This month, we have seen the launch of a Casino Channel, the demise of two Casino Channels, and the complete overhaul of a Casino channel.
Let's start with the launch of CasinoTV. CasinoTV launched in the middle of February, and from the start, they have been plagued with Technical Issues.
There is a major problem viewing the channel on the Satellite platform (either on Sky, or with a FTA Satellite receiver). The picture is regularly pixellated due to a bandwidth problem - they spoke to their provider asking them to increase the bandwidth, and, of course, their bandwidth has been reduced. However, these teething problems don't take away from the game. There is no phone play option at CasinoTV, meaning that the only way to play CasinoTV is to log on to their website: www.casinotv.com.
Anyway, that's enough of the technical side, what about the gameplay?
When you first sign up, CasinoTV claim to match your first deposit by 100% up to £100, but at the time of writing, the way to claim the match bonus is very complex. Quoting from CasinoTV's website: "All first-time depositors are automatically eligible for the bonus. To receive your bonus funds, you must collect bonus points equal to the size of your bonus x 100. For example, if you deposit GBP 100.00 (for a bonus of GBP 100.00), you must collect 10,000 to release your bonus funds.". Points are earned for every live £1 wagered on the CasinoTV games. At the time of writing, you earn 2.5 bonus points for every £1 wagered on the Roulette Table, meaning that you have to bet £4,000 on the roulette table to receive your £100 match bonus.
Currently, CasinoTV's only live game is Roulette - live dealer-led roulette, and live Auto Roulette. However, they are intending to launch a Live Blackjack service at some point in the future. CasinoTV play 60 second games, with a new game starting approximately every 90 seconds. Casion TV broadcasts live from 6pm until 2am every night, which means there are about 320 spins per day. The spins come live from their Casino Floor, which is in a separate building to their studio. The website provides constant streaming of the Casino Floor, as well as streaming of the TV programme.
On the website itself, there are several non-live games including Blackjack, Baccarat, Casino War and Video Poker. Also on the website is their only unique selling point - Live Video Help. You are able to see their help presenter typing their repsonses to you in real-time, so you can be sure of an immediate response.
I'll be keeping a close eye on CasinoTV over the next few weeks, and will provide a more in-depth review once they have found their feet.
February saw two Casino Channels close their doors and spin the wheel for the final time. STV Casino was a NetPlayTV production for the Scottish ITV region. From the start, they struggled to gain many players, and most of the people who were betting on the STV table were existing SuperCasino players. So, from 11th February, all STV Casino players accounts were transferred to Challenge Jackpot - another NetPlayTV production - and STV Casino is no more.
Monte Carlo Roulette is the second channel to bite the dust in the space of a week! Monte Carlo Roulette was a pre-recorded roulette show featuring Debbie King of Quizmania fame, along with a couple of other hosts. The pre-recorded show could not keep up with the live Casino Channels, and sold its satellite slot to CasinoTV.
The biggest news in February had to be the much anticipated relaunch of SuperCasino.com. We have sacrificed Live Blackjack for the new look, but so far, the new look is proving to be a hit! The website now provides more in-depth statistics of the previous results, along with several new non-live games. The presenters are now in a real studio with a touch-screen table, enabling them to explain the layouts and payouts in greater detail. The presenters can show a variety of placements in one spin, proving just how versatile the game of roulette really is.
The greatest change which has been made happens when it's time to spin. The presenters who have spun the wheel for the past four years have handed over the baton to a new team of fully trained, fully licensed croupiers headed by Chris Ditchburn. Chris has been training the new presenters for the past six months to ensure that their spins are up to standard. There are four spinners every night alternating every half hour, and, on occasion, Chris spins the wheel for half an hour. The new spinners are settling down in their role, so I would expect to see their true styles emerging in the weeks to come.
So, what will be happening in March?
Rumour has it that Smart Live Casino is to gain several new presenters, adding to the huge number they already have, watch out for a familiar face or two returning to the Casino after a long absence.
CasinoTV will be finding its feet, and will hopefully iron out the tech problems, and SuperCasino will be restarting their Live Roulette Tournaments.