| The recent failure of Aspinalls’ acquisition of GVI begs the question: Is it the site or the software that players go for when they decide where to lay their money down?|
On 3 April this year, Aspinalls Online said it had incurred substantial losses in establishing and operating its own online gaming business, admitting that the £33.6 million it paid over a year ago had been written off, effectively rendering the Bermuda-based GVI worthless.
Aspinalls online was formed by reversing Damian Aspinall’s privately owned Internet casino group GVI into Gaming Investments, an AIM (alternative investment market) cash shell of which he is also a director.
When GVI bought the C3I group less than a year ago, things were looking good: a growth rate of 50% peryear and a £3.5 pre-tax profit on a turnover of £10.9 million. C3I operated two online casinos, powered by software from Microgaming.
As part of the acquisition, those casinos were shut down and their customers moved to Aspinalls.com and Ccasino.com, using a single technology platform using IQ Ludorum software. Aspinalls then proceeded to lose customers, leading to last week’s restructuring, whereby Aspinalls online casino operations will be outsourced.
Question is, did the change of software lose customers? Microgaming is a more established brand in the eyes of online gamblers, and at the Caribbean Cyber Casino, which used Microgaming software, players had a choice of 51 games, compared to the approximately 15 on offer at Aspinall.com using the IQ Ludorum software.
The issues of choice and the attractiveness of the gaming environment is hard to quantify in terms of how many customers they will win or lose for online casinos. The hardcore players tend to stick to a handful of preferred games at most, and graphics tend to be lower on their agenda. But the casual gambler is more easily swayed by a sophisticated gaming environment and sheer volume of games.