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The secrecy of Microgaming

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by rainmaker, Apr 11, 2011.

    Apr 11, 2011
  1. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    Information and openness is important for people in this forum. One example from the thread about Sports Interaction: The customer was told by customer service (as a response to a question) "Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to say". Bad answer of course. Secrecy and vague / no answers will generally lead to speculation and rumors. As it did in that thread.


    The gambling industry has over the years gone from being a rather mysterious industry, to become a more open and honest industry. Especially after the introduction of online gambling. With internet came a flood of possibilities for those who wish to acquire information. Well informed customers are often a problem for secretive companies. The tendency today is that reputable casinos and gambling companies will practice openness. This will also often apply to privately held companies because companies today is expected to have a greater responsibility in society.


    So why does this not apply to Microgaming? Microgaming is the world's largest gaming software company. They are operating from Isle of Man where they pay 0% corporation tax. Microgaming's CEO is the South African accountant Roger Raatgever.


    When I want to use a new casino, at least I would like to know who owns the casino (or something about their structure, partners etc...), and who the provider of games are. I have seen in the forum that information like this is quite important for members when signing up at a new place. And many will have the same approach when it comes to software providers. We want some information before using their products.


    But for some reason, we really don't care so much about this information regarding Microgaming. It's like Microgaming became forgotten somewhere on the road. And they are in my opinion, one of the most secretive gambling related companies in the world. Not a good mix with regard of also being the largest casino provider.


    But yes, they do have a high profile (exhibitions, conferences etc). Of course they do, to promote.


    My questions are.

    1. Who owns Microgaming ?

    2. Who are they partners/affiliates (which companies provides them with games, technology etc) ?


    I will not give you an answers to these question, because I don't know. But I will give you some of my thoughts.


    The Moshal family (especially Martin Moshal) from South Africa do allegedly control a major part of the worlds gambling industry. Martin Moshal is therefore an interesting name. He is connected to an endless number of gambling-related companies. One official document (Datacash document -AIM standard- about acquisition of Proc Cyber Services) states that Martin Moshal provides advisory services to Microgaming through an Isle of Man company called Internet Technologies Limited. By the way, Proc Cyber was a payment processor used by many of Microgaming`s casinos including three of their key customers. Moshal controlled both Proc Cyber and Datacash. Datacash was taken over by Mastercard last year. Martin Moshal allegedly cashed in a £65 million profit on that sale (through a Trust of course).


    Who owns Trademarks like Mega Moolah, Secret Of The Sword, Cashville and Thunderstruck? It is a company named Waterleaf Limited (Isle of Man).


    The secrecy of Microgaming: Mega Moolah.jpg,Apr 11, 2011


    And who controls Waterleaf Limited? Well...who knows. But they do have many US patents regarding gambling systems. This is a United States patent (multiplayer gaming system), dated Jan, 11, 2011. The patent owner is Waterleaf, and who is the "inventor"? Martin Moshal.


    The secrecy of Microgaming: Patent.jpg,Apr 11, 2011


    Derivco is a South African company. They do deliver games to Microgaming. Spin3 is another (mobile gaming). They have partnered with Microgaming. Moshal allegedly controls both of these. And the list is quite long, so no need to continue.

    Anyway, the allegedly messy "trust- show no name" structure around Microgaming is old fashioned (like their coin system in casinos :rolleyes:), and I don't like it. Trust funds, tax paradises and secrecy.

    But, who can answer my two questions ?

    :oops:
     
  2. Apr 11, 2011
  3. ergopro

    ergopro Senior Member

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    You must register/login in order to see the link.
    Try registering to public view of Isle of Man companies and purchase all the documentation necessary if it's available.

    Edit: There was 26 public documents available for purchase. See image below.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  4. Apr 11, 2011
  5. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    Thanks ergopro :)

    The problem regarding ownership in these companies, are that they often will be owned/controlled by a Trust. This in order to hide the real owner. Most of the companies surrounding Microgaming (and Microgaming itself) are allegedly owned by Trusts. If this is true, I don`t know. But the the tendency is clear.
     
