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Pragmatic Play? Not Today, We Urge You to Stay Away!

Logo of Pragmatic Play

Every once in a while, a solid-seeming organization turns out to have been built upon a shaky foundation. We believe that we've identified such a rickety construction in the form of Pragmatic Play, a casino game supplier that's well-regarded in most industry circles. However, a dig beneath the surface reveals a history of buggy games and unanswered questions.

Pragmatic Play Has a Checkered History

Pragmatic Play Today

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Pragmatic Play is a vendor of online casino games, mostly slots and live dealer titles. The firm has been around since 2015, offering titles that are desktop- and mobile-compatible and available in dozens of languages. In the five short years since its appearance, this enterprise has certainly created an enviable name for itself.

Website of Pragmatic PlayHome Page of Pragmatic Play

On Pragmatic Play's corporate website, it boasts partnerships with some of the leading gaming firms on the planet, like PokerStars, PartyCasino, William Hill, and Vera & John. Moreover, it's licensed by a couple of the most respected bodies for internet casino regulation: The United Kingdom Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority.

Pragmatic Play has won tons of industry awards, including a 2018 Malta Gaming Award for Best Slot Game, a 2020 prize from the International Gaming Awards for best iGaming Software Supplier, and a 2018 EGR B2B award for Innovation in Slot Provision.

Wolf Gold SlotThe Award-Winning Wolf Gold Slot Machine by Pragmatic Play

With such a stable of recognizable names and awards attesting to its uprightness, Pragmatic Play appears on the surface to be an honest and forthright supplier of excellent casino software. However, diligent observers will note a few oddities when examining the history of the company.

The TopGame Connection

Business Chart

When Pragmatic Play came on the scene several years ago, it featured a game library containing titles from TopGame. This was a troubled operator that existed from 2007 to 2015, providing games to USA-friendly casinos while seeming to have a penchant for software glitches, financial improprieties, and deceptive practices.

Pragmatic Play claimed that it had merely purchased some of the assets of the defunct software house, but there are clues that imply a closer tie between the two corporations. A few well-respected affiliate websites believe that there is a very strong connection between Pragmatic Play and TopGame. You can read more about these allegations at Casinolistings.com, which has written a page about the relationship between these two entities.

Casinolistings.com Text About Pragmatic PlayCasinoListings Thinks TopGame and Pragmatic Play Are Related

Software Not All That Hot

Downward Slope

As a new enterprise in the casino gaming space, it kind of makes sense that Pragmatic Play would have wanted to acquire an existing library of slots rather than inventing the wheel from scratch. However, the choice to launch with titles developed by TopGame was questionable at best. You see, the casino games supplied by TopGame had a history of glitches, errors, and technical snafus.

This proposition had been amply demonstrated in June 2009 when several customers realized that certain wild symbols were not appearing on reels 1 and 5 in three games: Diablo 13, Wild Sevens, and Dougies Delights. These missing icons substantially reduced the return to player and made it impossible to win the jackpot.

Diablo 13 SlotCurrent Version of the Diablo 13 Slot
A Previous Version Had Broken Wild Symbols on Reels 1 + 5

After initially remaining silent on the matter, TopGame eventually announced that the error was fixed and had been the result of prematurely pushing testing code live. It's astounding that such a mistake could have been made by any gaming house and that it was left up to the players to inform TopGame of it.

The company agreed to pay compensation to the affected users. Yet, we have not been able to dig up any details of how the amount of this compensation was determined. In any case, it's probable that many customers who busted their account balances never knew about this glitch and thus had no clue that any funds had been reimbursed.

Incredibly, this was not the end of the matter. A month later, the following post appeared on the CasinoMeister forums:

Negative Forum Post About TopGame

That's right – after TopGame apologized and fixed the error, a similar snafu cropped up in another game. This shows that the developers didn't learn any lessons or improve their procedures to prevent similar mistakes from recurring in future.

Why Pragmatic Play would choose to utilize such poorly written gambling software in a multi-million dollar business is a mystery that remains to be solved.

Disappearing Jackpots at TopGame

Masked Criminal

After being in business for about eight years, TopGame collapsed under the weight of its own ineptitude. There's a lot more shady stuff that this group was up to that we don't have the space to elaborate on. But there's one more bit of malfeasance that we could not let pass unmentioned.

At the time of its closure, TopGame was responsible for several progressive jackpots, including three that totaled an incredible $6.4 million. All of this money had been contributed over the course of six years by customers, as tracked by CasinoListings, but not a cent of it was paid out.

Yes, in six years, the jackpots for Bingo Slot, Monster Madness, and Stars and Stripes had never been hit. This is suspicious in and of itself, but what really takes the cake is that none of this money was carried forward to the games sold to Pragmatic Play.

We suppose the team behind TopGame just kept this cash for their own purposes. If Pragmatic Play is truly unconnected with this company, then it makes sense that they would not have wanted to fork over seven figures to fund the jackpots, but this entire fiasco was a big disappointment for fans of the progressive games in question. We also take issue with any "reputable" company such as Pragmatic Play even entertaining the idea of purchasing existing games, loved by tens of thousands of users, and then effectively letting six and a half million dollars of jackpots vanish into thin air. The just and moral business approach would have been to ensure that the jackpots were transferred over to be distributed (assuming the software functioned as intended) to some lucky die-hard fans who continue to play those slots.

Rebadged Games an Unnecessary Risk

Given the troubled history of TopGame, we advise that you keep clear of any of its old titles that now inhabit the Pragmatic Play catalog (or anywhere else these buggy slots might turn up in the future). We have no doubt that many of them have been updated in the intervening years, but who knows whether or not the programmers were able to catch every mistake? It simply seems like a risk not worth taking.

The following are games that belonged to TopGame in the past and are now listed as part of the Pragmatic Play portfolio:

  • 7 Monkeys
  • Diamonds Are Forever
  • Dwarven Gold
  • Glorious Rome
  • Great Reef
  • Lady of the Moon
  • Sugar Rush
  • Tales of Egypt

Beware The Undersea Monster

Caution Sign

Additional research has informed us that TopGame, in a fit of last-minute procreation, spawned another devilish offspring. This Lovecraftian horror goes went by the name of Octopus Gaming, and we wouldn't be surprised if it had all eight of its grasping appendages nestled deep within the wallets of its customers.

Some of the old TopGame titles that were not carried over to Pragmatic Play were transferred instead to Octopus Gaming. Perhaps this leviathan expired and sank to the bottom of the sea because there doesn't appear to be any trace of the Octopus Gaming firm on the internet today although some of its games can still be found online.

Homepage of Octopus GamingDon't Let This Monster of the Deep Grab Ahold of You!
Those Dead Dudes in the Background? Former Customers

Exercise Discretion

Magnifying Glass

Needless to say, we advise our readers to keep well clear of both Pragmatic Play and Octopus Gaming slots since they are based on TopGame technology. Because most of the reputable online casinos that deal with these entities also provide games from more trustworthy houses, you can still satisfy your gaming urges without wasting time on the blemished slots distributed by these developers.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell who created a particular title, but you can pay attention to the loading screens. If you see a progress bar like either of the following, it's time to click the “x” in the top-right and find something else to play:

Progess BarsRUN If You See Either of These Loading Bars

As for casinos that rely exclusively or primarily on Pragmatic Play and Octopus Gaming, you ought to fend off their disgusting marketing advances if you value your bankroll. We can't give a complete list of these operations because they tend to be of limited lifespan and ever-changing nomenclature, but it's a good idea to avoid any gaming site run by Engage Entertainment Group or Celicorp Limited.

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