Nintendo, Magnavox, Atari, Coleco Vision and Mattel’s Intellivision systems are bought for a premium. The games themselves are where the real value lies with some really bad games, also knowns as lemons, which sold poorly during their heyday now being worth small fortunes due to scarcity. Here are just some of the crazy price ranges these retro games can ask: Stadium Events (1987) by Bandai – up to $40,000 Air Raid (1984) by Atari – up to $34,000 Gold Nintendo World Championships (1990) – up to $30,000 There are also stories of games which plummeted in value as their scarcity evaporated. One such game is Atari’s E.T. which was a terrible game and sold so poorly that thousands of copies were destroyed. This resulted in the copies which remained reaching prices of up to $37,000 on eBay. However, a 2014 dig discovered nearly 800,000 copies of E.T. in a landfill. The sudden flood of copies onto the market saw the value of the game drop to as low as $5! The eSports Evolution From the 1980s to the present day many original consoles fell away leaving us with the PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch as the only names in console gaming. These systems are far more complex delivering gorgeous 3D graphics and finger-twisting gameplay with some systems offering the option to live out your favourite new adventure in 4K! It is not only the systems that have evolved but also why people play games. Far from a childish pursuit, the advent of competitive gaming events has given rise to a multi-billion Euro competitive eSports industry comprised of both team and individual competitions. The prize money available to this burgeoning competitive sector is astounding: Dota 2 – prize pool of more than $200 million CS:GO – prize pool of more than $87 million Fortnite – prize pool of more than $84 million League of Legends – prize pool of more than $70 million Starcraft 2 – prize pool of more than $30 million While the competitive scene draws a lot of attention when it comes to making money a lesser-known component of the industry is live streaming. A former MLG National Champion and now Warzone streamer, Nick Mercs, recently crossed the 50,000 subscriber mark on his Twitch channel. Twitch charges a minimum of $4.99 per month per subscription, at the minimum split of 50% this means Nick is earning at least $125,000 per month, this figure excludes in-app advertising by big brands, sponsorships, tips (which are called Bits in the Twitch ecosystem) and the sales of his own MFAM branded merchandise. If gaming isn’t your forte but betting is there is a growing eSports betting market where bookmakers like Betway offer odds on the outcomes of various international gaming events. Whichever way you look at it, eSports is on the rise and the money will follow. Growth of Mobile Gaming When the first mobile phone launched it revolutionised how we communicated around the world, what no one foresaw was that these “phones” would evolve into powerful handheld gaming devices. With improved processing power, massive SSD hard drives and picture-perfect 4K displays the mobile phone has become a global mobile gaming playground worth more than $60 billion! Initially, mobile gaming was limited to popular free to play gaming titles like Candy Crush Saga, which generated revenue, not through game sales but microtransactions which allowed the player to bypass delays and timers to keep them in the game. At its peak, the game was reported to make $1 million a day from these small in-game purchases. The Nintendo owned Pokémon GO augmented reality game rocked the mobile gaming market to its core when it skyrocketed up the charts in 2016. By late 2019 the game had already generated more than $3 billion in revenue from in-app microtransactions boasting more than 147 million active monthly players. Since then all major studios have been working tirelessly on their market capitalisation strategy with eSports titles all offering if not their core game on mobile, then at least a standalone game featuring the characters and lore from their main game, as a way to attract this spend happy market sector. Gaming’s Impact on Casino Game Development Gaming has had an impact on the casino games we enjoy today in terms of technology, design and branded crossovers: ✓Mobile Technology: The online casino game development experts have always been at the cutting edge of any new technology and customer experience requirement. In 2004, long before other markets considered the mobile device a valid gaming platform Microgaming launched the first mobile casino. They would also go on to release the first slot for use with a smartwatch, while the technology never really grabbed mainstream appeal like mobile gaming it showed their commitment to offering players gaming whenever and wherever they wanted it. ✓Design and Gameplay: More recently we saw mobile gaming impact the way in which online slot-type games played out on screen. Puzzle games like Candy Crush and Montezuma which featured exploding symbols and non-standard reels heavily influenced games like Gonzo’s Quest and Finn and the Swirly Spin. Visually there was a move away from a more realistic art style to oversized brightly coloured icons with the inclusion of pops and explosions to emulate the onscreen “excitement” found in so many casual game titles on mobile. ✓Nostalgia Hooks: There are a number of online slots which lean into our nostalgia for retro gaming. Games like Hellcatraz do this purely through their visual design and layout, the faux 16-bit graphics and vertical scale being reminiscent of the 1986 arcade classic Rampage. However, 2020 saw NetEnt release an official Street Fighter II: The World Warrior video slot featuring the full suite of fighters, a reel set emulating the game screen including fighter specific locations, the original soundtrack and in-game sound effects. They even went so far as to include mini-games from the arcade game like vehicle destruction! Celebrating Video Game Day Whether you're an avid gamer or haven't really picked up a controller in years why not join us in celebrating Video Game Day by loading up your favourite game and taking a moment to remember how many great adventures you've had over the years.
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