No ordinary year: CasinoBeats’ greatest hits of 2018

As the year draws to a close and the industry prepares for an exciting 2019, CasinoBeats is reflecting on a year filled with success, innovation and an abundance of milestones in the casino sector. Here are five of our most viewed stories of 2018

Microgaming’s hidden gem

Bacani, PR coordinator of Microgaming’s marketing team, spoke with the CasinoBeats team back in June after being dubbed Hidden Talent of the Year at this year’s Women in Gaming awards. Bacani spoke at length about the exceptional women in the gaming industry and the importance of recognising the diverse range of individuals, thoughts and talents in the industry.

“The industry is often seen as being very male-dominated but awards like these confirm that there are plenty of exceptional women making outstanding contributions within their organisations.”

Bacani teased us with the suggestion that, as well as the release of the online slot Fortinium, which was announced at ICE earlier in the year, Microgaming had a number of new exciting projects in the pipeline. Working alongside the All-in Diversity project, Bacani discussed the initiatives that are highlighting positive change in the industry and steering progress towards better informing the gaming sector.

For the future of the industry, Bacani emphasised that barriers within the gaming industry need to be identified. She said: “The end goal would, of course, be to see a level playing field but I think that events like the Women in Gaming Diversity Awards create an invaluable network for like-minded people to meet, and for women to see other female role models in the industry – that’s empowering.”

The importance of overcoming and recognising exhaustion

As well as recognising achievements, it is of great importance to be aware of the well being of employees and the measures put in place to protect individuals susceptible to mental and physical exhaustion.

Co-founder of Codeta, Edward Ihre discussed with CasinoBeats the toll that trying to balance work and day-to-day life had on his well being, and how there was a desperate need to enforce measures to prevent burn-out for employees across the industry.

Ihre’s experience helped him intervene in a situation that had an employee of his in a difficult place, with measures subsequently put in place to ensure the individual could recover.

“I felt he was in a bad place so took the same measures with him as I had with myself. We pulled him out everything; emails, phone calls, Skype and allowed him to have three months off on full pay.”

When discussing the decision to take a break from Codeta, Ihre underestimated the expectations of investors, commenting: “I realised they were not only investing in Codeta, but they were also investing in me.”

Lucky Dragon

Back in 2016, building developer Andrew Fonfa set out to develop the Asian-themed boutique and casino, Lucky Dragon, with the intention of becoming the focal point for the local Chinese community in Las Vegas.

Visitor numbers didn’t materialise and the venue faltered into bankruptcy.

The bankrupt venue was taken to auction in October of this year – and failed to attract any bidders.

The casino was intended to be developed as a sister venue to the adjacent Allure Las Vegas residential tower, but following the recession and eight years after Allure’s construction, work began on developing Fonfa’s plan B – the Lucky Dragon.

The October auction failure represented another nail in the coffin for Lucky Dragon as the current owner, Snow Covered Capital, seeks to recover whatever it can from Fonfa’s money pit.

Even during the bankruptcy case the venue is said to haemorrhaged around $200,000 a month, with Snow Covered Capital stating in court papers that there is “no dispute” the resort had been “a dismal failure.”

NetEnt 2.0

NetEnt appointed a new CEO, Therese Hillman, this year, with the aim of creating “a new driving force to reverse trend and increase the focus on growth”.

Speaking exclusively to CasinoBeats, Hillman joked that she had joined at a hectic time in the company’s history and was looking forward to the exciting times ahead for both NetEnt and the industry.

She commented: “My intention was to follow through on the strategy in place … But what we see today is not enough to drive the high growth target we need.”

Her appointment was viewed as a step forward in growing the industry record on diversity and equality, however she remains one of the relatively few female chief executive officers in the gaming sector.

“I think our culture and high ambition when it comes to diversity and equality is not tied to one person. It was important to us before and it will continue to be important going forward. This is something that our whole company invest a lot of thoughts and work into.”

FunFair Tech

This year has been a busy period for decentralised blockchain casino platform provider FunFair Technologies. The group launched FunPass, introduced CasinoFair, and issued new appointments of staff.

The launch of CasinoFair was integral to the development of the FunFair trajectory – with it becoming the first live use case of the platform, opening the group up to a worldwide audience.

The group continues to be a B2B company, but this development sets them apart from other firms in the industry.

Jez San, founder of FunFair Technologies, commented: “It’s important to note that we are still primarily a B2B company and this will continue to be the group’s priority, but having a live, direct to consumer operation offers us so many learnings for this side of our business, in terms of the marketing requirements of future partners and the player behaviour that we can craft our platform around.

“At FunFair, it’s business as usual as we continue to improve the platform and its user journey, expanding the games library, all while working in-house and with various partners to ensure greater functionality, and so making it easier for mass adoption.”

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