IGT to Release American Idol Slots

New Zealand-based gaming developer IGT has announced the release of a new American Idol slots game for the Facebook social gaming platform. While the television show is primarily popular in the North American market, the ‘Idol’ brand has international appeal, making it a great starting point for IGT’s foray into social gaming.

The new American Idol slots game will feature contestants and winners from all 11 seasons of the show, as well as famed host Ryan Seacrest. It is a unique new approach to an online slots game, and it will be interesting how the game plays out.

IGT has released few other details about the game, aside from the fact that it will be a free-play title. Players will be able to win free chips as they play and can purchase additional chips for just $1.

While it may seem counter-productive for a profitable online slots developer to launch free-play games, social gaming is becoming a leading form of entertainment in the online world. The new Facebook game will expose IGT to new audience, allowing them to experience the high-quality gaming that the company has to offer.

Sony Competes in Mobile Gaming Market

Sony has recently announced that its latest handheld console will support Skype. The company has been working with Skype over the course of the past few months to launch an application that will be available on PlayStation’s new PS Vita device. While smartphones and tablet computers currently rule the mobile gaming world, this new development is expected to put Sony back in the running.

The new Skype application will take advantage of the PS Vita’s dual camera capability; so, players will be able to make video and voice calls. The application will also run in the background, so players can accept calls while they are playing games.

These features work together to help make the PS Vita a contender in the mobile gambling market. Currently, smartphones and tablet computers like the iPhone and iPad rule the market, as they offer users the ability to play high-quality games, browse the internet and make phone calls.

Now, the PS Vita will support all of the same capabilities. This is expected to start a new trend in the handheld gaming industry. Rumours currently claim that XBOX is also in talks with Skype to offer a similar application; so, it may not be long before mobile communication is a staple in the handheld console market.

NZ Government Requires Feedback for Gambling Law

Politicians in Auckland have recently decided to allow Sky City to build a new convention centre in the city in return for relaxing the country’s online gambling laws. While the deal was decided behind closed doors, former Gambling Commissioner Peter Chin believes that the public needs to weigh in.

As the deal was being decided, the public was left out of the process. Sky City and Prime Minister and John Key negotiated in private, and New Zealanders were unaware of the details of the deal until they were finalized.

Now, former Peter Chin, the former Gambling Commissioner, has stated that this should not have been the case. As gambling laws are being changed, the public and other politicians should have been able to weigh in on the issue.

During a recent television broadcast, Chin stated that before any gambling laws are changed, public opinion would be required. A consultation will have to take place, so that the changes to the gambling laws are well-advised.

“They have to facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling,” says Chin.

IGT Sees Increase in Interactive Market

A recent report indicates that IGT has seen some significant financial increases over the course of the past few months. From the first quarter to the second quarter of 2012, the company has seen a 13% increase. The company attributes this increase to a rise in sales in the interactive gaming market, which includes mobile and online gaming.

While IGT was originally a land-based operator, popular in clubs across New Zealand, the company has worked hard to establish itself as a leader in the online gaming world. With the release of its Star Trek online slots game in 2011, the company became one of the top online gaming providers – and has been on an upswing ever since.

IGT is looking to expand its place in the online gaming market by getting involved in social gaming. The company has recently teamed up with Double Down Interactive, a popular Facebook games developer. Together, the two companies will create social gambling solutions that will appeal to Facebook users and those belonging to other social networks. Since social gaming is becoming one of the most profitable online entertainment markets, we can expect to see even more profit boosts for IGT in 2012.

PlayTech Creates New Progressive Jackpot Format

Everybody’s Progressive is a new progressive slots game from PlayTech, offering players a unique new way to win progressive jackpot prizes. This new game allows most players to take home a share of the progressive prize.

To qualify for the progressive prize, players must wager $50. If the jackpot is hit 24 hours within that period of time, all players who have wagered $50 will be able to take home a portion of the prize. The person who hit the jackpot receives 70% while the remaining players who qualify get 30%.

This game brings a new approach to progressive jackpot gaming in the online casino world. Online gamblers are always looking for something new when it comes to gaming format, and PlayTech certainly delivers.

It has been quite some time since PlayTech has released a new game, but Everybody’s Progressive is certainly worth the wait. This new game is likely to generate a great deal of attention from players across the online gaming universe.

You can find Everybody’s Progressive at a wide range of PlayTech-powered online casinos starting this month.

Gambling Addicted Parents Going to Court

Earlier this year, a van full of children was discovered in the parking lot of a Sky City Casino. The parents had locked the children inside while they went into the gambling venue to play pokies; fortunately, the children were found before any injuries occurred. For some time, it was thought that the parents would only get off with a warning, but it has just been announced that they will see some more serious repercussions.

