Wagerworks (IGT Interactive)

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When the software provider known as Wagerworks was launched in 2004, it was just in time to introduce the first Las Vegas casino to online gaming, developing the web site for the famed Hard Rock Casino. Timing is everything, of course, and much to the chagrin of the Hard Rock and Wagerworks, the U.S. government effectively banned Internet gambling two years later, leaving a great new software company with no outlet for its products.

Almost like a white knight, International Game Technology (IGT) acquired Wagerworks’ parent company, the Silicon Gaming Group. That provided the access Wagerworks needed to non-American markets and quite rapidly a number of online casinos were launched with its software, the biggest among them being Virgin Casino, part of Sir Richard Branson’s renowned Virgin Group of companies. It has remained a Wagerworks client to this day.

One of the hallmarks of Wagerworks from the very start was its user-friendly platform. Rather than offering a free software download like most gaming programs of the day, Wagerworks casinos required no download at all to start playing. That meant customers could be enjoying their favourite games online within minutes of visiting a casino’s web site.

IGT, on the other hand, has specialised in the production of land-based casino devices since 1981. Their foray into the world of online gaming was made much easier by acquiring Wagerworks and its technology, putting them almost immediately on even footing with such established major suppliers as Microgaming and Playtech.

IGT also brought to the table an enormous line-up of already established themes from their land-based slots. Using Wagerworks as their envoy would allow those games to quickly be deployed online—a truly huge game library from classics slots like 5 Times Pay to 243 Ways games like Triple Fortune Dragon as well as highly popular brands such as Cluedo, Monopoly, The Price is Right, Press Your Luck, Cleopatra and Wolf Run, to name a few.

The only real stumbling block has been legislative in nature. IGT executives are loath to raise concerns with governments in countries where their slot machines are installed. For that reason, they have adopted a policy of not working with Internet casinos that target players where online gaming is anything less than overtly legal. As a result, the Wagerworks/IGT games have not been made available via the web in a long list of restricted countries, most notably the USA, Canada and Australia.

In 2011, IGT folded all of the Wagerworks operations into their main brand so that the online casino software is now known as IGT Interactive. The actual amount of games available online is still quite small compared to the quantity of land-based games offered, but more and more are gradually being released. In some cases, new online games are being launched at the same time as they hit land-based casinos—a trend that should expand in the years ahead as the company aims at introducing two new games online each month.

As of the latest count, some 164 web sites were powered by Wagerworks/IGT Interactive technology. They include such majors as 888 Games, bet365 Bingo, Betfred Mobile, Betfair Arcade, Betsson Poker, BetVictor Casino and more. Of special interest to slot players is IGT Mega Jackpots, a progressive network that is expanding among the company’s customers. The top prizes start at a big £1.5 million so they are quite attractive, even if the payouts are scheduled over a 20-year period as they are in IGT’s land-based progressive games.

Strict licensing requirements mean that Wagerworks/IGT Interactive casinos are all first-rate. Players can expect fast payouts, fun games and excellent customer support in addition to large jackpots.

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