As part of a “knock-out” partnership with the World Boxing Council, BGaming believes that its newest title – The WBC Ring of Riches – is combining the best of sports and slots to create “promising results and big wins”.
Speaking to CasinoBeats, BGaming founder Ivan Montik (pictured above) and Malte Mueller-Michaelis, member of the WBC board of governors and Women’s Championship chairman, discuss why boxing and gambling have always been closely connected, how WBC Ring of Riches is taking players on a unique journey through the boxing ring and why WBC made the decision to donate funds from the game to WBC Cares.
CasinoBeats: WBC Ring of Riches slot is the first branded slot by BGaming in association with such a reputable organisation as World Boxing Council. Who came up with the idea of the collaboration? Why did you find it promising?
IM: It started several years ago when SoftSwiss launched an online casino targeting martial arts amateurs. It turned into a successful brand and showed that gaming has a lot in common with sports and boxing in particular. Thanks to our partner Harald Pia, who introduced us to the representatives of the WBC, we discussed how we could possibly cooperate.
Besides being the most recognised and reputable boxing association in the world, WBC is well-known for supporting various programmes and foundations helping children in need worldwide. We found the idea cool and donated to WBC Cares, their charity platform. Mauricio Sulaimán, WBC president, invited me and Marina Ostrovtsova, head of BGaming, to visit the WBC 56th Convention in Kiev in October 2018. That’s where we first discussed the idea of launching a slot game together.
MM: Mauricio Sulaimán immediately loved the idea. Boxing and gambling have always been closely connected. Many big fights have taken place in casinos. Las Vegas is not only the capital of gambling but also the capital of boxing. So this cooperation definitely makes sense!
CasinoBeats: What opportunities did the project open for both BGaming and WBC?
IM: For BGaming, it was the first experience of cooperation with such a reputable brand and it was important in terms of enhancing our business image. It also opened the opportunity to reach a huge new audience – sport fans, to learn their preferences and see how we can create a top gaming experience for them.
It’s always exciting to explore new boundaries and see how many areas are out there where we can implement our expertise as premium-quality game developers. Besides, we are glad that the WBC part of revenue coming from the Ring of Riches is all donated to their charity foundation, so it’s an opportunity for BGaming to further develop our CSR programme.
For WBC, the collaboration with BGaming is an opportunity to get in connection with the igaming industry and enhance online presence. Thanks to the Ring of Riches, their brand will become more recognisable among the online audience. Our software engineers and designers made sure that the new slot with its outstanding graphics and top-notch features will contribute to the WBC reputation in the most positive way.
CasinoBeats: Boxing and gambling have a lot in common. Probably that’s why the game is an explosive mix of sports excitement and entertainment. Is this what you want to convey to the audience?
MM: Boxing is simply the greatest sport in the world. Some even say it is more than a sport. Boxing is life and life is boxing. As Joyce Carol Oates put it: “Life is a metaphor for boxing – for one of those bouts that go on and on, round following round, jabs, missed punches, clinches, nothing determined, again the bell and again and you and your opponent so evenly matched it’s impossible to see your opponent is you.”
Playing this game is like entering the ring, stepping through the ropes and standing in that spotlight. It takes the players on this unique journey. I am sure everybody who plays it will know and feel what I mean.
IM: It’s also about the chances to win big prizes and become part of the luxurious life. The opportunity of becoming a champion is out there for you, that’s what we wanted to convey to the audience.
CasinoBeats: What do you like most about the WBC Ring of Riches slot?
IM: I’m a passionate hobby boxer myself, so I really enjoy the realistic atmosphere of a boxing ring that it brings me into. It has all of the authentic elements, like the WBC belt, gloves, girls and golden cups. All the sounds are original and even Michael Buffer’s voice with his trademarked catchphrases and the recognisable announcing style is there. I hear “Let’s get ready to rumble!” and get the feeling of fighting myself. It really keeps me on the edge of my seat and I hope other players feel the same.
MM: I can also say that the slot is full of wonderful details. The whole team did a fantastic job and the result is spot on. The graphics, the sound, the look and feel, the character of the game. It’s just an amazing experience.
CasinoBeats: How was WBC involved in the development process?
IM: WBC provided all its assets, like the official images of the WBC belt and cup, as well as the original sounds. We also discussed which boxing champion’s image we should use as the main character. The choice of the legends was big: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko, or even Muhammad Ali.
However, we decided to unite all champions under one roof and created an image of a mysterious fighter whose face is hidden under the hood of a boxing robe. We agreed it would leave scope for imagination and let every player see their favourite boxing idol as the game protagonist.
MM: We were indeed in close touch to the developers throughout the process. The team was always thankful for our input and implemented all of our ideas. They did most of the work – and we were very impressed how fast and efficient they were throughout the process. Just great people to work with.
CasinoBeats: As we know, WBC aimes to donate the funds from the game to the WBC Cares organisation. Why did you make this decision? What areas of work do the project have?
MM: From the first moment we discussed this project we saw it as a way to support our charity initiative WBC Cares. The main goals of WBC Cares are to unite the world, inspire people and fight for freedom, peace and equality. This includes projects to prevent domestic violence and drug abuse, an anti-bullying campaign and events where our World Champions visit youth centers, schools, hospitals, orphanages and gyms or help with supplies in disaster areas.
As Ivan already mentioned, we presented WBC Cares to BGaming and they immediately made a donation to help us with our projects. We also have the José Sulaiman Boxers Fund which helps former athletes in desperate situations. Our slot is a good opportunity to bring attention to these initiatives and raise funds to help those who need it most.
CasinoBeats: The production of branded slots is a promising area of work for BGaming, isn’t it? What do you expect from this in the future?
IM: Branded slots are always good as they allow targeting specific audiences. It’s a matter of market research to define the areas or industries in which people are interested in gambling, on the one hand, and find brands that are willing to promote themselves in online casino games, on the other.
BGaming never stops researching new opportunities and looking for partnerships to create exciting content devoted to specific topics. I believe that’s a good start of a win-win relationship between BGaming and WBC, and we are open for new collaboration opportunities.
CasinoBeats: What would you like to say to players who choose the WBC Ring of Riches slot?
MM: I just hope that everybody who plays the game really enjoys it and sees all the effort we put in. Now I can say to players: “Seconds out – Round 1!”