Empire City Casino Offers “Simulated Gaming” Online Casino on GameAccount Platform
GameAccount Network plc announced this week that has inked a deal with New York’s Empire City Casino to provide it with what it calls a “Simulated Gaming” website. What it appears to be is essentially a play-money gambling site used to keep Empire City visitors engaged even when not on the property.
GameAccount Network, formed in 2002, provides the platform with which land-based casinos can offer online games to their customers. The platform is “provider agnostic,” meaning that if the casino likes a selection of games from a different software provider, GameAccount’s system can integrate them without a problem. GameAccount also has its own portfolio of casino and skill-based games. It has partnered with such companies as IGT, SHFL, and Incredible Technologies.
The Empire City Casino’s online offering is already up and running and includes tables games such as blackjack, roulette royale, and jacks or better as well as a wide array of slots. It appears that anyone over the age of 18 is permitted to play, no matter their place of residence. Signup is free; no real-money deposits are ever required. Players can, however, buy virtual credits with real money. Personally, I’ve always found it strange that people would want to buy play money gambling credits with real money, but to each his own. If people want to pay to have fun, so be it. After all, some online poker rooms such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker allow players to purchase play-money chips, so why not at Empire City Casino?
The minimum purchase for those who want to pitch in some money is $4.90 for 7,000 credits. For the hardcore play-money grinders, there is a 900,000 credit option for $199 (the “BEST VALUE!”). Payments can be made with credit cards. Again, though, it is not necessary to contribute money to play. Empire City Casino gives everyone 500 credits every day. Additionally, customers can get free credits for signing up – 1,000 credits for a quick signup that requires just a username and e-mail, and 5,000 credits for a full signup that requires name, address, phone, etc.
With most free-to-play games, be they “Simulated Gaming” or traditional non-gambling mobile or PC games, the game developers offer incentives to keep playing and even contribute real money. Such incentives could be access to additional levels, in-game power-ups, or useless vanity items such as a costume for a character. Empire City Casino is no exception. Cleverly, the casino has a VIP selection of games, available only to players with 20,000 or more credits in their account. This writer is the kind of person who would be content to grind away and eventually be enough of a virtual whale to access the VIP area (also, I wouldn’t care about the VIP area), but I can also tell you from personal experience that there are scores of people out there who have no patience and will gladly pay real money to access extra goodies.
There does not appear to be any benefit to be derived from playing at Empire City Casino’s online site except purely for entertainment. It would not come as a surprise, though, to see the casino run some sort of promotion eventually in which prizes are awarded to players. It would have to be careful with how the promotion is setup, though, in order to make sure it would not qualify as gambling.
GameAccount Network also has a partnership with Foxwoods Casino, and had one with Trump Plaza in association with Betfair, though of course the latter is probably in limbo right now. One thing Foxwoods has with its online casino that Empire City doesn’t is a link to players’ rewards cards. For all real-money purchases of credits, players get ten percent back in rewards points. Additionally, those dedicated players who buy $199 credit packages earn entries into a weekly raffle for free stays at the hotel. Promotions like this could certainly be in Empire City’s future.
The Empire City Casino is owned by Yonkers Racing Corporation, which bought the Yonkers Raceway in 1972 and turned it into the Empire City Casino in 2006. In a press release, Timothy Rooney, Jr., General Counsel of Yonkers Raceway Corporation said of the online deal:
As the demand for online gaming increases, Empire City Casino is pleased to be able to now offer an engaging online gaming experience as a complement to the unparalleled live gaming offered in our casino. GameAccount Network’s proven Simulated Gaming™ model has delivered a portfolio of slot themes that guests will recognized from Empire City’s casino floor. We look forward to continuing to build on this partnership with GameAccount Network to ensure that our online visitors experience the best Internet gaming services from home.
While there is no regulated real money intrastate online gambling in New York, this deal could certainly setup the Empire City Casino to be ready for it should it ever become legalized in the state in the future.