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Playtech Casinos to Play – And to Avoid!

Posted By: Dev Ops


If  you are a seasoned online casino player as I am, you will undoubtedly know by now that the software platform plays a major role in determining your affinity towards an online casino. Playtech is one of a handful of casino software games developers who have been around for many years and whose games look and play very well. As of mid-2014, they are arguably seconnd only to Microgaming in this regard and franchises such as their Marvel licence and with big movie studios like MGM have ensured a succession of very cool slot games, many of which I play a lot myself.

But you will also probably be well aware that Playtech casinos can be a bit of a mixed bag. And if you didn’t know that, you do now! Customer service is as important to most players as the games and now that bonuses are more often seen as a hinderence to a gambler looking to turn a quick profit, it has taken on even more significance. This article re-assesses and updates the topic since my last Playtech casino overview authored back in 2011.

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Microgaming Mobile – An Assessment So Far

Posted By: Dev Ops


It’s May 2014 and it’s been a while since Microgaming (MGS) launched their mobile casino product. If you include the Spin3-developed platform that was available before the MGS ‘GO’ platform which you now get instead, it’s been over 5 years since casinos like 32Red and Jackpot City implemented MGS mobile games.

More recently, these older games were replaced with the new ‘GO’ (HTML5) software in 2011 and I have been playing it since it’s inception so now it’s settled in, does it really provide a good casino game option for desktop punters Or is it something to dip into when no other option is available?

The first thing I have to say is that it looks good and it’s intuitive. The second thing is that the games choice isn’t a patch on Microgaming’s desktop casino, either the download version or the Instant Play. Here on mobile you get around 40 games as I write while you can expect over 500 in the download and 300+ in the Instant Play versions.

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Avalon II Slot – Microgaming

Posted By: Dev Ops


February 5th 2014: that’s the date for the launch of Microgaming‘s eagerly anticipated Avalon II slot, a game that’s been touted since January 2013 and a follow-up to their popular Avalon slot game.

Avalon 2 leans heavily on Microgaming’s new 243-payline model with more than a passing nod to the now defunct Lord Of The Rings slot that was very popular with players. Where Avalon 2 differs is in the number of features available and the fact that, like other recent Microgaming 243-liners including Thunderstruck 2, Playboy and Immortal Romance, these features have to be unlocked.

It’s early days and I haven’t had a chance to do more than give Avalon 2 a cursory glance right now but it is available at Microgaming casino operators along with the original and the other games mentioned above. I’ll be back to update this review in February when I have had a chance to give the game a proper run for (my!) money.

 

UPDATE: December 6th 2014: I played this game a fair bit now and have to say while it is OK, it isn’t as good as some of Microgaming’s newer releases such as Jurassic Park or even Game Of Thrones to be honest. It’s quite lowish variance and the inability to choose bonus features which just cycle round is a bit boring, especially if the next one on the list is a poor bonus.

My views are probably seconded by a colleague who has just published a Best Online Slots of 2014 review and Avalon II doesn’t even get a mention. A shame really because with the demise of the popular Lord Of The Rings slots, this would have been a good chance to issue a suitable replacement.


Novomatic, Aristocrat & IGT slots all in one place!

Posted By: Dev Ops


Land-based slot machines, online

Where to play the top land-based games online, all in one place!

In this day and age with just about every slot game developer now having their games available in a number of online casinos, it’s proven pretty difficult to find a casino that has all of the best land-based slot machines in one place.

I’m a big fan of games like the Novomatic “Super Gaminator” games Book Of Ra, Lucky Lady’s Charm and Katana and I like some of the older IGT slots like Cleopatra and Pharaoh’s Fortune, Kitty Glitter and even Rainbow Riches from time to time. When I am overseas, Aristocrat games like Where’s The Gold and Pompeii also lure me in as do WMS games like Wizard Of Oz, Zeus II and Raging Rhino.

Online however, I have only come across one casino that has Novomatic, IGT and Aristocrat slot machines: BetVictor is a well-known UK bookmaker primarily and has stealthily built up it’s online casino into a very comprehensive games site. It is a “no download” casino, so all the games are played in a browser but Book Of Ra and Lucky Lady’s Charm sit alongside Pharaoh’s Fortune, Cats, Kitty Glitter, Cleopatra and the aforementioned Aristocrat slots.

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Indian Spirit in the Heart Of The West End

Posted By: Dev Ops


So there I was last night, sitting in the rather eloquent and celubrious setting of the new Hippodrome Casino in London’s West End, bashing the button of a Novomatic Gaminator machine which didn’t seem to like it very much. I’d just come round from Napoleons Casino on Leicester Square where I’d sat, bashing the button of a Novomatic Gaminator machine which didn’t seem to like it very much.

I felt a theme developing. So I decided to try something radical and play a game I wasn’t so familiar with. Step forward, Indian Spirit.

I had come across Novomatic’s Indian Spirit slot before, briefly – online at Star Games – but I hadn’t played it for long before getting winked at by my favourite Super Gaminator games, Book Of Ra and Katana which sit alongside Indian Spirit. If you play Novomatic games, you may have already noticed that I tend to be drawn towards sadistic, money-hungry monsters that promise the world but rarely deliver anything more than a small lump of rock in the middle of a cold ocean masquerading as an escape from reality. High volatility…yup, that’s what sucks me in!

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New Microgaming Casino for 2013

Posted By: Dev Ops


A new Microgaming casino with options for PC, Mac, iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets.

