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PENANG POLICE DESTROY 786 GAMBLING COMPUTERS
More computers seized by Malaysian police have been destroyed to prevent their reappearance in the online gambling market.
This time it was the police in the Penang district who crushed the 786 machines under a bulldozer, supervised by local police officers. The machines had been confiscated in police raids on illegal online gambling dens between 2010 and 2014, a police spokesman revealed, noting that the goal was to ensure the computers did not reappear on the internet gambling scene.
Penang police chief Abdul Rahman Ibrahim commented that once the owners of the machines had been convicted, police were authorised to destroy their equipment. He revealed that Penang police are currently holding another 800 computer sets pending the conclusion of investigations and court proceedings.
BETSOFT SIGNS CONTENT DEAL WITH SOCIAL GAMING START-UP
The latest content deal signed by online gambling software provider BetSoft is with Virtual Gaming World, an Australian company that owns the MMO social gaming casino Chumba.
The deal will see Chumba, which reportedly has a following of over 200,000 monthly active users on Facebook, carrying the complete suite of games produced by BetSoft, which embraces both desktop and mobile channels under the company's ToGo brand.
Chumba Casino exploits the elements that have made social gaming popular, such as microtransactions and achievements, making it an ideal platform for BetSoft's two new Slots3 product lines of Slots3 Arcade, including the successful SugarPop! with its recent first level expansion pack, and Slots3 Interactive, which offers games like Whospunit?.
Both lines endeavour to make the most of the evolving social gaming world, featuring level progression, bonus objectives and persistent game scores.
"Chumba Casino is an entirely fresh take on the concept of i-gaming," said Anthony Locke, BetSoft's head of product development. "We have never seen anything like it, and we are always on the hunt for unique and exciting new ways to present our games.
"The social gaming and gambling markets are converging at a rapid rate."
Laurence Escalante, founder and CEO of Virtual Gaming Worlds, said that the integration of BetSoft games should be completed in the second half of February.
Escalante's Virtual Gaming World raised the $2.6 million it needed to develop Chumba Casino from private investors led by Triple C Consulting, a boutique investment firm in Perth.
This followed a controversial and still unexplained incident which saw VGW arbitrarily removed from the Kickstarter crowdfunding site after just four days of exposure despite Escalante's claims that his application to raise $50,000 had been thoroughly vetted by site management before its introduction (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The massively multiplayer online Chumba allows users to become the house and build their own casinos, slot machines, games tables using avatars as their characters. Other players can join in and play at casinos, allowing owners to make virtual money which can be converted the real cash (with Virtual Gaming Worlds taking a cut).
In more recent developments, Chumba received a Philippines online gambling licence licence late last year, with Escalante saying he has ambitions to extend the scope of Chumba outside Facebook and for real-money action.
Escalante has also told media that there are opportunities in sweepstakes style gaming, where this is legal, and where he claims users tend to spend more and play more frequently.
The young Perth-based entrepreneur has big ambitions, including growing his daily active player base from 15,000 to 100,000 by mid-2014, producing annualised revenues of around $3 million and competing head to head with big-company subsidiaries like IGT's DoubleDown Casino.
Late last year the former financial planner told media that he was making good progress on raising a further $5 million in investment capital.
Escalante has surrounded himself with experienced i-gaming managers such as former Aristocrat execs Steve Parker and Edgar Pau, and is on record as saying that the development of compelling games will be one of the pillars on which his company's growth will be secured, along with good marketing.
NEW ONLINE POKER SITE LAUNCH
What appears to be a South African entrepreneur has been touting the forthcoming launch of a free-to-play online poker website this week, treading carefully around South African laws which hold that most forms of online gambling are currently illegal.
The new operation will be titled African Poker Online.com and the foundation site can be viewed at http://18.104.22.168:8087/
The promoter emphasises the free-to-play nature of the site, although prizes can be won, such as a free seat to an upcoming Kenyan poker tournament.
"For now you have a platform to practice your online game and meet new players," the promoter advises prospective visitors. "Leaderboards and other great social items are being launched once we get out of the Alpha testing phase."
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