A 16-episode saga of Russian businessmen Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov who built their own new Universe. The Universe of illegal online casinos, wild profits and law violations as a result. Laws of many counties were broken, but Ukrainian ones were disregarded the most.
EPISODE 1: GLOBO-TECH, GGS and LUCKY PARTNERS
The story begins in Moscow, in 2001, when 2 Russian businessmen Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev founded a company, called Globo-Tech.
The company started its business path with software development for casinos and slot machines. That was done in a very “creative” way, just by means of copying hundreds of game interfaces (e.g. those of Book of Ra, Lucky Lady’s Charm, Dolphin’s Pearl, Ironman, Hulk, Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst) developed by well-known industry leaders, like Novomatic, Playtech, NetEnt. But the company of Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev faced real success only in 2007, when Russian national government’s ban on casino gambling came into action. This made the whole gambling industry go online and it appeared to be extremely popular there.
Such an industry shake-up didn’t confuse the founders of Globo-Tech, Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov, at all, they even stepped up their previous activities. In addition to gambling content creation, they decided to become gambling operators of unlicensed games developed by Globo-Tech. Thus, online casinos Va-Bank, Vulkan Deluxe, BestVulkan, BestForPlay, Geiminator appeared. Moreover, Globo-Tech used names of previously popular offline casinos, like Vulkan, Admiral, Gaminator to brand its online slots, while none of right-holders received any commission payments.
The newly organized gambling operator was called GGS. All the online casino sites were operated by GGS Net Ltd, registered on Cyprus, and were united by affiliate program GGS Affiliates that was offering a decent payment to webmasters for site visitor traffic. The growing market allowed GGS of Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev to earn millions in profit and the company constantly widened its portfolio with new sites to satisfy the demand.
Eventually GGS’s portfolio was expanded with sites PokerDom, 24 Vulkan, Azart Club, Super Slots and the affiliate program received a new name, Lucky Partners, which is still operating illegal software to this day.
Gambling software developers, which have their products replicated by Lucky Partners, on gambling portal
The company founders, Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov, made another rebranding in 2011, when they relocated Lucky Labs’s headquarters to Kyiv. Since then the company has the name, Lucky Labs, and have been “lucky” enough to get a notorious reputation at once. For instance, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has searched offices of Lucky Labs multiple times. In turn, Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov fell under personal sanctions of Ukrainian President for illegal gambling operating and terrorist financing.
EPISODE 2: LUCKY PARTNERS
Today the affiliate program Lucky Partners has around 10 online casino brands that are operated with unlicensed Globo-Tech’s counterparts of games developed by Novomatic, NetEnt, Playtech and other industry leaders.
Lucky Partners used to have many more slots under its operation. But some of them were taken down, like BestForPlay, Geiminator-Slots, SlotoBar or Jackpot. Some were whitened with help of a new affiliate program PokerDom.
Lucky Partners’ ad posting with a list of its brands on webmaster forum MaulTalk that shows a historical link between Lucky Partners and GGS Affiliates
Here as follows is a brand portfolio of Lucky Partners’ affiliate program:
Up-to-date list of Lucky Partners’ brands
As many as four Vulkans, as well as the well-known Va-Bank are there in the list. Even more demonstrative is the specified return to player index of 93.25%, which is significantly lower than the 96-99% index of the official slots by NetEnt, Novomatic and others. This means that players have way less chance to win when rolling these slots, compared to the official ones. In fact, that is the whole secret that makes “Lucky Partners”, Rustam’s Gilfanov and Sergei’s Tokarev dirty business successful.
Since online casinos were banned in Russia, the country’s Regulatory Authorities blocks domains that host online casinos of such sort. However, Lucky Partners of Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov has found a way out. The company simply change the site names all the time. For ease of webmasters, they receive special codes that help find updated mirror-sites. Even the affiliate program site was moved from LuckyPartners.com to LuckyPartners.biz domain.
EPISODE 3: PLAYTECH
On April 1, 2017, one of the major gambling software and casino slot developer Playtech stopped its cooperation with the legendary American comic studio Marvel. And this led, consequently, to the removal of Marvel-themed slots by Playtech from all casinos. So, after April 1, Playtech no longer used Marvel’s content around superheroes such as Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers for its casino slots.
A news article on the cancellation of the agreement between Playtech and Marvel
Yet all these slots are still live on Lucky Partners sites. That is all because they were simply replicated from the gambling industry giant Playtech.
EPISODE 4: SLOT REPLICATIONS
All Lucky Partners’ sites use an unlicensed content, which is just a graphic replication of the officially registered slots. However, Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov use a way “greedy” algorithm that significantly reduces players’ chances to win. What is more is that there are no licenses for the sites as a whole. All the available information provided in the sites is fake.
