GameAccount Network, the innovative London-listed online casino technology company saw its share price increase marginally this week on the announcement that the company had secured a significant patent. The announcement on Wednesday that the US Patent Office had approved its application for intellectual property rights connected to its iBridge Framework software will come as a welcome fillip to the company, which has seen its share price lose 41.99% over the past six months. The iBridge Framework facilitates the integration of points based loyalty programs between online and traditional land-based casinos.
The technology has been developed predominantly with the US market in mind, where new regulations are opening up the previously restricted online casino industry to US citizens. One of the key aspects to the regulatory relaxation over the Atlantic is that online casinos must be run in partnership with land-based casinos operating in the State whose residents the online casino is available to. A fundamental reason for the land-online connection was the fear that experienced European and Asian online casino groups would dominate a completely free US market at the expense of local casino groups who don’t have the same nous in the online market. Necessitating that online casinos available on US territory are partly owned by local land based casino operators protects tax revenue and against repatriation of profits by foreign companies.
The new US market is a prime target for the majority of the online casino industry with the big international operators scrambling to strike deals with local partners. Technology companies are also looking for a piece of the pie and GameAccount appear confident that the patent ruling significantly strengthens its position in the US market. iBridge, the company says, will insure that an ‘internet gaming experience is converged with land-based casino gaming’.
CEO Dermot Smurfit, said: “Developing sustainable competitive advantage in the US through intellectual property protection represents delivery of one of our objectives set at the time of our IPO.”
The company’s research shows that in excess of 50m US casino customers hold at least one loyalty scheme card that allows points to be redeemed in casinos. iBridge will facilitate land based casinos to increase customer flow and loyalty between new online offerings and their existing traditional casino properties. It might be expected that much like between airlines different casino groups will group together in networks sharing loyalty scheme networks.