Online gaming white labeling solution
St Minver is a provider of white labeling gambling solutions to almost 100 organisations in the UK and Europe including household names such as Sky, Virgin, Butlins, Daily Mail, Littlewoods and Yahoo. The company is part of the GTech Group of companies who are owned by Lottomatica who operate the Italian national lottery. The gaming systems run out of Gibraltar though the company has offices in the UK.
Back in 2005 we were approached by St Minver to provide a solution by which they could manage their portfolio of sites. At that time they were creating sites ‘by hand’ which then had to be integrated into the gaming products running out of Gibraltar by developers based in India. This process presented them with three problems that they needed to solve:
- Even though each client’s site had similar structure, it took them an extended amount of time to create each site;
- The content of each site was embedded in the web pages, meaning HTML developers had to make any content changes which inevitably led to problems with the site operation; and
- There was no way of co-ordinating changes across a number of sites. If a promotion was required on all the sites within the network then the pages for every site had to be changed by hand.
St Minver were already aware of our expertise in content management and approached us as to create a solution which would allow them to quickly deploy new partner sites under the control of a single content management system. Our solution was made up of a number of components:
Site creation wizard
The wizard operates in a similar way to the charting wizard in Microsoft Excel. It walks a user through the steps they have to go through to create a new client in the system. It asks:
- For client specific assets such as names and logos as well as the URL of the final web site;
- Which games the client requires from a collection including bingo, casino and poker.
- Some simple colouring rules for some of the web site.
From this information, it then creates a set of sections in the CMS and a set of templates for the web site. Where appropriate the content in the CMS is shared among clients or separated. For example, on the ‘About us’ page a unique article is created for the client and a shared article about St Minver is linked in. The templates are then available for more customisation by HTML developers.
Content management system
The Wide Area CMS provides a number of facilities which have been of particular use to St Minver. Firstly, individual articles and complete sections can be placed in a number of different locations within a web site but also across multiple sites. Secondly, content can be embargoed to go live or to be removed from the live site at some point in the future. Thirdly, the CMS supports multiple character sets and has been used with English, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Dutch and Swedish. Lastly the system can allow different users access to different collections of content with suitably controlled approval mechanism. For example a client can be given access to content on their site but be prevented from making that content live.
Web site template system
All content in the CMS can be accessed using front end HTML templates. These templates can be created and edited by front end web developers in familiar tools such as DreamWeaver by embedding simple instructions in their documents. As such, programmers are not required to create content driven web sites. In the case of St Minver, the front end web sites are created by two HTML designers.
A unique requirement from St Minver was that the template system should not run on the live gaming servers. As such the web sites are ‘flattened’ to plain HTML before being sent live. This does sacrifice some functionality – such as search and ‘comment on’ – but simplifies the integrity and security of their gaming platforms.
These are both built out of our HTML templates and access content in the CMS. As you can see, the sites have similar structures but different appearances – this appearance being simply implemented in the template system.
This project illustrates how we have implemented a bespoke solution, based on the core features of our CMS and our unique templating system.