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 The Rocky History of Rival Gaming
(A players-eye view)

The Beginning

   

Rival Gaming is a Canada-based software company who wanted to bring something different to the online casino world both in terms of games and method of operation. The “back-end” of their software package brought much tighter controls on fraudulent and abusive players than had been seen on any previous softwares; the idea being to eliminate these players BEFORE they played rather than after, and so save everyone a lot of time, grief and of course, money. 

Part of this overall strategy was to offer their software to operators as “White Label Casinos”; this basically means that all the actual running of the Casino, the Money Processing and the Player Support is handled by Rival themselves in one central location, and all the casino owners had to do is put up a website and handle the marketing (including designing player promotions) using the Rival “template”

This all sounds totally ideal and a sure-fire winning set-up, but unfortunately there was a very rocky road ahead and some major draw-backs with their systems – more about this later. 
      

2006 – The Launch

Rival launched their first four casinos in April 2006, they were Cocoa and DaVinci’s Gold, closely followed by This is Vegas (not recommended) and Paradise8. I’m not sure what the original set-up was, but now Cocoa and Paradise are “sister” casinos while the other 2 are independents.  In October 2006 some bright spark had the idea of opening a new Rival casino call Pantasia which would go on to confuse loads of people, because that is also the name of Rival’s money processor! (Whenever you deposit or withdraw from ANY white-label Rival casino the transaction will show “Pantasia”).

Initially their future looked very bright indeed, not least due to the popularity of their new concept, the iSlots; These interactive-slot games got players more involved as they followed a story line moving from one location to another provided the player hit the right combination of symbols, otherwise they’d go back to the start.  They are still very popular today.

But the timing of Rival’s launch could hardly have been worse, for that same October saw the signing of the UIGEA bill by George Bush in the USA which was to have a very damaging impact on the future of online casinos as a whole.
    

2007 – The Start of Steady Growth

Like any new casino software brand, its impact was very slow at first, but as more and more players and potential operators found out about them and the great software package they had to offer, the quicker they grew.  2007 saw the opening of 4 more new Rivals; Mayan Fortune (sister to Pantasia), Superior, Simon Says and the first independent; Sloto’Cash. Instead of being “just another white label” Sloto set out to have more control right from the start, with their own support and crucially, their own money processor. This immediately made them a favorite with players, as quick and efficient support and payments are usually near the top of the list of what most people want from any online gaming company.  
  

2008 – The Problems Begin

2008 saw another 6 new Rival casinos hit the web (Club Vegas USA, Irish Luck, Lion Slots, Absolute Slots (name later changed to Slot Power), Slots of Fortune and Vegas Sky), but it also saw the start of something brown & sticky hitting the fan. Rival had earlier entered into a marketing agreement with another Canadian company; T2 Marketing. I don't know the full details, but T2 claimed Rival and its 4 owners had breached the agreement and damaged their reputation, so they started a lawsuit suing Rival for nearly half a million Canadian Dollars. To this date I am unaware of the final outcome of this case, but I assume it is still ongoing.  
  

2009 – The Canadian Ban

Up until the above-mentioned court action, Rival had been happily supplying players from all corners of the globe (including the USA where some other softwares feared to tread). But with this action going on, potentially leading them into trouble with the Canadian Government, the difficult decision was made to exclude all players living in Canada from ALL Rival casinos as of the 1st of March, 2009.  
   

2009 – The Casino Explosion!

Despite the above, Rival casinos went from strength to strength – no doubt boosted greatly by the popularity of the great new slot games they released such as Scary Rich, Baby Boomer’s Cash Cruise, Cosmic Quest , Fantasy Fortune, Spy Game and many more!

2009 saw the opening of a further 14 Rival casinos. For the record, these were:
BetUS, Box24, Dendera, Fortune Reel, Gold Rock (switched over from Wizard Gaming software and later, name changed to 21 Grand), Rock Bet, Royal Apollo (now closed down), Ruby Royal, Slots Jackpot, Tradition (now closed down), Tropica, Vanguard, Vegas Days & Vegas Regal. Some of these are sisters to existing casinos, and all are white labels except Box24, which like Sloto’Cash, has proved very popular with players, not least due to their fast cash-outs.  
    

