Review of Pragmatic Play casino software
Pragmatic Play develops a series of slots and table games that are deployed to online casino operators throughout the world. The games are pretty diverse in terms of options available, and include mobile and live dealer platforms to offer a variety of gaming options. Those looking to play mobile games can do so through their smartphone or tablet browser, as no app downloads are required to get in on the action. However after you read what we have uncovered about this company, you would have to be bonkers to risk your money with their products.
Bugs, slow payments, and rogue behaviour
Back in 2009, flagship TopGame licensee Rome Casino was busted running several "buggy" slots that did not include wild symbols on the first and/or fifth reels in games such as Diablo 13, Wild Sevens, and Dougies Delights. This made it impossible for players to win the major jackpot on each game as they required a payline of five wilds to win. It also significantly lowered the payout rates of the games when you consider all the other winning combinations that would no longer be completed by the missing wild symbols.
TopGame claimed that it was merely a "bug" caused by the propagation of testing configurations into live games. To its credit it made restitution to affected players. However the wider community was left to wonder how on earth such a "bug" could possibly get into a production gaming system. There is no plausible reason that could explain why they would be testing their games with such a configuration. Even if you take that ridiculous explanation at face value, the fact that such a so-called "bug" was allowed to go live demonstrates a failure in the company's testing processes, not to mention an extreme lack of professionalism.
On the other hand you might be more inclined to believe that something far more nefarious was behind the introduction of this "bug" into their production gaming system. Whatever way you look at it, it once again highlights the lack of consumer protection when online casinos and their operators are set up in unregulated and unaccountable jurisdictions.
Aside from that extremely dubious incident we have received many complaints from players about being slow paid, or not paid at all, by many TopGame white label casinos over the years. Many of these casinos continue to operate today as multi-provider casinos that include games from Pragmatic Play and Betsoft, another awful provider that we have blacklisted. Interestingly the old TopGame games can still be found under the name "Octopus Gaming" for players in the United States at all of these casinos. The recurring scenario seems to be that its licensees are either inexperienced affiliate operators who are either unable to maintain an adequate cashflow to pay their obligations in a timely manner, or crooks that are simply unwilling to pay winners. For example, see Royal Kings and Rich Casino.
There have also been public spats and involvement in tit-for-tat DDoS attacks between TopGame and its competition, and even its own white label licensees at various times. Or the dubious story of the man we dubbed the world's luckiest punter who supposedly won the same gold bar at every single different TopGame casino. All of said casinos later transformed over night into multi-platform Pragmatic Play / Octopus Gaming / Betsoft casinos, with the story of the gold bar winner remaining until we published our exposé.
Disappearing progressive jackpot funds
TopGame casinos offered three major seven figure progressive jackpots that were funded by player contributions. Due to the tiny monthly payment limits and awful reputation of most TopGame licensees we recommended that people not play them. However we did monitor their jackpots with our jackpot tracking service for more than five years and during that time none of them were ever won, a fact that may raise eyebrows.
These games did not make the transition to Pragmatic Play or Octopus Gaming and we have never heard a satisfactory explanation of what happened to the accumulated player contributions, which totalled more than $6.4 million at the time of the disappearance. They certainly were not refunded to players or transferred to any new games run by Pragmatic Play. All we can surmise is that the owner(s) of TopGame pocketed the money. The same person(s) are now in charge of Pragmatic Play, as detailed below.
Connection to TopGame
Pragmatic Play has engaged in considerable effort to conceal their connection to TopGame. It has gone so far as to threaten forum and website operators with legal action for stating this assertion. In some cases they have demanded forum owners publish statements contradicting any assertions made by commenters on their sites that the two companies were related, as well as having posts that mention this association removed from the internet. We know this because they tried it on us and, as you can probably tell by now if you have read this far, failed. Casino Listings is not as easily intimidated as other prominent websites that on the one hand claim to be servants of the player community, but on the other meekly caved in to Pragmatic Play at the first sign of a legally baseless threat. In the interests of transparency we offer proof that supports what we are saying here.
Both organisations were and, as far as we know, still are owned by the same person: David Barzilay. Pragmatic Play was supposedly founded in 2015 and, along with associated companies Dalberry Technologies and Pragmatic Solutions, subsequently acquired by a company known as IBID Group over the course of 2016 and 2017. You used to be able to scroll down to the "key people" section of IBID Group's website and find David Barzilay listed as the founder and managing partner. We posted a screenshot here in case that name ever disappeared, which of course it did after we published this information.
Someone has done a sterling job of removing from the internet many of the traces of Mr Barzilay's name in connection with TopGame. Search for him in connection with the company and you will find a bunch of nonsensical articles and fake charity websites published with his name on them, full of relevant keywords and intentional misspellings of his name, in what is undoubtedly an attempt at what is termed "reputation management." This is a process engaged by people who want to bury things they can't have deleted and that they don't want found under a deluge of other nonsense that fills many pages of the search engines. The end result is that the real stuff is only found many pages of results down where no-one bothers to look. Thankfully for us, hiding stuff from the internet is a bit of a Sisyphean task, as once you publish something on the internet it really is out there forever. So here you go: several pieces of proof that David Barzilay was formerly running TopGame.
