April 21, 2010 (CAP Newswire)The online gambling industry was surprised this week when CryptoLogic released news that it had entered into legal action against Marvel Enterprises Inc. The two brands had enjoyed one of the iGaming industry’s longest running and most high profile relationships, going back to a 2005 deal in which CryptoLogic began developing online casino slot games centered around the comic book company’s popular superheroes.

WagerLogic, a wholly owned subsidiary for CryptoLogic, is claiming that Marvel breached that 2005 deal, in which WagerLogic was to be the “sole developer of Marvel-branded casino slot games on the Internet”.

The games resulting from that agreement have featured the wildly popular Marvel characters Spider-Man, Hulk, Blade, and the Fantastic Four, among others. All these characters have been the basis for recent Hollywood films that generally have also performed very well; the result is a branding dream for CryptoLogic and all the other online gambling sites that have signed deals with the company to bring these superhero games to their own websites. (That list includes some of the industry’s biggest names, such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, 888 and Paddy Power.)

What may be most surprising about these legal action is, although no new Marvel games were produced in 2009, last year the two companies did agree to extend their partnership until 2013. Could it have something to do with CryptoLogic’s deal with Marvel’s biggest competitor, DC Comics, which also transpired in 2009? Maybe Marvel’s 2009 deal with Playtech, a big competitor for CryptoLogic, was the instigator? Perhaps Marvel’s new ownership comes into play, as well? 

As of now, nobody really knows. Not many details have emerged (CryptoLogic reportedly attempted to solve the dispute without resorting to arbitration). It’s uncertain what will happen to CryptoLogic’s Marvel gaming franchise, which has produced some of the most popular online casino slot games in recent years.

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