2009 – The Player’s Problems

As the Rival “empire” grew, so unfortunately did the problems players encountered. The first and most noticeable was a slow down in cash-out times from just a day or two, to 5 to 7 days… or even longer. Although Rival will not explain the reasons, the suspicion is that due to the UIGEA in the USA many banks & credit companies became “twitchy” about processing online gaming related transactions. There are also rumors that $1,000,000s in gaming funds (not just Rival’s) were frozen by the big credit companies which threw the cash-flow of numerous online operators into turmoil. The problem is, this did not only effect USA resident’s, but also had a knock-on effect of slowing payments to other players world-wide. In my opinion this is the single biggest reason why Rival casinos are not much more popular than they already are.

Other problems encountered by players are:

·        Being globally “bonus-banned” across all Rival casinos just because they “won too much” at one of their casinos. This is a totally silly policy since even with bonuses the casino always has the edge; if they drive players away how are they ever going to win their losses back from them?

·        Poor support from the centralized Rival Live Chat; Because they are handling over 30 different casinos they struggle to give accurate casino-specific information. Some casinos have also demonstrated very poor support via e-mail too which leads to much player frustration.  
   

2010 – The Casinos’ Problems

The first real hint of really serious problems came early in 2010 from Tradition casino. This casino only opened in October 2009, but it soon became apparent that in granting them a license Rival may have made a gross error of judgment.  The French owner who claimed to have “a long prior experience with online gambling” quickly demonstrated that this was probably an exaggeration. She clearly had very little, or no knowledge of how casinos or marketing programs work, they offered bonuses with insane wagering, and she even thought that “skilled players” would get dealt more Blackjacks than regular players!

However, there were genuine background problems between them and Rival which would contribute greatly to their demise and that of several other Rival casinos too; I have gleaned that because Rival themselves look after all the money side of the white label casinos, what happens at the end of the month is that Rival remove all their fees, player cash-outs, etc. and then pay the casino operator their agreed share of the profit. But if the casino makes their bonus offers too good and/or a few players get very lucky they could get to the end of the month and find that not only is there no profit to be paid, but that the operator could actually owe Rival money! This was cited as one of the main reasons for Tradition calling it a day and closing their casino on May-22nd 2010.

Unfortunately they were not the last as they were quickly followed by Planet23 and Orange Gamez who shut down just a few months after opening, Royal Apollo who lasted 9 months, and the sister casinos Slot Power & Vanguard who changed owners for the second time in August 2010 after collapsing in May 2010.  
   

2010 – The First ROGUE Rivals

Although there had been various problems with some Rival casinos for quite a while, it was not until late in 2010 that we started seeing the really serious issues of a few casinos who were blatantly STEALING money from players by twisting & turning their T&Cs to try to justify their actions. 
  
The first and worst was This Is Vegas: The CASINO allowed a player to register & deposit, the CASINO allowed the player to claim a bonus, the CASINO allowed the player to play their slots at up to $100/spin. But when the player got very lucky with some big hits and completed the WR totally within the Terms & Conditions of the bonus, the CASINO did NOT allow the player to withdraw the $80,000+ he won fair and square. Instead they made up some totally pathetic "bonus abuse" excuse and stole the players money.
  
Next came Supreme Play - sister casino to 21 Grand; In this case a player had his $1,375 winnings stolen for the simple reason that he only just completed the WR to the exact $1 and then asked for a cash-out. He totally complied with the T&Cs - but the casino would not pay.

  
This was followed by more nonsense, this time from Slots of Fortune; Once again, the player totally complied with all the T&Cs. He was playing slots and had a pretty big win. He then reduced his bets to protect his winnings and completed the required WR. The casino then STOLE his money simply because they didn't like the way he played - i.e. he was trying to win...!

  
All the above cases are doing EVERYONE who is connected with Rival Gaming a huge dis-service and bringing disrepute on the WHOLE brand - including many innocent Rival casinos.

