In recent years fans of online casinos will be aware of the proliferation of Marvel superhero-themed video slot games. The company has had a franchise tie-up with casino software developer Microgaming for some time now and most new Marvel movies have been quickly followed by both computer game interpretations and themed slots. The action theme of superheroes lends itself perfectly to gaming but at least in the case of Marvel superheroes, themed video slots look like becoming a thing of the past, at least in the USA.
A spokeswoman for Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009, recently informed the New York Times that in line with the corporation’s ‘family friendly’ culture all franchise licenses connected to gambling would not be renewed on expiry, which for the vast majority will be in the next couple of years. The official statement read:
“Marvel discontinued plans to initiate or renew slot machine licensing arrangements as part of its integration with Disney. The handful of remaining licence agreements have expiration dates within the next few years.”
However, Disney will not be able to prevent gambling companies from continuing to offer existing games so it will take quite a number of years for the Marvel brands to disappear from slot machines in both traditional and online casinos to disappear altogether. This will only happen when the technology of present games becomes dated enough that these games are no longer attractive to players. The company has also been a very public lobbyist against the growth of casinos being integrated into resorts in its heartland of Florida. The likes of Las Vegas Sands Corporation have struck back by suggesting that this stance in the interests of a continued ‘family’ appeal for Florida is less to do with values and more about fearing the competition that other resorts provide.
Film companies cashing in on their franchise rights by selling them on to gambling companies has been causing a fair bit of controversy recently. The estate of the late J.R.R Tolkien also recently sued Warner Bros, which created the films based on the author’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fantasy books, over their sale of rights to casino gaming companies to create franchised slot machines. They argue that associating the author’s work with gambling activity both insults his work and was not within the terms of the agreement. Warner Bros has counter sued.