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New Slots

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While every player has their favourite slots game, games that have gained a well-deserved place in the pantheon of slots royalty - like Starburst, Cleopatra II, Thunderstruck II, Immortal Romance or Gonzo’s Quest - variety is the spice of life and there can be no doubt that everyone loves the opportunity to try something new and engage with novelty that new slots games offer.

Recent years have seen online casinos expanding their portfolios in a shift from operators running on a single casino software platform to operator offering an array of software providers with hundreds of games available in the one place.

This has blown the market wide open, allowing scores of new smaller companies, who perhaps don’t have the portfolio to offer a complete casino suite, to gain traction providing additional games as part of a package of softwares bought in by casino operators. This increase competition on the markets has fostered creativity and ingenuity as software providers strive to create new slots games providing users with an experience that they haven’t seen before.

Established industry leaders like NetEnt and Microgaming lead the pack, constantly pushing forward with new and creative slot bonus features. Net Entertainment in particular have really set a high bar in terms of innovation with bonus features and game structures from the old staple of free spins and pick and click bonus features. NetEnt’s creative approach had challenged other providers to match them in terms of player driven games intended to keep you engaged and entertained.

This is a challenge that has been gratefully accepted by many up and coming firms. Yggdrasil Gaming have really stepped up to the play with their Vikings series (most recently Vikings go to Hell) offering a spectacular visual feast while the bonus features draw the user in as you progress towards triggering the bonus feature. Releases from this provider are continuing to improve and we’ve little doubt that players will be excited to see what they’ve got in store.

Play N Go are another top slots game production house release games with superb graphics and a intuitive user interface. Their bonus features are getting consistently better and the slot RTP figures are certainly in the competitive zone.

WMS Gaming have redefined slots games by allowing players to buy multiple spins at once. When you buy groups of spins at higher stakes you get improved chances of triggering bonus feature and a increased RTP figure (meaning the game costs less to play in the long run).

There’s plenty new to see in the online slots sector, so keep an eye this section to find out about the latest releases!

The Best African Animal Themed Slots

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In a week that sees both World Elephant Day and World Lion day fall within just 48 hours of each other, we are asking who is the king of real king of the savanna and, more importantly (for us anyway), who is the king of the reels?

Lions are often dubbed the king of the beasts and for good reason. Other than an insane croc or elephant the lion has no natural predator. They are in charge of the land that they live on, they don’t migrate, instead they settle in one area and make it their home. Anything that moves through is fair game for a lion snack.

What makes lions that little bit different from most other cats is their living arrangements. They are the only wild cats to live in groups, something that has undoubtably led to much of their success. Lions clearly discovered a long time ago that as insufferable as other cats can be you often get more done when there’s a few more of them around.

The bad news, news that Elephants are more than used to, is that the number of lions living in the wild is on the decline. There has been a 30% drop in the number of lions across the globe over the last 20 years. This is in part due to hunting for both sport and for farming. A combination of loss of habitat and farmers shooting lions to protect livestock has meant that the numbers of lions has dropped steadily over the last two decades.

Most lions live in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. The only exception to this are a few living in the Gir Forest of India, a far cry from where we used to be, with lions found across the Middle East, much of India, and southern Europe. Nowadays lions are extinct from 26 countries that they used to inhabit and their range has decreased more than 80 percent.

Lions can live for up to 12 years in the wild, they can grow up to 8 feet in length and a pride can hold as many as 40 different lions. The women do almost all of the hunting and there really isn’t much that is off the menu. They can reach speeds of up to 30 miles an hour and jump 12 feet into the air.

All of that is worthy of the title King of the Beasts but how does it stack up against the might of an elephant?

The largest land animal on earth might not have the same fearsome reputation as a lion but a beast that size is not to be trifled with. A fully grown adult elephant is only a dinner option for a lion if all the other options have been exhausted and even then the chances of success are slim.

