It is summer time and people are traveling away to foreign lands for holidays. There are several online video slot games that are based on the holiday theme. The similarity between these games is such that players often tend to mix them up. But this will not happen with the holiday themed slot game from the leading online casino software provider Top Game. The game is appropriately titled Voyager’s Quest. It does have similarities with other slots of this genre but it is the uniqueness that counts in the end.
There are two types of symbols generally used in holiday themed slot games. One type is popular tourist landmarks and the other is the means of travel used in holidays. Top Game Voyager’s Quest uses both these types of symbols. The higher paying symbols are the tourist landmarks, which are the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben of London and Eiffel Tower of Paris. The lower paying symbols are air balloon, steam engine, ocean liner, stage coach and car, which cover both early and modern means of travel. What makes these symbols unique is the caricatured way they are crafted. This along with the bright colors and lively background music will put the player in the perfect mood for the holiday. And the operating buttons of the Top Game Voyager’s Quest slot game are depicted as items of baggage all packed up and ready to go.
As is the practice with Top Game online video slots there are three special symbols in Voyager’s Quest. The airplane is the wild symbol and it also offers the highest jackpot line payout of 9,000 coins. When it assists in making a winning combination it flies around a globe. The open suitcase filled with gold coins is the scatter symbol. When this symbol appears at the same time on reels 1 and 5 players are awarded five spree spins. The compass is the bonus symbol.
What sets Top Game Voyager’s Quest apart from the other slot games of this genre is the bonus game on the second screen. The bonus game is triggered when the compass symbol appears simultaneously on reels 2, 3 and 4 of an active payline. The objective of the bonus game is to reach the ship by using the car, train, boat and plane on different legs of the journey before it embarks from the port. There is a maximum of 3,600 points up for grabs in this bonus game.
The bonus game is a visual delight. The first leg of the journey shows a number of roads from the home to the station and the player has to choose one. The car moves along the chosen road and as it reaches the station it discloses the credits awarded. The second leg of the journey shows a number of rail tracks from the station to the water ways. Similarly there are a number of water ways and finally a number of flight paths. Each choice sets off the animated journey and awards bonus credits. There are booby traps on the way. If a player chooses a wrong path on any leg he will crash out and miss the ship, but will keep the bonus points accumulated till then.
There has been a lot of action in the field of online gambling legislation and the enforcement thereof in the United States in 2011. The swings in the hopes and expectations have been volatile and the year end is a good time to take stock of things.
The event with the greatest impact was Black Friday. On Friday April 14 the Department of Justice (DoJ) acted against three of the biggest online poker sites in the United States. These were Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker. The bank accounts and American domain names of these poker sites were seized making it impossible for American players to access them. The owners of these sites were charged with financial irregularities, mainly processing funds for online gambling by giving wrong declarations to banks so as to avoid detection under the UIGEA.
It was known since some time in 2010 that the authorities were keeping a tab on these online poker rooms and preparing a dossier on them, but yet the online poker fraternity was caught by surprise when this happened. As is usual in these circumstances, conspiracy theories began to do the rounds. The big land casino operators had begun to realize that they needed to go online in order to survive. However because of the massive brand equity of these three online poker rooms they would not get much of market share in a legalized online poker environment. Also it was claimed that those who were currently operating “illegally”, while the others followed the law and stayed away from online gambling, had no place in a legalized regime. However, this could have been achieved by simply refusing to license existing players and therefore the conspiracy theory did not get much support.
But the fact remains that even after Black Friday the big online and land based gambling operators began to execute strategies that indicated their belief that legalization of online gambling was around the corner. These strategies mainly revolved around acquisitions, mergers and partnerships made to strengthen brand equity and capabilities in a legalized and regulated online gambling regime. Though fresh attempts were made to bring in legislation allowing online gambling, they were not pursued with vigor.
Then another announcement was made by the DoJ, again on a Friday. But this one, issued on December 23, was seen in the nature of a Christmas present. The DoJ reinterpreted the Wire Act as applying only to sports betting and not to other forms of online gambling. Even though the Black Friday cases were not under the Wire Act several earlier high profile prosecutions had been made under the Wire Act. The DoJ also averred that individual states could take a call on the legalization of all forms of online gambling except sports betting. The DoJ statement was silent on the current legality of online gambling at the federal level.
The question is whether this announcement is a first step in the direction of a federal legal structure to regulate online gambling or is it an expression of the intent of the authorities that each state should have its own regulatory mechanism. Given the nature of Internet gambling both operators and players would prefer federal regulation where a player from New Jersey can wager at a site hosted in Nevada. But many states have also made significant progress in passing legislation on intrastate gambling and this statement from the DoJ will definitely give them a boost.