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Online Gambling, Marketing and Licensing
by Karl Yu

As anyone who follows professional sports will tell you it’s all in the marketing.

Hanes has their hands on Michael Jordan, Grant Hill drinks Sprite and Peyton Manning likes to “cut that meat” or order decaf mocha’s with his MasterCard. Endorsement deals also happen when teams name their arenas. The 2007 Super Bowl champs play at the RCA Dome and the Colorado Avalanche play in the Pepsi Center.

Endorsement and licensing deals can be a marketing boon and can aid in selling a product.

Although you won’t see NHL young gun Sidney Crosby or Tiger Woods playing online poker, or at least admitting that they do, online gambling isn’t against using known commodities and icons to help sell a product.

Fans of CryptoLogic games have no doubt noticed that Marvel comic book characters have graced their favorite slot games since around 2005, with the Hulk, X-Men, Ghost Rider, Thor, Silver Surfer, and Daredevil among the featured players.

It only seemed like a logical step according to Crypto’s VP of Casino software, Justin Thouin.

“We [CryptoLogic] had seen the proliferation of recognized brands in the land based casino world,” explained Thouin.

“Everywhere you looked, you’d see anything from Star Wars, to nostalgic brands like I Love Lucy and so on and when we saw that no one was doing that online, we really thought that there was an opportunity to do something different and to create an entertainment experience like nothing else that had been created online.”

Part of what makes the licensing deal intriguing to players, is that rather than being static images on an online casino page, the Marvel characters, much like they do in comic book panels, literally come to life when people are playing.

“We wanted to create slots that could be a substitute for watching TV, going to a movie or reading a comic book. We wanted the [player] to feel like they had a good time win, lose or draw, there’s more than just a symbol in a win or loss transaction,” he said.

In order for that to happen, they needed something with variety and flexibility that could be used to churn out more than just one game.

“[Marvel] has a fantastic roster of characters that would allow us to launch new games all the time, they have action packed storylines that really translate well into compelling slots with great art, animated icons and allows us to do really interesting bonus levels—similar to video games.”

But CryptoLogic’s licensing is more than just a one trick pony as it were. They have more than just Hulk and Silver Surfer on the brain.

“We really are the leaders in licensed branded slots in the online world,” said Crypto’s casino software VP.

“We started with Marvel and we also licensed the game Bejeweled, which is the most popular casual game in history. We launched that at the end of 2005 to massive success and last year, we followed that up with Cubis, which is almost as popular.”

Superheroes, casual games and licensing. It’s not quite sex, but it sure is selling.

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