  6. Apr 11, 2011
  7. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    Oh...And I should add that I have asked Microgaming about who their owners are. They did not reply. Not surprisingly since most of the people working at Microgaming most likely don't know. But for the record, I did try :oops:
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  8. Apr 11, 2011
  9. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    The most common reason to have such structures is to scam the TAXMAN, rather than the customers. Many high street companies have similarly complicated structures in order to make profits in one country, but have then taxed in another (usually a tax haven).

    The richer you are, the easier it becomes to evade the taxman. Most of this is actually LEGAL, although an unintended consequence of complicated tax laws and free trade between countries.

    Not ALL of this is as "secret" as Microgaming like to believe;)

    For starters, the AWP games have not just been supplied by a contractor, they operate on a DIFFERENT SERVER from the rest of the casino. The programmers who produced many of the Microgaming "pub slots" have worked with land "fruit machine" companies like Barcrest - which is WHY I am so good at playing them; I have DECADES of experience of the programming of their land based counterparts, so know what to look for when similar programming is used online.

    This may also explain why Thunderstruck was NOT licensed to "level 11" along with other old games, Microgaming didn't actually OWN the game, even though we all thought they did.

    Unless there is reason to believe the owners of MGS are acting with criminal intent towards the users of the product, it doesn't matter who owns it. If they are scamming the taxman, that's THEIR problem, not ours.

    If someone REALLY puts the effort in to investigate, no amount of secrecy is going to allow the owners to remain hidden for long, especially when it is the TAXMAN doing the digging around.

    As far as players are concerned, it is the OPERATOR of the casino, rather than the software supplier, that is of most interest, along with how fair and random the games are.

    Keeping secrets can also backfire, because when they are found out, not only do we have something controversial, but something that the operator made efforts to HIDE; suggesting that they had a MOTIVE for doing so, and players will believe that such a motive was at THEIR expense.
     
  10. Apr 11, 2011
  11. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    Thanks for the reply VWM, interesting as always :)

    Yes, some companies do have a messy organization for the purpose of scamming the taxman.

    But I would believe that most of the reputable companies do have a legitimate structure (as you said) even though they do not pay taxes. I can only assume that the people behind Microgaming and their linked companies do have a legal organization. And in that case, why so secret?

    I don't know why a company named Waterleaf would own these registered trademarks, including for example Prima Poker (pic), Jackpotmadness, The Finer Reel Of Life. But I am completely convinced that both Waterleaf and Microgaming are controlled by the same owner(s). My guess would be that Waterleaf own certain trademarks and patents that they for some reason are licensing out.


    The secrecy of Microgaming: Prima.jpg,Apr 11, 2011


    Yes, I understand that players will think that the casino as operators are of most interest. But I think it is problematic when a small group of individuals allegedly controls not only Microgaming, but also a bunch of companies from payment processors to... I almost wrote eCOGRA, but I will not go that way :). So they really do control "it all". And when a casino is using Micrograming, well then they need to follow the Microgaming rules.

    The aspect of social responsibility is in my opinion also important. And I must say, Microgaming with they 0% tax practice does not impress me. But I guess that gambling and pornography always will be a bit behind ( I admire both of these industries :oops:)
     
  12. Apr 11, 2011
  13. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    Microgaming may have split development into a separate subsidiary company, but one wholly owned by Microgaming. This kind of structure DOES also take advantage of certain tax "loopholes". For example, losses can be offset against profits, and each subsidiary is treated as a separate company for tax purposes. Companies will even "load themselves with debt" simply to get favourable tax allowances. They could, for example, use a profitable subsidiary to lend money to a less profitable one, or one that needed to expand. The interest paid back would be tax deductable, yet the loan structure itself nothing more than a means to minimise the collective tax liabilty of the empire as a whole.

    They are ALL at it, not just online casino companies. Even YOU could do it if you had enough money, and a good accountant, and needed to minimise tax. The secrecy is partly driven by the fear that the TAXMAN will come knocking, as the line between legal tax planning and illegal "tax fraud" is somewhat vague.
     
