London-listed technology supplier GameAccount Network has agreed a partnership with a consortium of Australian community gaming venues to launch its free-to-play Simulated Gaming product in the country for the first time.

The offering is expected to be rolled out in the first quarter of next year, subject to any relevant regulatory approvals, at which time the identity of the venues will be revealed.

It is designed to act as an alternative to unlicensed real-money gambling sites and will be offered across desktop ad mobile devices. The supplier noted that simulated gaming has proven to increase visitation to land-based venues in the US market and increase casinos’ appeal to younger patrons, and it will seek to replicate this in Australia.

The Simulated Gaming solution will be powered by GameAccount’s GameSTACK online gaming system and is capable of being upgraded to a real-money online gaming offering should the government pass the relevant legislation.

Land-based casinos and community gaming clubs in Australia generate annual revenue of approximately AUD$3bn, and GameAccount estimates that simulated gaming could generate more than $300m a year.

The company added that with online casino games currently prohibited in the country, Australian consumers were losing more than $1bn a year playing on offshore iGaming sites.

“Following on the success of Simulated Gaming in the United States we’re delighted to bring our unique Simulated Gaming experience to Australia working closely with an experienced management group from six major Australian community based clubs,” GameAccount chief executive Dermot Smurfit said.

“This Consortium of clubs has worked closely with its domestic regulators to ensure the Internet entertainment experience complies with State and Federal laws,” he continued. “Simulated Gaming has been proven to increase visitation to US casinos and we anticipate the same dynamic in Australia.

“This pioneering group of clubs will benefit from increased visitation from existing and new patrons and hope to reverse the migration of their patrons to offshore real money Internet gaming websites.”

Shares in GameAccount Network plc (Co. Data) (LSE:GAME) fell sharply early Monday morning, down 4.46 per cent at 75.00 pence per share, setting a new 52-week low.

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