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|Founder(s)||Dave McDowell and Kevin O'Neal|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Since its launch in 2002 it has become the world's largest skill gaming network, with over 2,000,000 players through the online gaming companies William Hill, Gala Coral Eurobet, Paddy Power and Sportingbet plc.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
The two founders, Dave McDowell and Kevin O'Neal set up the company in 2000 and began working on a multiplayer gaming platform. The company was folded into Cantor Fitzgerald in 2001 and then demerged from that same company in 2002. In October 2002 the independent UK private company GameAccount Global Limited (trading as GameAccount Network) commenced trading. Investment rounds in 2002, 2004, and 2006 brought in a variety of high profile investors such as the Smurfit family, who recently floated the Smurfit Kappa Group packaging multinational, Andrew Black, founder of Betfair, and Dermot Desmond founder of Betdaq.
The founders originally intended the company to monetize popular first person shooter (FPS) games but then settled on online sports games such as golf, pool and darts. Later additions to the early fun game portfolio were a scrabble type game, word-noodle, various solitaire games and blocs.
In 2005 one of the two founders, Kevin O'Neal, resigned as Chief Executive Officer and the company's direction changed in that games of pure 'skill' (such as pool or blocs) were replaced with games of skill and chance combined such as gin rummy and backgammon. These games proved more successful as, like the online poker phenomenon they appealed to both beginners and professional players. In addition, the company also adopted more of a business to business strategy than the traditional operator or business to consumer route. Major bookmakers were signed up such as William Hill, Sportingbet and Paddy Power on whose sites a new product 'tab' called 'skill' was offered under their branding.
The GameAccount financial transaction platform allowed bookmaker clients to use the same account for the skill games as for all of their sports, casino and poker products.
More bookmakers were added in 2007-8 including Gala Coral Group, Boylesports, Bluesquare and Stanjames.
In 2005, the company was awarded the industry's Award for Innovation for their Tournament Blackjack (person-to-person) game by egaming review.
In 2006 the second of the two founders, David McDowell, resigned as Chief Operating Officer but continued to serve on the Board of Directors through to 2012 as a non-executive director.
In 2007, GameAccount became one of the very first UK gaming operators and suppliers to be licensed by the new UK Gambling Commission and operates as a software supplier to the gambling industry under this licence. In the same year they also received an Associate certificate from the Alderney Gaming Commission. In April GameAccount launched its first Casino Table Games including Roulette and Blackjack.
In 2008, Nigel Payne, previously CEO of Sportingbet joined the GameAccount Network board as Chairman. The Company re-branded as GameAccount Network and moved to larger premises in the West End of London. GameAccount also launched the Italian Skill Games Network on 29 September 2008, with SNAI S.p.A. as its first licensee for regulated online Skill Games in the newly regulated Italian market.
In 2009, David Hudd re-joined the GameAccount Network board as Chairman replacing Nigel Payne who stepped down in September 2009. David Hudd is currently a director of several companies in the UK and the chairman of publicly listed Falkland Island Holdings Plc. On 23 November 2009 GameAccount Network launched tournament-based Skill Games for Lottomatica.
In 2010, GameAccount Network launched its first Italian cultural game Briscola and readied its 'true multiplayer' gaming platform for commercial launch offering true multiplayer cash games for Three Card Brag.
In May 2011, GameAccount Network won the Skill Games Supplier of the Year Award from eGaming Review Magazine.
In 2011, GameAccount Network launched the first in a series of online 'ports' or conversions of offline, land-based machine casino slot games manufactured by global casino slot game manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL). Aristocrat's USA subsidiary Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. subsequently partnered with GameAccount Network in order to offer an online platform solution to its 200+ land-based casinos in the USA in preparation for expected USA online gaming regulation. By year-end 2011 GameAccount Network had delivered several Aristocrat casino slot games into the online regulated market in Europe including 50 Lions, Queen of the Nile and More Chilli, playable for fun or for real money.
In 2012, GameAccount Network launched the "nLive" branded Internet Gaming solution in partnership with Aristocrat Technologies, Inc with the first website MyLiveOnlineCasino.com launching May 2012 in support of the Cordish Company's Maryland Live casino property in Arundel Mills which opened its doors in June 2012. The website offered Poker, Tables, Skill Games and Slots. In November 2012 Aristocrat Leisure Limited announced they acquired a version of the nLive software platform from GameAccount Network and in March 2013 MyLiveOnlineCasino.com was re-launched on Aristocrat's proprietary nLive platform offering Aristocrat slots and a selection of Table Games.
In September 2012, GameAccount Network delivered Scientific Games' first casino slot (Crown Jewels) online into Italy's regulated Internet gaming market followed by games from Aristocrat and IGT in early 2013 for major sports betting and gaming operators such as SNAI, Lottomatica and Eurobet Italia.
In 2013, GameAccount Network announced a partnership in the United States with Foxwoods Resort & Casino, North America's largest casino property, to bring virtual currency based Internet gaming to their already heavily trafficked website Foxwoods.com in advance of real money regulated Internet gaming.
In 2013, GameAccount announced the extension and expansion of their 2.5year-standing platform provision agreement with Rank Group Plc, one of the UK's largest land-based casino and bingo hall operators, to continue serving as their platform for Internet Gaming in Spain's newly regulated Internet gaming market (regulated June 2012) and expanding into the provision of casino slots (expected Q4 2013) and more table games and mobile gaming applications as well as Bingo and Poker. Rank Group Plc is one of Spain's largest Bingo hall operators with in excess of 2m customer visits, annually.
In October 2006, after the USA Government introduced the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 to prohibit online gaming in the USA, GameAccount Network closed all accounts opened by USA residents despite providing only games of pure skill for free in tournament formats.
In 2006 Gameaccount became embroiled in a bitter legal dispute with former business partner Cantor Fitzgerald. An agreement from 2002 prohibited Gameaccount from using software developed within Cantor for use with third party bookmakers. Gameaccount agreed to compensation for use of a golf game in conjunction with bookmakers and agreed to submit to damages. This, was, however, considered unsatisfactory to Cantor Fitzgerald who sued for copyright infringement for other parts of the system. The dispute was eventually settled in 2007 and in his judgement, Daniel Alexander found that a Cantor database that was still on the Gameaccount servers, though not used was still technically in breach of copyright. He noted that "Although it wasn't actually performing the function for which it was designed (i.e. as a full-function database), GA Money was stored, backed up, reproduced in part and regularly regularly accessed in order to perform the limited function for which Gameaccount used it between 2004, following its arrangements with UKBetting, and 2006. Much of this case revolved around various interpretations of the words 'use' and 'copy', especially in the context of databases. Effectively, the ruling suggests that to have a dormant database sitting on servers does still constitute usage and copying.
Acquisitions, partners, and brands
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
In addition to the gaming network supplying bookmakers, Gameaccount also operates a number of smaller consumer facing brands such as Casinorip.com and worldgammon.com. In 2004, the company acquired the URL and customer assets of treasuregames.com, and in 2008 the company acquired the same for a large backgammon site called gamesgrid.com. In 2010, the company acquired certain assets previously held by The Moneygaming Corporation Limited trading as MoneyGaming.com and relaunched MoneyGaming.com on 19 January 2010 as a member of the GameAccount Network. MoneyGaming.com is now the only business-to-consumer website operated by GameAccount, with GameAccount.com having been closed and redirected to MoneyGaming.com in January 2013.