Chartwell Expands Presence in Vegas

15 February 2001
Chartwell Technologies Inc. has taken another step toward becoming a dominant interactive gambling presence in Las Vegas. The Canadian software developing company, a leader in developing software for online casinos, this week announced a partnership with Las Vegas entertainment portal site lasvegas.com.

Under the agreement, Chartwell will design and construct a virtual play-for-free casino for the site in exchange for sharing in all advertising revenue generated by the casino.

For Chartwell the move completes a triple crown of sorts for its business plan.

"We had identified for ourselves three major sectors in which to align ourselves to strengthen our online presence," said Darold Parken, President of Chartwell Technology Inc. "Those included online sportsbooks, land-based casinos, and portal sites. We wanted to establish a relationship with all three of them and hold a market share, we can now say we have part of the market with all of them."

Chartwell has existing agreements for a real-money casino with Victor Chandler--the U.K. sports betting firm--and a free-play casino for Harrah’s online.

Parken points out that the deal with Lasvegas.com is much more than just getting money from ad revenue. "This will allow us to have a product test site for our software," he said. "There will also be a click-through setup which will take users to a tournament site. We will be able to hone our skills on the games and get feedback from the players. This will also allow Lasvegas.com to offer a casino experience to their site, and they were excited about that."

Jack Harper, executive director of Donrey Media Interactive, the parent company of the Internet portal site, says the agreement completes the process of making Lasvegas.com the leading portal site for one of America’s most popular tourist destinations.

"This has been a giant step in making ours the most comprehensive Web site on and about this exciting city," he said. "We partnered with Chartwell because they are the very best in the business."

Should online operators be concerned that a software developer is trying to nudge itself into the market? Not so, says Parken.

"That would be shooting ourselves in the foot," he said. "If anything, this is going to allow us to better serve our clients. In no way do we want to be competing against them."

Chartwell will not be competing directly with operators, but Parken did admit the alignment with Lasvegas.com is going to open up doors which had previously been closed to the company.

"Our operators treat their player database and lists with great protection, and they should," he said. "We don’t have access to those names, and we don’t want their names. But this will allow us to get demographic information which will allow us to put our traffic through more effective tests of products."

Parken points to Chartwell’s efforts to launch tournament manager software for its clients and how the alliance with lasvegas.com will expedite that process.

"We have our own testing facility," he said. "But nothing can take the place of having it out on the Web for the whole world to use and access."

Parken also says the company is actively seeking other portal sites to extend its hold on the market.

"I don’t want to drop any names, but we are in negotiations with other portal sites," he said. "We will not partner with any other Las Vegas oriented portals, but we are looking to Asia and some others."

Parken says they aren’t limiting itself to just entertainment portals. He pointed out that nearly all portals, from AOL, Yahoo and others have games. "We are looking to maybe improve the offers on some portals," he said.

If the old adage of imitation being the best form of flattery is true, Charwell seems to set the tone for the industry.

"Our competitors our falling in line with our business plan," Parken said. "A couple years ago we said Java-based design was the future for online gaming, and a lot of other companies said that wasn’t so, that you couldn’t get the good graphics with Java. Now I think all of our big competition is doing some form of Java design. I am sure we will see others try to get in with other portals. We would like to get them all, but we seem to set the standard and have everyone else follow suite."

Parken did say Lasvegas.com will be moving to a larger server in the near future to accommodate the upgrades to the site. He said there is already a lot of volume and traffic being run through the site, but he hopes Chartwell can help take it to new heights.

"It is a good relationship for everyone involved," he said. "I think together we will be able to make the site prosper and grow."