Crypto Seeks to Emulate Land-Based Casino Experience

14 November 2000
After signing a handful of impressive software licensing deals with land-based gaming companies heading to the Web, Toronto-based CryptoLogic Inc. has found a way to incorporate both the bricks-and-mortars and virtual world into their new version 4.0 software.

"Once again, CryptoLogic has raised the bar to deliver real-world casino action," explained CryptoLogic president/CEO Andrew Rivkin. "For users, our new software offers a more realistic, interactive and secure gaming experience with brand name credibility. For online casinos, it means new and improved games to offer their customers."

The version 4.0 software was introduced in July, and has been implemented at several of CryptoLogic's top casinos, including Kiwi Casino, InterCasino, William Hill Casino, Casino eBet and both the English and Spanish versions of Casino Sur. The rest of CryptoLogic's licensees will roll out version 4.0 by the end of 2000.

Executive Vice President and COO Mark Rivkin was especially excited about the changes they've made to their software package, like the completely redesigned interface and the new graphics. Calling it a completely "interactive floor," Rivkin said that version 4.0 was designed to emulate a land-based casino environment.

One way the software mimics real world gambling is through the use of avatars. This give the player a "personality" while in the e-casino and adds reality to the experience. Players see other avatars playing various games throughout the casino. You can even see them entering and leaving their spots for other games or leaving the casino all together. Plus, players can change their seat selection and table selection easily, and see everything from a first-person perspective. "This gives it a real perspective, so that it's not flat," Mark Rivkin added.

Players can currently choose from 10 different avatars. The software will eventually provide more avatar choices and let players customize their avatar representatives.

The software also offers new and enhanced single and multi-player games including bonus rounds and progressive games. Upon receiving approval from the Australian government the company will make offer another feature that truly incorporates land-based and online gambling: progressive slots that are networked with both land-based and Internet casinos. The company developed the progressive slot with Jupiters casinos in mind and reports that the games should receive accreditation early next year.

Crypto has already invested an estimated $1.5 million to receive accreditation in Australia, which Mark Rivkin called "a good exercise for us." Like many in the online gaming biz, Mark Rivkin believes that receiving certification in Australia is a wise move, something that will especially appeal to land-based operators. He explained that the Australian certification process is similar to that required for many land-based casinos. In the long run, these efforts should pay off, he suggested, especially with CryptoLogic's plans to target land-based casinos heading online.

Version 4.0 will soon offer an extra feature based upon more traditional gaming operators' marketing savvy. "We've added a browser window for advertising purposes," Mark Rivkin explained. The ad window will pop up separately from the gaming window, and will feature real-time live information. This window can then be used to provide information to players, reward them for playing, or entice them to spend a few more dollars in some other fashion. Rivkin foresaw land-based casino operators, for example, using the window as a cross-marketing tool whereby virtual customers could win a free stay at the operator's land-based casino/hotel or similar promotions.

CryptoLogic has also built into the software a simplified registration for new customers, as well as enhanced download capabilities that allow players to select the specific games they want to download, instead of the entire suite of games.

The company also wanted to give players more control, as well as eliminate any confusion regarding their accounts. To that end, new features were added that lets the player look at all transactions they've made while gambling, including credit card transactions, tracking of bets and more. In addition, players can easily transfer money between their gaming accounts and even merge their various accounts.

Players can also impose their own credit card limits, or even lock themselves out should they feel worried about their gambling habits. "We've been very proactive in these areas (of player protection)," Mark Rivkin said, adding that some of the software's changes fulfill Australia's strict player protection standards.

CryptoLogic's attention to these details and its focus on customer service dictated many of the changes made to their software. Mark Rivkin said most changes to the software were focused on the players. Before changing the software, the company's staff listened to comments and suggestions from the customer service department and surveyed operators and players for suggestions.

After reviewing the latest Cryptologic software, it's readily apparent that the company was concerned with pleasing its players. The changes were based upon comments and suggestions made by the Cryptologic customer service department, as well as surveys of operators and players. As co-founders Andrew and Mark Rivkin state in their founder's statement on the company website, "Our development goal is to provide our customers with state-of-the-art software that is secure, functional and user-friendly." Version 4.0 seems to follow this goal.