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16 June 2010

Richard Branson: Virgin Gaming - The World Is Not Enough, by Greg Tingle - 16th June 2010

Richard Branson, the world's most famous celebrity businessman and social and community entrepreneur, keeps powering along with the official launch of his Virgin Gaming at E3 Expo is Los Angeles overnight. Is there no stopping this man and his Virgin powerhouse? Media Man and Gambling911 investigate the way Sir Branson has smartly put life in the online gaming sector with Virgin Gaming, adding to his already impressive Virgin empire...

Richard Branson, publicity stunt, media and lifestyle king, who jumped and only just survived 407 feet from the top of the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas circa 2007 to promote Virgin domestic flight service in the U.S., took a virtual leap back into videogames, adding to his 200 plus companies, including Virgin Casino.

The strategic move is tipped to also help Branson offer an online casino product to the United States and Australia, when the time is right. Branson's spy crew have been keeping a tab of PartyGaming's PartyCasino and World Poker Tour brands, including their penetration into Australia, as well as Google's successful worldwide splash of Google Pac-Man, the arcade classic.

Branson announced a joint venture with WorldGaming.com, a medium size Canadian start-up, to launch Virgin Gaming, a service that lets gamers battle for cold, hard cash. We reckon he's likely to pick up a few poker players and casino punters, who consider themselves more skillful than the average bear..er Wolverine - Wolf Runner. Due to its potential tie in with gambling, such wagering is only permitted in 39 U.S states, including California. Ah, politics and relationships matter, especially in show business and government legal eagle matters, and gaming and gambling is one of the hottest political subjects on a global scale as we go to press.

Schwarzenegger, the 38th Governor of California, also features in the Terminator online slot game, exclusive to PartyGaming's PartyCasino.com, and Arnie mate, Sly Stallone, features in the Rambo online slot, again exclusive to PartyGaming.

Branson has been publicly spotted with Arnie, so could this be a sign that before long Arnie and Sly themed games will also be found at Virgin Gaming? Stranger things have happened. Don't forget, the Stan Lee connection - Marvel Entertainment themed games are found at Virgin Casino these days also. We're learned Tomb Raider (Angelina Jolie) and Cleopatra is also on the radar. Aussie babe Elle MacPherson (former friend with benifits...we think) of Branson chum, Damian Aspinall (UK casino tycoon), is looking for some fun and games with Branson based on her media comments and teasers of late. Elle aka 'The Body' has noted the success of Angelia in the gaming and super hero - ine sector.

As champion of the Virgin Group, Branson The Billionaire, knows how to create positive buzz and stand out from the pack.

When he bungie jumped off the Palms Casino, only just surviving, tossed out free tickets to fly Virgin. At a presser held on the eve (pun intended for Mrs Eve Branson) of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo aka E3, the man proclaimed that Virgin Gaming would give away $1 million bucks in cash, in addition to other prizes over the year.

This is Branson's second entry into video games. His firms Virgin Interactive arm published console and computer games from '81 to '98 before selling the biz to Electronic Arts.

"Virgin loves to jump in where there is a gap in the market," Branson said. "As a brand, we're one of the most respected. ... Obviously, gaming is one of the most important for this generation."

Branson jokingly and perhaps covering his ass noted, "I lost both my children for three to four years to gaming."

Team Branson are understood to have done the homework on World Gaming - Virgin Gaming, and experts believe that Branson will make money with this venture, and have quite a bit of fun in the process.

Gaming Or Gambling Explained And Other Legal Stuff...

The company is converting the WorldGaming.com. site, which has 30,000 members, to the Virgin Gaming site. Virgin has also taken into account financial responsibility for gamers. Virgin Gaming has in fact imposed several financial safeguards. While the maximum bet is $1,000, participants, who must be 18, are limited to adding $500 to their account every seven days. A company spokesman said participants who consistently lose large sums will be contacted "to discuss a restructuring of their account".

To help ensure that players are evenly matched at Virgin Gaming, skills are judged after several opening matches. Players also report on their opponents’ abilities and decorum.

People who are active on the site also win points redeemable in the Virgin online store for Virgin America airline tickets and console accessories. "One day we may offer a trip on Virgin Galactic," the company’s space flight venture, said Billy Levy, Virgin Gaming’s president.

Business Development And Counter Attack To PartyGaming, Sega And Google Et Al?...

A media man spokesperson pointed out "Branson's Virgin Gaming achieved a number of things. Fills the gap in the gaming market, gets massive media attention an puts focus on games of skill, away from the more controversial Virgin Casino - Virgin Games, which is gambling, other than the poker product. The move will also put pressure on states and countries in regard to internet censorship and game classification. Branson carries massive political and financial clout and switched on politicians and law makers would do well to play ball with Team Branson we think. Publishing and internet entrepreneurs are hopeful that there will be some b2b and / or online affiliate program opportunities with Virgin Gaming, as there are with Virgin Games. This move should counter some of the success of operators such as PartyGaming and PKR, who are starting to make more noise re 2D and 3D gaming. The product may also fit in with Virgin's plans to be more pro active in the motion picture industry, as teased with Stan Lee and Marvel Comics a couple of years ago. Plans, trains, automobiles, spaceships and now gaming. What an impressive business model".

Media Man is yet to determine what all of this means for existing Virgin Games affiliates, or the AWOMO brand for that matter. Insiders get the vibe that World Gaming took the place of AWOMO, but that is yet to be discovered.

Branson's Virgin may have a few other big plans in the wind for down under in Australia, given his relationship with Crown Casino - City Of Dreams - Burswood casino king James Packer. Packer also have a relationship with Aspinall going back decades... ah, what a small world, one that RB keeps shrinking with his games, planes and spaceships.

Websites Of Reference

Virgin

VirginGaming.com

AWOMO.com

Party,

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming including sports betting is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover. They also publish Virtual Worlds Media http://www.virtualworldsmedia.net

*The writer owns shares in Virgin

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