The parents are likely to be charged with child endangerment and domestic violence. Both of these crimes carry heavy penalties, but some onlookers believe that more needs to be done.

Neglecting children in exchange for taking part in gambling activities occurs more often that we would like to imagine. According to the Department of Internal Affairs, 46 other children had been left alone while their parents went off to gamble.

While the parents are the ones who are punished, it is believed that casino operators should also take on some of the responsibility. Anti-gambling groups believe that casinos like Star City should be expected to encourage responsible gambling among their patrons, preventing such child neglect crimes from occurring.

Genting Rumoured to Be Bidding on Echo Entertainment

In Australia and New Zealand, casino operators are placing more of a focus on attracting customers from Asia – and new deal may make that possible for one gambling company. A recent report claims that Genting Singapore is interested in purchasing Echo Entertainment from its local owners, a deal which would likely resulting in more Asian gamblers visiting the country.

The bid seems to have some out of nowhere as the Wall Street Journal has recently confirmed that Genting Singapore has expressed interest in purchasing the casino operator. The report did not cite any reasons – just the simple fact that Genting would be willing to shell out some significant funds for the acquisition.

According to the report, Genting would pay $6/share for the casino operator. It would result in Echo Entertainment being worth an impressive $4.5 billion. The price tag seems to be quite high, as the company has recently invested a great deal of money in revamping its own image, so it would likely take a lot for its owner to want to sell at this point in time.

Echo Entertainment has yet to comment on the rumours, but stay tuned. We will keep you updated as the story progresses.

Experts Combat Sky City’s Lottery Claims

When it comes to defending its decision to install 500 new poker machines at Sky City Auckland, the casino operator seems to be grasping at straws. To justify taking advantage of relaxed gambling laws (in return for building a new convention centre in Auckland), Sky City has claimed that the lottery does more harm than adding 500 new poker machines to the city ever would.

Unfortunately for Sky City, Auckland residents cannot be easily fooled. In response to these claims, gaming experts from across the country jumped at the chance to defend the local lottery.

Firstly, they have cited reports that show pokies are the number one choice among problem gamblers. The lottery falls much lower on that list, as it is seen as a more casual form of gambling in New Zealand.

Additionally, the lottery seems to have a better social impact. This is because the lottery donates 10% of its income to government problems while poker machine operators only donated 2.5% of their profits.

As the debate heats up, this has not stopped Sky City from attempting to get even more out of the deal with city councilors. The casino operator has already asked for cashless gambling systems and relaxed gambling advertising laws – but local politicians will not budge.

Cashless Gambling at Sky City

Sky City is asking for yet another perk as part of its deal with the city of Auckland to build a convention centre. While casino operator is already getting an additional 500 poker machines that will generate $75 million each year, Sky City is now asking for cashless gambling technology.

Currently, at Sky City Auckland, players must use real cash to play electronic casino games. What they want is a new ticket system, which would allow players to use barcode tickets to collect their winnings. The same tickets can also be used to play pokies. Other casinos across the country have employed this technology already, and Sky City claims that it wants to follow suit in order to combat money laundering.

However, city councilors do not believe that the ticket system has the safety of customers at heart. While it is a step towards preventing money laundering, it also disassociates players from the reality of gambling. By using tickets, they are not seeing exactly how much money they are spending on poker machines and other electronic games, so it is easier to spend more than they had budgeted for.

This is one of the first requests that the local government has turned down as part of the deal with Sky City. It will be interesting to see what the casino operator asks for next.

Auckland Residents Concerned About Sex Tourism

City Councillors in Auckland are excited about the prospect of having a new convention built for them by Sky City Casino at no cost. The only catch is that the casino will be allowed to install 500 new pokie machines. While this is the primary concern for most residents of Auckland, new worries are arising about other issues, such as sex tourism.

Local politicians are determined to build the new convention centre as a means to increase revenue by attracting hundreds of thousands new visitors each year. They were aware that tourists would be spending their money on typical forms of entertainment but did not consider the fact that the new convention would present a huge boost to the sex tourism market.

A study from the United States demonstrates the prostitution rates are higher in area tourist areas. These types of activities are more likely to occur where they are hotels and convention centres. This is also true on a local level, as Christchurch business owners state that gentlemen’s clubs see more activity when conventions are in town.

While his it certainly something to be concerned about, politicians have yet to respond to this new revelation. Since they seem very dedicated to the cause, it is likely that his new information will not phase them.