If you thought that lion numbers were something to worry about then I am sure you’ll know that things are far worse for the elephant. Again, over the last 20 years there has been a decline in numbers from over 1 million African elephants to under half a million. In this case the animals are not hunted to protect livestock or to clear land but strip them of their ivory for sale on the black market.

Interestingly, there is a movement taking place in Canada right now looking to ban the sale of ivory in the country. You can learn more about the movement by following this hashtag on Twitter, #IvoryFreeCanada.

Like lions, elephants also move in groups and are fiercely defensive of their young, who are often the target for a lion snack. Protective elephant mothers are arguably more of a risk for tourists on safari than lions are. A Land Rover full of wealthy tourists is likely to prove too much hassle for a hungry lion but for an irate elephant mum there is literally no target too big or inconvenient to face their irrational ire.

African elephants can live for 80 years, they can reach well over 3 meters in height and can weight up to 7 tons. Despite their enormous size they can move at half the speed of a lion and they live in herds of up to 100, making them big in every sense of the word.

So who is the king? Which animal should we consider the best of all the land animals? One is big, one is an apex predator, one can move at 30mph, whilst one has the same expected lifespan as a human being. Honestly, in the wild there is no genuine answer to the question, but in the world we exist in everything can be measured in some way and that way for us will be a battle of the slot games.

I have gone through all the slot games in our back catalogue that have either lions or elephants in them. I have also found quite a few that have both (unfortunately for the sake of this particular contest I will need to exclude those games but I will mention them at the end of the article). I will take the best five elephant slots and the best five lion slots and have them battle it out, head to head. I will be using the original scores that each game has been given and essentially adding the lot of them together, whilst also pointing out the finer points that each slot has to offer.

Unlike most of the lists we compile this one will have slots on it that scored less that the usual 7 out of 10 but I can still promise that there will be some excellent games on here too. By the end of the article we will add up all the scores and crown the new king of the savanna. The plan is to look at 5 lion games and then 5 elephant games and at the end form conclusions about both with an overall rating for both as well.

Lions

Reel Talent

This is a slightly unorthodox way to begin as “Reel Talent” has nothing to do with lions living in Africa. “Reel Talent” is a slot based around a talent show, in which the contestants are all animals. The lion in question is a rather intense looking singer, finding himself up against a rabbit magician, a fire breathing crocodile and a guitar playing wolf. The lion is the most valuable symbol on the reels, which you would have to guess in world where this talent show was real means he would have won. Microgaming have worked hard on the aesthetics, creating a game that lives up it the glitz and glamour that the theme needs from it. You get wilds, you get a bonus round and we gave the slot a reasonable 6 out of 10 when it was released at the end of last year.

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Jumanji

First off, I am surprised there are no elephants in this game and I am equally surprised that there are actually lions. If you don’t believe me go check it out. Net Entertainment like a slot with some big branding potential and I don’t believe that they come much bigger than Jumanji. This slot was released last year and was clearly intended to be one of the company’s big hitters for 2018. However, you could argue that they relied on aesthetics and branding more than gameplay and there are few features for our lions to sink their teeth into. However, the house edge is decent and the Free Spins are good enough for the slot to walk away with an impressive 8 out of 10.

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5 Lions Gold

5 Lions Gold takes our lions to the Orient where they are given the regal treatment. 5 Lions Gold is a fairly typical slot from Pragmatic Play, who have a history of releasing Oriental themed slots. They also have a history of releasing slots that look fantastic. Bright colours are a big deal in a Pragmatic Play slot and this one is no exception. The other thing they make a big deal of is their features and again, there is no let down here. You get a Bonus, Wilds, Free Spins and a Random feature. Our only concern with this game was the relatively high house edge which meant that this 2019 slot hit its ceiling at 7 out of 10.

