5/17/10 – Last week, we reported on the strange happenings surrounding two Rival-powered online casinos allegedly owned by First Gaming Partners Inc. SlotPower.com and Vanguard Casino.com suddenly stopped responding to their urls, instead re-directing to Manhattan Slots – an online casino owned by Club World Casinos and powered by a different software provider.
Whilst players and affiliates alike speculated, especially in view of previous reports of slow-pays, First Gaming remained silent. However, a CWC spokesman said he was unable to explain the re-routing as no formal b2b arrangement between the two competing operators existed.
Later it emerged that the re-route was part of an affiliate account opened up at CWC by a party or parties unknown at this time, but the detail remained confusing. CWC subsequently advised that the affiliate account in question had been closed and the re-route disabled.
At this rather late stage, First Gaming issued its first notification to affiliates, although it apparently continued to ignore its players.
The notification said:”Unfortunately the Rival gaming platform hasn't lived up to our expectations over the past few months. Because of continued and prolonged processing problems you might have seen your conversion ratios and player values erode. We had no other option, but to drop Rival.
“We sincerely hope that Rival will continue honoring their affiliate commitments as they have done in the past. Your players will be able to continue playing on the system and thus you will continue receiving checks from them.
“However we ask you not to send further traffic to our front page.”
Later still, affiliates reported receiving a further communication from First Gaming Partners. This one advised:
“You may have noticed some disruption at www.vanguardcasino.com and www.slotpower.com.
“Due to a business dispute we have moved the domains to www.vanguardcasino.co.uk and www.slotpower.co.uk and you can reach our affiliate site at www.firstgamingpartners.co.uk. In order to ensure proper tracking, please update your affiliate links to the .co.uk domain for each affiliate link.
“We extend our deepest apologies for any inconvenience and possible malicious intent that our previous marketing partners may have caused.
“The casino operator, Bonne Chance NV, was given no warning or indication that its marketing partners were planning to re-direct traffic from its primary operating URLs. As the casino operator, Bonne Chance NV will continue to maintain and manage both casino sites as it has done in the past.
“All player and affiliate payments will be made as scheduled and going forward it will be business as usual for all existing and new players.
“A new management team has been assigned and can be reached at email@example.com.”
This confusing situation was further clouded by uncertainty this week when domain ownership checks revealed that both Slot Poker and Vanguard are apparently not owned by First Gaming Partners at all….but by name familiar in the industry for convoluted deals and often associated with the Windows Casino franchise – Avi Goldman, who is apparently involved with an Indian-located company dubbed Hypervision.
In the meantime, what appear to be identical, Rival-powered online casinos remain available on both the old .com, and the new .co.uk urls…and there have been no public announcements clearing up the confusion from any of the companies involved.