Pragmatic Play Ltd.
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Pragmatic Play is an online casino software provider with offices and labs located in Malta, UK, Gibraltar, Ukraine, India, and the Philippines. Read on for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Launched in 2015, the company started out under a cloud of smoke and suspicion. Whether simply inexperienced in corporate messaging or hiding something, most industry experts assumed that the company was not new at all and was still owned by TopGame, whose assets they were purported to have purchased.
The TopGame legacy is one of the most complicated stories in the history of online gaming. One with indelible dark marks left on it by malfeasance, by all outside observations, and incompetence by the stories that came out of the inside to explain away incomprehensible "mistakes" like neglecting to put the Jackpot symbols needed to win a game on two of the slot's reels.
Most of the casinos associated with the TopGame brand were either straight-out rogues or so grossly underfunded they simply couldn't pay their players. Advocate forums were plugged for years with complaints about slow pay and no pay issues. And then there was the 2011 DDoS attack on TopGame's Rome Casino with Skype conversations (forged, according to a Rome spokesman) made public that played out in the public fora in a cringe-worthy spectacle worse than the nastiest daytime drama.
Some of the back and forth included "proof" that TopGame and Rome Partners were "untagging" VIP players so they didn't have to pay commissions to affiliates. The industry adage goes something like, "If they rip off their partners, what makes you think they don't do the same to players?"
All of that left a bad mark on the industry in general, but it was sad for players too because TopGame was a fun software to play on and offered the first nearly instant casino games of any decent quality on the internet.
Pragmatic Play Today
Fast forward from Pragmatic Play's "creation" in 2015 to what they have accomplished so far in 2017. We have no idea if any element of TopGame remains at Pragmatic Play beyond a few legacy games. The company is owned by IBID Group, an investment firm with offices in London and Hong Kong. The umbrella organization does not release information on its stakeholders. The founder & Managing Partner of IBID Group is David Barzilay who got his start in the online casino business as CFO of 888.com's first white label casinos, 21.com. The Pragmatic Play website lists Anna Yakovlieva as "Product Owner", but her description on the "About Us" page doesn't seem to fit the title.
Pragmatic Play has achieved nothing short of greatness with active gambling software and casino licenses issued by the UK's Gambling Commission. They have two pending (applications in progress) as well. The active licenses were granted on April 10th, 2017. There have been no sanctions recorded by the UKGC, but there have also been no domains recorded. That means, as of August 18, 2017, there aren't any active Pragmatic Play powered casinos operating with a UKGC license.
We also find that Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) issued a Certificate of Integrity for Pragmatic Play's Random Number Generator (RNG) on January 6, 2016. The certificate is valid for 4 years. While that certification doesn't guarantee the software will do little things like display winning symbols, there's no reason to believe that Pragmatic Play is operating in any manner other than professionally and with integrity.
Pragmatic Play is respected by their peers as well. They won the Software Rising Star category at the 2017 EGR B2B Awards. Their games are beginning to spread across the globe. One of the biggest developments for Pragmatic Play in that respect occurred when Mr Green Casino announced in March 2017 that they had added the developer's HTML5 digital casino games to their online casino suite.
Pragmatic Play offers over 100 HTML5 casino games in 78 countries and 26 languages. Other than a few clunkers like TopGame's oddly named, Douguie's Delights the unique content is all made in-house and the games come off as high quality, unique, and innovative. Some of the titles include Gold Train, Queen of Gold, Wolf Gold, and Panther Queen.
Gold Train is a 3x3, 3 line slot with wild symbols and a progressive bonus game that lets players collect "Upgrade" tickets to add more prizes in the feature game.
8 Dragons is a 3×5, 20 lines video slot with stacked wild multipliers and free spins with up to 30x multipliers including the doubler Dragons. The game is red and gold and has nice animations.
Table games include Roulette Crystal and baccarat. Their Jacks or Better video poker has a 9/6 paytable and the expected 800:1 payoff for Royal Flush when betting all coins. The Pragmatic Play roulette game is okay. It is single zero and claims a "Default RTP" of 97.50% which could just be poorly chosen wording. There is also a keno game and what appears to be a fixed odds game called Go! Monkey™ that features an animation of baby monkeys racing up ropes (choose the winner for up to 1000x bet) and offers a baccarat side bet mini-game.
Most major portals still do not recommend Pragmatic Play software due to the lack of transparency involved in the company's creation and procurement of TopGame assets. It simply doesn't make sense to buy something with such a negative perceived value and poor reputation attached to it and expect to turn that around - unless it is a shell game of sorts or a rebranding ruse. We'll have to leave those conclusions to our readers. Perhaps it is lipstick on a pig, perhaps not. The UKGC and GLI have signed off on Pragmatic Play, there are no known complaints of questionable game results since at least 2015, and the provider has taken its place and now seems to stand shoulder to shoulder with highly respectable peers.
We would conclude that Pragmatic Play is a viable software solution today and that their future looks bright. We would simply caution that part of the decision as to whether or not to play their games should include the reputation of the casino offering them.
Pragmatic Play Ltd. History
According to Bloomberg Pragmatic Play Ltd. began as TopGame in 2007
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