  14. Apr 12, 2011
  15. adam1976

    adam1976 Banned User - violation of <a href="http://www.cas PABnononaccred

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    u dont know who owns microgaming?? :)))))

    which race control the world?? tip: hitler best friends :p lol

     
  16. Apr 12, 2011
  17. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    You are thinking of Jackpot Factory, merely an operator that uses Microgaming, and owned by a secretive pair of Israeli brothers (unnamed, and never confirmed by hard evidence).

    The person suspected of owning, even if just a controlling interest of, Microgaming is from South Africa.

    Anyone from Israel who runs an online gambling business is going to want this kept out of the jurisdiction of their country of origin, since it is ILLEGAL there. Doing this would require them to register the company overseas, and create a structure so that any profits imported into Israel were not directly related to taking bets.
    It seems OK to provide CS and ancilliary services from Israel, but the gaming itself cannot take place there, or even be suspected of taking place there.

    In any case, the racial origins of the owners of Microgaming has little or no relevance to the experience players will receive, as this is governed by the laws in the jurisdiction the company is registered in, so Microgaming has to obey the laws in the Isle of Man, and pay any taxes due there.

    In terms of stereotypes, the Jews are very good with money management, beaten only by the SCOTS in this regard:D
    Gamblers are often considered to be BAD at money management, but this is merely another stereotype, and some can be very disciplined.

    Controlling the world?

    The Davinci Code was a good book & film, but was a work of FICTION nonetheless.

    If anyone is "running the world", it is the big international companies, visibly competing with each other, yet unified in their desire to make as much profit as they can get away with. They supply most of the seed money for the systems of corruption around the world, and ultimately it is MONEY that rules the world, not people.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Apr 12, 2011
  19. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    Some of the companies who has been linked to Martin Moshal in the past are for example:

    Ridgeway Nominees Limited
    Amber Nominees Limited
    Hurlstone Limited
    Ridgeway Associates Limited

    And the way these "companies" was organized was with certain Trusts where another company being the Trustee. My guess when it comes to Microgaming is that they are probably owned by a Trust, where the sole beneficiary of the Trust is Martin Moshal. There will probably not be any direct link from the trust to Moshal, so certain trustee, shell companies and others will be a part of the structure.
     
  20. Apr 12, 2011
  21. jstrike

    jstrike Dormant account

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    Firstly, I'm not sure how the Jews got involved in this conversation, but to the guy who made that stupid reference: Did the Jews come into your living room and stop you from writing a billion-dollar piece of gambling software? What were you doing besides sitting on your ass while whoever owns Microgaming, or their operators, whatever race they are, got insanely rich? What were you doing when the Jews invented the polio vaccine and google? I'm a Jew from Vegas, buddy. You could stick me in a camp for six years like my family was, and I'd write Microgaming's shitty software in C++ on a roll of toilet paper with my own blood, then shove it down your goddamn throat. Because I'm driven, I have a purpose in life, and a lot of what drives me to work harder than the next guy is the dumbass racism of people like you. So, like my grandmother would say, what are you doing with your mind lately?

    Secondly. I just read the "multiplayer gaming" patent held by Waterleaf/MG's (if anyone wants to read it, the whole thing is here: You must register/login in order to see the link.) and it's so ludicrously broad and vague that it's got to be in conflict with hundreds of existing patents stretching back to the 1960s. It would cover everything from every online poker client to Warcraft to Pong. It's completely unenforceable. The fact that they got a patent on it doesn't mean anything until they successfully sue PokerStars for infringement, because that's what it would be if the patent had any validity or technical merit.

    Thirdly. Microgaming is very secretive; and the deeper you go, the worse it gets. It's not really possible to find out how much they charge various operators, for example. They keep all that stuff close to the vest. But what we do know is, they charge too much, no one trusts them, and the whole situation is going to change for them sooner rather than later.
     
    2 people like this.
  22. Apr 12, 2011
  23. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    What do you mean, this is absolutely not vague :p

    The secrecy of Microgaming: patent bilde.JPG,Apr 12, 2011
     
  24. Apr 13, 2011
  25. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    Jstrike, as a reply on your comment about Microgaming.