That alone is fairly damning but, to be fair, it is not conclusive. As Pragmatic Play was supposed to be founded in 2015, and presumably Barzilay was not the legal owner at the time, one could by incredibly naive and suggest that the situation is entirely coincidental and that he bought Pragmatic Play later in an entirely unrelated transaction. On the other hand one could also theorise that this was a deliberate action to legally disassociate his name from the company in order to make it easier to gain approval in regulated markets, but that is purely conjecture on our part. Nevertheless, there is ample other evidence out there suggesting the two companies are inextricably linked.
There is Yair Hamami, a senior TopGame executive and associate of Barzilay, who apparently walked into a job at Pragmatic Play immediately after his employment for a TopGame related company ended. Here is a screenshot of his LinkedIn profile from September 2017 that suggests continuity between the two companies in 2014, a year before Pragmatic Play was supposedly founded.
The so called "Paradise Papers" leak of offshore company structures from 2017 contains a lot of information that is very relevant to the online casino industry. One thing we found that was particularly interesting is that, aside from showing Yair Hamami is a director and legal representative of Pragmatic Play, one of the listed shareholders of Pragmatic Play Ltd is a company named TG Solutions Ltd.
We have also found employees of Pragmatic Play that claim on social media that they have been in their current jobs since 2013. Let us remind you that Pragmatic Play was supposedly founded in 2015. We have found other similar examples.
In addition we have been told "off the record" by management at a couple of casinos that they have dealt with the same people at both companies for the entire time. Therefore our conclusion, which is supported by the evidence presented, is that it is the same management in charge, running a company with a different name and employing many of the same people. It is likely to be an attempt to bury their history of dubious conduct and legitimise themselves for regulated markets. And in a sad indictment of the due diligence processes of regulators such as the UKGC and Malta Gaming Authority, it seems to have worked just fine.
Octopus Gaming and IGTech spin-off companies
At some point after forming Pragmatic Play, its owners decided to split their game collection up with all newly developed games continuing to be published under the new brand. All of its old TopGame games were rebranded under the name of Octopus Gaming, and were made available to players in restricted markets such as the United States.
In more recent times, another supplier named IGTech (confusingly similar but unrelated to well known brands IGT and GTech) began publishing games that were in most respects identical to Pragmatic Play in terms of graphics and sounds, with slightly different names. Once again games from this supplier are only available to players in grey markets such as Australia. Let's play spot the difference between Wolf Gold from Pragmatic Play and Wolf Treasure from IGTech:
It is abundantly clear what is going on here. Pragmatic Play is the "legitimised" arm of the business that publishes games for consumption in regulated markets. Octopus Gaming and IGTech are spin-offs created in order to continue profiting from grey and unregulated markets. We recommend that you avoid games from all of these related companies.
Casinos offering Pragmatic Play software
A major concern with Pragmatic Play are the many horrible white label casinos that run their software under the operating company names of Engage Entertainment Group or Celicorp Limited. Many of these casinos are out and out rogues that consistently delay or refuse to pay winners, and have been blacklisted on this site for several years. However in more recent times it appears that the company has signed distribution agreements with game aggregators that have seen their games appear on multi-provider casinos, some of which are well regarded. Even so, we strongly recommend that you do not play games released by Pragmatic Play, no matter which casino you find them at.
Pragmatic Play is a gaming software developer with massive question marks against its claim that it is unrelated to its poorly regarded predecessor TopGame. In fact it is fair to say that we have demolished that piece of legal pantomime on this page. Its games are notorious for being offered by some of the shadiest and least professionally run online casinos. While there are a few otherwise good casinos that offer their games these days, particularly multi-platform casinos that aggregate games from many providers, caution is the better part of valour when it comes to this company. All in all, there is far too much smoke for there not to be a fire. Our advice is to avoid their games altogether, whether they be branded Pragmatic Play, Octopus Gaming, or IGTech, and especially steer clear of Engage Entertainment Group or Celicorp Limited casinos that run exclusively on their platform.
Nice to meet you! 🙂 I have to say I've grown to like Pragmatic Play games over the past year.
Hello there! I'm working with Pragmatic Play and very happy to join the forum here and listen to any queries from the community 🙂 Please feel free to contact me directly and I'll do my best to help
Representative of Pragmatic Play
Older Pragmatic games were terrible. But in recently years they did a big move forward. Now they have nice looking slots and i already have many of mega wins won. A slot i always play is Wild Spells.
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Black Diamond and Spartan Slots invent excuses to avoid paying their players. I don't play at these two casinos because they have done that to me. I only played once at Box24. Knowing afterwards that it is related to the other two. I stay away.
Great post!, I was always curious about the Jackpot scenario!?!, and after reading glad
I never came close no matter what. I do want to add, that when I was a top game site and
was betting as high as 125.00$, which in itself is would make anyone go bonkers and say
huh..I actually did do great at one point and tried to cash out with the amount of a little
over 10,000.00 US Dollars, only for them to slow stall me, and require non stop info, and then
end up Blocking me and saying they were looking out for the others and Security!?! LOL
Yeah right!!!,im afraid if anyone goes to this gaming site they will fall for a big Scam and all
the attempts in the process!?, which is very sad and depressing...Just gotta dust yourself off
and look to a better option and know in the end, it was to good to be true, even when you
did deposit hard earning money into those sites...