Strictly speaking, Lucky247 Casino was released towards the end of 2012 – I first heard of it in a news article New Microgaming Casinos 2012/2013 which popped up via a bulletin on the AZonlinecasinos website which I manage – although I wouldn’t necessarily say it was launched in a frenzy of publicity but this seems to be in keeping with the Lucky247 website’s somewhat demure and understated image.

I first noticed Lucky247 mentioned in a news article and signed up to play there in October 2012, initially being particularly interested in their mobile offering which is using Microgaming’s new HTML5 product “GO”. Consequently I ended up playing extensively over the course of a month on both the PC Flash product and the more limited but equally nice mobile casino via my iPad3. I knew I’d find a use for it eventually!

To cut to the chase and for those who don’t want to read the entire review of Lucky247 then, yes, it generally gets a thumbs-up from me. But then again, most Microgaming casinos do. It’s always hard to know when a new Microgaming casino arrives on the scene just how it will fare – look at Casino Creed and Purple Lounge as examples of Microgaming casinos that disappeared overnight – but the signs seem good.

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Egypt Slots – Why So Popular?

Posted By: Dev Ops


Have you ever sat down and thought about the themes of the slot machines that we play so regularly? Probably not if you are anything like me – I play slots because I don’t *want* to think, I want to relax and escape. Just sit back, spin a few reels, hopefully without having to dodge a phone call from my bank manager on Monday morning and just basically have a nice evening.

But in the course of writing about slots and playing them solidly over the last 7 years I had a sudden realisation that there were 3 themes cropping up in my day-to-day play and one of those was dominating. The Norse Gods were one such theme with Ancient Rome – a subject that happens to be of great interest to me – also featuring heavily. And the third theme is of course, Ancient Egypt.

And it made me think. It made me think that actually, the 3 most popular slot machines I’d come across in land-based casinos were Pharaoh’s Fortune, IGT’s Cleopatra and in more recent times, Novomatic’s Book Of Ra. And preceding all those, arguably even inspiring them, was Aristocrat’s Queen Of The Nile slot machine. All of them themed around Ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs and tombs. But why would the 4 most popular slot games ever – all of which are now proving just as popular online too incidentally – have the same theme. What is it about Egypt slots that gets us?

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Gala Casino Goes Playtech

Posted By: Dev Ops


Gala Casino goes PlaytechThe latest British institution to turn to Israeli online games provider Playtech is Gala Casino who form part of the Gala Coral group and are best known for their UK bingo halls. They follow in the footsteps of Betfred, Paddy Power and Boyle Casino by adding both a download and Flash casino powered by Playtech to their online offering.

I was pleased to note that Gala kept all of their IGT slots too (Star Trek and Cleopatra II are among my favourite games) and in fact, although several other ‘bookie’ casinos (including those above) also offer IGT games, Gala has done a very good job of integrating them into the Playtech Instant Play product rather than listing them seperately on a ‘Games’ tab.

Another great thing about Gala Casino – I have been playing there on and off for about 4 years by the way – is that they offer very fast cashouts and until now there was none of that ‘Reverse Pending’ crap you often get at a lot of “offshore” Playtech casinos. Unfortunately it looks like they have now introduced this “feature” with up to 24 hours in “reverse” (mine was there for 12 hours before being removed) and no manual flush facility. Shame, but I think there is a good chance this will change at some point though to be honest, having spoken to them – we’ll have to wait and see.

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Coyote Moon Slot Machine now Online

Posted By: Dev Ops


 

IGT have gotten around to releasing an online version of their popular land casino slot machine, Coyote Moon which is pretty much a clone of Wolf Run. This game has been around here in the UK casinos for some time and is still (April 2012) present at Rendezvous casino in Brighton as it happens…not as popular as  Novomatic’s Gaminator slot machines mind you.

The online version of the Coyote Moon slot machine has been given a bit of a facelift although it’s pretty much just a cosmetic one. The thing that hits you first is that the graphics have been touched up – in particular the “Bonus” symbol that appears on reels 2, 3 and 4 – and they feel a bit more “with it”. The sounds too have subtley changed.

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Novomatic Gaminator Slots – Online Update

Posted By: Dev Ops


Novomatic’s Gaminator* (pro. Game~in~a~tor) , Multi Gaminator and Super V+ Gaminator slot machines have become more and more prolific in land-based casinos across South America, Europe and here in the UK. They were the first multi-game machines to really take market share and in casinos with limited space or those with a limit on slots as provided within the licensing restrictions (20 is the norm in the UK), they provide a welcome way to get more games onto the floor. And they eat your money. Fast! Well they eat mine fast anyway, yet for some reason I’m still drawn to the b*st*rds!

I guess it’s a natural progression that, as the growth online casino gaming and in particular online slot machines continues unabated, these popular Novomatic slots should start cropping up in online casinos and it’s happening now through a series of exclusive licences.

Below is a table showing where you can currently play Gaminator slots online.

The first Gaminator slot games to appear online were IMO the obvious ones: a title=”Book Of Ra – External Site” href=”http://www.bookofraslots.co.uk” target=”_blank”>Book Of Ra, Dolphin’s Pearl and Lucky Lady’s Charm all have a popular following in land-based casinos and these were the first to appear. Book Of Ra is the most prolific, currently available to play at places like Star Games, BetVictor’s Spin Room, Sky Vegas and the website of land-based Grosvenor Casinos. Most of those sites also have Dolphin’s Pearl and Lucky Lady’s Charm along with Beetle Mania too. The same 10-line Deluxe versions you find on the Gaminator slot machines of course.

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