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The King

One of the big advantages that lions have over elephants in this contest is that lions are a big deal in royal circles. Quite often you will find lions on slots that nothing to do with lions and this is one such example. The King is one of Endorphina’s best releases but in all honesty the lions in question are of the metal variety. However, I am still going to give them a pass here and add an Endorphina game to a list for just about the first time ever. You get Free Spins and Re-spins and Wilds with multipliers. The game looks good and offers some value for money, hence the score of 7 out of 10. As a side note, I almost confused this game with iSoftBet’s “The King” but released mid review that it has elephant symbols in it.

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Safari Sam

What is there not to love about Safari Sam? This slot is possibly the oldest one on our list and is the perfect example of what BetSoft do best. And if you are wondering what that is exactly then I am more than happy to explain. BetSoft do fun. They do cartoon style slots with fun characters that you can’t help but smile at when you see them. They are also pretty good with their features. Despite being a fair age now, Safari Sam still holds its own and is still feature heavy enough to take on plenty of the new upstarts. We scored this slot an unbelievable 10 out of 10 when it was released, which is going to go a long way towards giving lions a huge head start.

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Conclusions on Lion Themed Slots

First of all there are lots of lion themed slots out there, but if I am being honest the standard isn’t too high. Most of the slots I found for this list don’t score above 6 out 10 and I think that is partly because developers don’t know what to do with them to create something fun and original. However, I don’t see this being all that different when I take a look at elephant themed slots.

Elephants

King Tusk

King Tusk is all about the mighty elephant. The name really does say it all here as literally no other animal gets a look in when it comes to the pay table. This Microgaming slot is all elephant. As for the aesthetic, you will have seen better looking games. As for the features, you will have played more exiting games. As for the house edge, you will have played slots that are offering better value for money. This slot might not be setting the world on fire but it is solid in all of the categories that we look for evaluation in. A 6 out of 10 to get our ball rolling but more will be needed if elephants are going to take the slot crown.

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Wild Orient

One of the key differences between lions and elephants in the real world is that you will find elephants in more places that lions. However, unless I am sorely mistaken I do not think that you find wild elephants in much of the orient, which given the trade of ivory in China is hardly surprising. However, for the purpose of this article that particular semantic does not matter all that much. What matters with this Microgaming slot is the house edge that is on offer. At just over 2.5%, you are going to struggle to find a slot out there offering better value for money than this one. It might not look the best, might not have the best features, it might not even be geographically accurate but what this slot is, is excellent value for money and for that reason alone we scored this an impressive 8 out of 10.

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Mighty Africa

It is hard to believe that there are no lions in this Playson slot but feel free to go through it with a fine toothcomb because I already have and can not find a single one anywhere. This is another solid, yet arguably uninspiring slot. It looks the part and it has a few features but neither of those two are anything other than average. I like the Free Spins and the split Wilds within them and I also like the number of paylines that are available. The house edge could be lower and as such this is another underwhelming 6 out of 10 for the elephant.

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Jumbo Stampede

Jumbo Stampede is an iSoftBet release from this year and it does its very best to live up to its name sake. There are 6 reels and they are 4 symbols high, increasing the size of the reels and the number of winways. There are a few features but nothing too mind blowing. You have Free Spins and Wilds. The Free Spins can be retriggered and some of the winway restrictions disappear when you trigger that feature. Other than that, there isn’t a huge amount left to comment on. The house edge is a little higher than we would want to see, but generally appears to be in keeping with most other iSoftBet games. Again, we’re in the 6 out of 10 area, with elephants slowly but surely losing the fight to be king of beasts.

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Stampede

The second BetSoft game on our list is ultimately inconsequential because even a 10 out of 10 here would fail to see elephants cross the line in front of lions now. The fight may have been lost but we still have a slot to mention. The slot looks quite good but in all honesty it lacks any of the character that Safari Sam had and it is not offering good value for money either. Another 6 out 10 resigns the elephant to sizeable defeat in our search for the king of the slots.