SHAME ON YOU ROGUE RIVALS!

  
Update (May 2011): This is Vegas was taken over by new management (same as Paradise 8 & Cocoa) early in 2011
 and the player in question reported receiving $55,000 of his $80,000 in May 2011. Until the rest is paid we will be leaving this casino on the Rogue list.
We are not sure if the issue with Slots of Fortune has been resolved, but as there have not been any other complaints that we are aware of for 6-months we have upgraded them from Rogue to Not Recommended.

   

2010 – The Reconciliation

The one HUGE advantage of Rival’s white label system is that players are protected. When the operators of the casinos above decided to get out, the running of the casinos was continued as normal by Rival themselves – players would have noticed no difference at all; casino still working, bonus offers still there, cash-outs still being made. This is vastly better than operators on other softwares; there have been numerous cases of RTG, Playtech, etc. casinos going bust and just vanishing with player’s money – a total nightmare.

The closed-down casinos named above have continued to operate while new owner/operators are found. Some have already been taken over, re-named and re-launched; to all intents and purposes they are brand new Rival casinos, except with existing players carried over from the old operator.  
  

2010 – The Bright Future

Once again, despite all the problems mentioned above (and some that aren’t) I still remain optimistic that Rival Gaming do have a bright future. One thing that happens far too often when a casino or two screws-up and gets some bad press, is that all other casinos on that platform get tarred with the same brush. This is simply unfair; there are a large number of Rival casinos who have only ever given their customers top rate service. That was one of the main driving factors in creating www.RivalCasinos.co in the first place – to guide players to the very best Rival casinos and away from the more troublesome ones.

This optimism is obviously shared by potential casino operators too, as the brand has continued to expand with the addition of a further 10 new Rival casinos opening between January & September 2010.

Now all we need is for Rival to get their act together; pay ALL players at ALL their casinos in 24hrs maximum and GET A GRIP on their LOOSE CANON white-label operators, then the future would be even brighter! 
  

   

   

2011 – More problems in the US of A...

Things have been problematical for US players right from the start, thanks to the UIGEA bill of 2006, but they took yet another twist for the worse in January 2011 when another of their money processors, GlobalATM (AKA: eCheckUS) was suddenly closed down without warning trapping $1,000s of player's and casino's money.  Along with eWalletXpress which shut down in 2010, this left very few banking options for US players - not just at Rivals, but at all casinos.

Next there was "Black Friday" (April 15th 2011) when there was a serious and major move by the FBI and DoJ against the top 4 poker sites (was originally thought to be 3), their executives, a number of payment processors, banks and companies, as well as assets and bank accounts in 14 countries. As a consequence, the managing directors and legal counsel of Bonne Chance instructed Rival to disable the ability for US customers to sign up for real money at all White Label properties. As the majority of Rival casinos are White Label, this only leaves a handful of casinos who are still allowed to take new players from the USA. They were:

SlotoCash, Desert Nights, Box24, Black Diamond, Spartan Slots, Golden Cherry, Royal Club, Bet Phoenix
   
I say "were" because sadly Rival Gaming decided to pull ALL their casinos out of the USA market and so NO new USA registrations were allowed after August-7th, 2011, EXCEPT at the following 3 sites:

  
USA players welcomed at:

Golden Cherry, Vegas2Web, Crazy Luck

  
   
  

2011 – Still Growing...

Yet again, despite all the problems mentioned above, Rival Gaming still remains very popular and is continuing to expand; 2011 has already seen (up to mid-May) the introduction of around 10 new slots games and the opening of 5 new casinos.
I fully expect more to open soon - watch this space!
  

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Note: Everything on this page is just my personal views and opinions on the history of Rival. Some of it is supposition and there could be some factual errors. I would welcome any official representative of Rival or their casinos to contact me to correct any anomalies. Thanks.

 

 Any of the content of this page may NOT be reproduced elsewhere without permission.
Parts may be quoted provided a live URL link to this page is also included.

 

 Article Written: September 2010. Last Update: May 2011 

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