A New Platform for Casino Games

8 August 2002

Background on the MMS Venture

by Rob van der Gaast

Speirtech Ltd is a wholly owned and privately funded limited company. All company shares are held by the management team.

Speirtech Ltd, an Irish company providing mobile casino platforms, has developed a new mobile platform designed to deliver enriched casino-style games to handsets and is looking for worldwide distribution partners.

The new system's framework comes from Logica's MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Service Center) and will allow users to play roulette and slots right on the display screen of their mobile phone.

Speirtech is billing the development as the first interactive casino games for mobile handsets via MMS.

MMS enriches the content available to mobile devices by providing advanced media such as color, animated graphics and sound. More important than the launch of Speirtech's services, Paul Savage, Managing Director of Speirtech, explained, is the opportunity for wireless application developers to provide advanced, attractive and user-friendly services to mobile consumers.

"You aren't looking at a text-based or black-and-white display anymore," he said. "The networks are being GPS-enabled and that makes it a little faster and gives a better experience to the user."

Savage said the system took nearly a year to mature from the basic idea into the current form that it is now.

"It wasn't a matter of 12 months ago deciding that we needed X, Y and Z," he said. "We just kind of put together a platform that could support a number of mobile formats and we have just been bringing in those formats as we go."

Savage said the system should be launched and available to consumers by the end of the this year. How fast and furious the system expands will be determined, in part, by the reaction to the phones once they are equipped with the platform.

While MMS offers the ability to implement sound, color and animation, it does have its limitations, Savage explained. Speirtech is initially offering roulette and slot machines through the MMS system, and while those games will be enhanced, the platform is limited as far as other casino games go.

"Where you expand to is a question," he said. "It doesn't have the same interactive element as the Internet. A game like blackjack for instance, would be clunky and awkward, and as soon as you get into that people stop."

The unique platform of online gaming enables users to access the service using an SMS or MMS enabled device. The user picks a number for a spin of a roulette wheel or spins the reels of the slot machine. The MGP then delivers the result of the wheel spin or reel spin to the user's phone in MMS format. The multimedia message plays like a power point presentation, informing the user of their bets, using animated graphics to spin the wheel on screen and finally providing the user with a game result.

Savage said the initial target market for the first version of the platform will be Internet providers.

"It will give them a basic mobile offering," he said. "They are reacting very positively, and we might be signing some of them real soon."

Out of the gate the service will be marketed in Europe, but Savage said no one is limited scope to one region of the world.

"We will be sticking to the one-shot games," he said. "Mobile lotto and those kinds of games."

Europe is Speirtech's primary market, but Savage said there is interest in the United States in a play-for-fun type of option. But the European market is a few steps ahead of the American market."

Gerry McKenna, chief executive messaging of Logica, said the agreement with Speirtech is crucial because he sees mobile entertainment services driving the market demand for MMS services in its early stage.

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