    It would not be a surprise to me if Microgaming has the highest startup fee in the industry. As an addition. they will probably also take a percentage of revenue or profit share. My guess about Microgaming, is that they will take percentage from revenue.

    I don't think that people working at Microgaming knows so much about them. Operators who are using Microgaming most likely knows even less.
     
  26. Apr 13, 2011
  27. ergopro

    ergopro Senior Member

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    The license cost hundreds of thousands way back, years ago. Although there was many kinda products...from entry level to full casino suite.
    Some information was available in 2005 or 2006.
    Can only assume it has gone up, and a lot.
    And they required a lot of liquid funds (millions+) as well...at least that's what some people working with Microgaming platform have said. Maybe that's why we don't see so many rotten apples with MG. :D
     
  28. Apr 13, 2011
  29. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

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    Just want to mention that the racial stuff needs to be toned down a bit. Thank you.

    Second, please don't forget that MGS is a privately held company. Privately held companies are not obligated to divulge any of their company details except what is required by law.

    I just don't want people to confuse it with publicly held companies like Playtech, Boss Media, etc.
     
    3 people like this.
  30. Apr 13, 2011
  31. Tengil

    Tengil Senior Member

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    Really doubt that, seems to be a myth.

    And worth to remember is that players lost millions, most likely over 10, when Tusk and Linx went bust. MG has taken no reponsibility for those, especially Tusk were they played a significant role.
    Instead they hired former Eurolinx Lydia (head of operations at Linx) to be the Head of Poker.
    For poker they take 17,5% of gross rake, may differ for the bigger ones like Ladbrokes and Unibet.
     
  32. Apr 13, 2011
  33. ergopro

    ergopro Senior Member

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    Didn't mean assets tied up with them. Meant assets to run the operation...before they even start negotiating of granting a license. At least a few people from casinos that run at MGS platform have said that. But maybe it's a myth...have no proof of that, only hear-say :)
     
  34. Apr 13, 2011
  35. Tengil

    Tengil Senior Member

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    Well they can of course say they have the money...

    Prime, GoWild, Golden Lounge, Nedplay and Linx certainly didnt have that much money when they started.
     
  36. Apr 13, 2011
  37. jstrike

    jstrike Dormant account

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    17.5% of GGR sounds about right, maybe a little low. Playtech You must register/login in order to see the link.. If the operator's net is 1/4-1/3 the gross, this lines up in the same ballpark, and cheaper than a Playtech license. But one of the unknowns and unknowables about MG is what services they actually provide for their licensees. How far will they go to cover an operator's obligations if the operator folds? Not very far, it seems. How responsive is their support to technical or player issues that rise past the level of an individual operator? Short of shelling out $100-150k/month in basic licensing, it's hard to gauge. If the operators stand or fall on their own, which is fair enough, how does MG insure that they're not playing with the software or screwing players in a way that would make all MG casinos look bad? Again, to rainmaker's point, it's not transparent.
     
  38. Apr 14, 2011
  39. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    I will give a few comments based on some replies.

    Yes, Microgaming is a privately held company and I appreciate that you clarified that Casinomeister.

    But this is not about Microgaming versus publicly traded companies. Microgaming as the worlds largest software provider to the gambling industry do have a responsibility. And I think it is interesting and legitimate to ask questions related to why they don't take that responsibility. Their behavior and way of doing business will still contribute to the fact that many people are skeptical to the gambling industry. And who can really blame them, when for example the biggest company in the industry don't even pay corporate tax. I mean, in what other industry would this be accepted with no questions asked ? People will be skeptical as long as Microgaming is practicing their "secret way of doing business".

    This is what Roger Raatgever told an English newspaper 5 years ago:

    "We're a private company and the owners have asked us to respect their privacy." He says that the shareholders - though he later refuses to confirm that there is more than one - are not hiding their identities (or identity) and that the company will say who they are "when the time is right. The time is not right now. We don't need to."

    "when the time is right". What a joke. How long will it take for Microgaming to understand that this is bad for the industry?

    I should also add that this has nothing to do about me "indicating that Microgaming has unfair games etc...". Hope people will understand this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
    1 person likes this.

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