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Conclusions on Elephant Themed Slots

If I am being brutally honest there are no good elephant themed slot games. There are lots of OK ones and one OK one with an excellent house edge. Other than that I am failing to see anything here to get excited about. There is “Hot Safari”, a game that includes the best of both lions and elephants but even that only got an 8 out of 10. With all that taken into account there is little doubt in my mind that there is a mighty elephant sized hole in the slot market.

Overall Conclusions

What I’ve learned when writing this article is that something as real as wild animals is a difficult theme to turn into an exciting slot experience. Neither the lion or the elephant games are particularly inspiring and I think that is because without committing to a cartoon style the theme is just too real. That said, a stunning game with good features and a low house edge can be achieved with theme, so why not these ones?

Classic Slots

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There are some online slot games that will forever be seen as classics by players. They are not always the games that critics (like us) think are the most impressive. They are the games that players vote for with their fingers. The games that get disproportionately high volumes of spins. The games that players come back to again and again and again.

Every software provider knows which games fall into these categories, many will try to copy the themes and styles of the most popular games offered by their competition, and gambling forums are full of players talking about wins on these big hitters of the slots world.

These games stand the test of time, appealing to something in the playing community that is hard to place a finger on, but once tapped into demands loyalty from slots lovers everywhere.

Take NetEnt’s Starburst. Deconstructed, this game would not appear to offer anything all that spectacular. But the game sums to far more than its parts. Something about the aesthetic combined with that spacy soundtrack, the ratio and size of wins and the free spins with expanding wild symbols has made this easily one of the most popular slots games of all time.

If creating a classic slot game was easy, everyone would be doing it. The combination however, is intangible. Hard to define and harder to recreate. Game after game has been put out by competing providers trying to capture that x-factor that Starburst captured, but all have fallen well short of their goal. Even Net Entertainment have not managed to re-create this success.

And NetEnt are far from alone in this experience. Look to Microgaming’s Immortal Romance and Thunderstruck II. Both games that could be considered old by current market standard, yet both games that consistently rank highly on many operators lists of ‘most played games’.

Whatever it is that lodges these games so firmly in the consciousness of slots players everywhere, these games have reached heady heights with their appeal and longevity amongst players.

Casino Complaints

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Here at ThePOGG, the busiest section of our site is definitely the casino complaints section. We deal with a large number of player complaints and the number of complaints being submitted to our mediation service is growing all the time. We believe that every player has a right to fair treatment and that casino support staff have the right to work in an abuse free environment – a rule that we enforce on our site too.

We have a vast amount of experience dealing with complaints management arising from a variety of the areas associated with online casinos. Casino bonuses generate a fair number of complaints at this portal – often such complaints arise as a result of player mistakenly not completing wagering requirements associated with the bonus, or breaches of the maximum bet term stipulated for a particular bonus. Reading bonus terms and conditions is of paramount importance when accepting a bonus.

Casino software also gives rise to a number of complaints for a variety of reasons ranging from genuine glitches to provably unfair games. Our complaints manager’s background in mathematics and statistics means a unique skillset is at our disposal in-house when we are investigating such issues: a definite advantage to our users.

More and more complaints are arising as a result of responsible gambling issues but luckily gambling regulators are becoming more and more adept at supporting players with problem gambling habits and at ThePOGG we have developed our own tool to support such players in the form of our app,BetBlocker, which allows users to restrict their device from accessing thousands of gambling websites quickly and easily.

Generally, operators holding licenses with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA) are of good standing and we work closely with these casino regulators to provide a fair and robust complaints management service. We have previously served as an ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) for the UKGC which allows us a unique insight into how this regulator works and we still enjoy a close working relationship with this organization which we believe uniquely benefits our customers.

We strive to resolve every complaint that is logged at our site and players can rest assured that we will thoroughly investigate any issues brought to our attention. To date we have managed to negotiate the return of over two million dollars to players that have logged complaints with us over the course of managing over 2k complaints.