SoftGamings - Pirated games in gambling business

SoftGamings - Pirated games in gambling business

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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The casino platform provider assesses the production of pirated games

Pirated games have become an increasingly prominent talking point in the online casino world. Keep reading for an in depth view of the situation by SoftGamings, including the dangers, benefits, cases and prospects of its production.

Obviously, the reason for the rise in pirated content is financial gain. Since pirated games are copies of popular games by well-known providers, they are cheaper than the original. Thus, for the operator, this is an opportunity to attract more players at lower cost.

How it was: before and now

Before the advent of the internet business, software for brick-and-mortar slot machines was often counterfeited. As the era of online casino started, major gaming device manufacturers hurried to update their games so that they could be played by internet users.

These companies regulated by national legislation had a good reputation, which prevented them from seeking to sell their products to unregulated casinos or at least doing that at high prices. Internet epoch also stimulated the rise of unregulated online casinos due to no prohibiting laws existing. Naturally, a number of companies appeared in the market to counterfeit and sell slots of popular manufacturers.

How pirate games are made and why they are in demand

The games of such leading manufacturers as Novomatic, NetEnt, Microgaming and IG are copied by small IT companies (usually consisting of several programmers and designers) and transferred to operators from around the world for remuneration.

Manufacturers of pirated games have learned to copy games so skilfully that even experienced players find it difficult to distinguish originals from fakes. However, design is not the only thing that creators of pirated games can forge. By client request, the percentage of payment can be changed in favour of the operator, so that players lose money faster.

The peak of gambling piracy

The boom of pirated games happened at the time when in some countries gambling was governmentally prohibited. This was a real treasure trove for counterfeiters, as gambling halls disguised as internet cafes opened in many cities where anyone could play familiar games.

Accounts were replenished through a self-made payment system which was a legal agent structure established to receive funds for offshore companies. Accordingly, by charging money to the device, in judicial terms, players replenished the account of the payment system and withdrew the money after the payoff officially.

How the ban on gambling influenced piracy

Even when the Internet gambling got to be regulated or declared illegal in many countries, the use of copies remained relevant. The difference was that before the ban many websites used only pirated gambling content, and over the past ten years on one the same website both pirated and legal games could be found. It has come to the point that large gambling companies with official licenses in local markets have been using illegal gambling content for many years and never ceased.

Is it possible to abandon using copies?

Yes, it is possible, though two things are required. Firstly, gamers should learn how to distinguish original gambling content from fake, while pirated game manufacturers should be prosecuted by law.

Pirated games features

There are three main features to help one distinguish an original game from its copy:

  • The game is not downloaded from the server of the manufacturer. Each manufacturer must have own server to download games from.
  • There is no single system of jackpots (however, this indicator is not very reliable because manufacturers often do not offer their jackpots to all operators and geographic markets).
  • Companies that produce original gambling software often publish a list of casinos they work with. Any player can write to the manufacturer’s information service company and find out whether this or that casino is its client.

Prosecution of manufacturers of pirated games by law

Often, counterfeited games are used on websites with no transparent structure: information on recognized licenses, owners and managers. Such companies operate in a shadow area and are designed in such a way that owners were hard to define.

Partly because of this, companies like Novomatic and NetEnt have not made serious attempts to call to account the companies using copied software over the years. This made operators hide less actively, and pirated software started appearing even on the websites whose owners and managers are known and the websites themselves have expensive gambling licenses allowing them to legally work in international and local markets.

Cases of pirated games - Novomatic against pirates

In 2006 gaming provider Novomatic began a campaign against intellectual property piracy. The essence of this struggle was in registering industrial property rights in the form of trademarks, patents and designs for later successfully enforcing claims. As a result of such an approach, in 2008 the company Safe Games LLC was convicted. The company had produced around 200 machines and caused Novomatic significant economic loss.

This served as a serious lesson for operators using pirated software: many of them hastened to remove illegal games from their websites. Novomatic said that it is not going to stop its activities and will continue to fight until copied games are gone and forgotten.

Pirated Pragmatic Play and Yggdrasil

In August 2017 there was another case concerning famous gaming providers. It began with players reporting in the forum of the Hera Casino website, where they were playing, about the strange functioning of games. This resulted in the investigation which proved that the operator used pirated ‘Dragon Kingdom’ game by Pragmatic Play and ‘Super Heroes’ by Yggdrasil. The operator also provided fake information about their licence.

Given such fraudulent activity, not only providers of original content experience economic losses, but also players cannot get proper player experience, with graphics, payouts and bonuses not living up to their expectations. As to operators, while trying to save money and attract more players by offering famous game titles, they risk their businesses and reputation.

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