When the site is officially registered (e.g. Maltese MGA) and has a license, there is always a link to license holder website. In such a way license authenticity can be easily checked. In case of Lucky Partners’ sites, the information about slot operator is disclosed using an image, not text, so search engines can neither index nor save it in cash history.
Upon the final stage of email registration on Vulkan Deluxe slots, one may also notice that GGS NET Ltd. is still mentioned as slot operator for the site:
EPISODE 5: VULKAN DELUXE
Vulkan Deluxe used to be well-known as BestVulkan. These slots remain at the forefront of brand portfolio of Lucky Partners’ affiliate program till now.
Main page of Vulkan Deluxe site
After a brief surfing on Vulkan Deluxe site, many slot replications can be found easily. For instance, Starburst, a hot hit by NetEnt, and Lucky Lady’s Charm, the most popular game by Novomatic, hold the first positions in Vulkan Deluxe slot list.
The screen shot above shows that Gonzo’s Quest slots (developed by NetEnt) is hosted not from the Net Entertainment server, but from one of Globo-Tech.
Many warnings on fraud activities of Vulkan Deluxe can be found on the internet. One is reported by a reputable website LatestCasinoBonuses.ru. The site claims that Vulkan Deluxe unlicensed content is developed by Globo-Tech and the slots are operated by GGS NET Ltd:
BestVulkan slots profile on LatestCasinoBonuses.ru
EPISODE 6: SUPERSLOTS
SuperSlots in brand portfolio of Lucky Partners
Replicated Book Of Ra slots on SuperSlots site
Replicated Starburst slots on SuperSlots site (screen shot shows that the game is hosted not from the original server)
EPISODE 7: VULKAN 24
Vulkan 24 is another Lucky Partners’ slots that exploit Vulkan brand and unlicensed software. Slot catalog on the site has even a special filter “sorted by developer”. This is quite demonstrative in terms of the scale of slots replication.
Replications of NetEnt’s slots on Vulkan 24 site
Replications of Playtech’s slots on Vulkan 24 site
For example, Playtech’s Iron Man 3 slots are there in the list. Hardly it can be found elsewhere, since Playtech is no longer in contractual agreements with Marvel, a right holder of Iron Man related content:
Screen shot shows that the game is hosted not from Playtech’s server
EPISODE 8: VA-BANK
Va-Bank is one of the oldest representatives of Lucky Partners. The casino site offers a wide range of unlicensed slots developed by NetEnt, Novomatic, Playtech and other suppliers.
EPISODE 9: VULKAN VELKAM
Velkam is another Vulcan-themed casino site with a wide catalog of replicated slots.
QuickSpin’s Big Bad Wolf slots on Velkam site. Slots are hosted from Globo-Tech’s server
EPISODE 10: AZART CLUB
EPISODE 11: POSHFRIENDS
Despite the extreme profits from “grey” products, Lucky Labs decided to whiten its reputation. For that purpose, Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev launched 2 online casinos based on legal software licensed by Curacao, which has no so trustworthy reputation by the way.
e online casino sites are Casino-X and Joycasino. The last, Joycasino, went viral owing to its intrusive ad campaign on online TV show cinemas with free access. In the beginning of each show, a pop-up video add bothered viewers with how to find a working mirror-site for Joycasino.
Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov even created a new affiliate program PoshFriends for these new brands. A few more products were added to PoshFriends eventually, as well as poker site PokerDom that shifted from Lucky Partners program.
Brand portfolio of PoshFriends affiliate program
Both sites Casino-X and Joycasino are operated by Darklace Ltd., registered on Cyprus. Pomadorro N.V. obtained the license for the sites.
Curacao license obtained by Pomadorro N.V.
Operating company information on Casino-X site
Operating company information on Joycasino site
EPISODE 12: POKERDOM SHIFT
PokerDom is one of poker sites in portfolio of Lacky Labs. For quite along time the site was affiliated by Lucky Partners program. However PokerDom was managed by the same gambling operator as of Casino-X и Joycasino, Darklace Ltd. This caused a wave of reasonable suspicion from the side of international partners of Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev. That is why PokerDom was shifted to PoshFriends affiliate program.
EPISODE 13: AFFILIATE PROGRAM FOR INTERNATIONAL FORUMS
Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev intended to split the activities of white sites united by PoshFriends and “gray” sites of Lucky Partners. However, it was a troublesome challenge to act as if two programs were managed by two separate teams.
A tricky situation for PoshFriends/LuckyParners customer support team – via GPWA
Here is another awkward situation, where GGS Affiliates representative is promoting Va-Bank casino on the popular site LatestCasinoBonuses:
The site administration didn’t realize at once the true nature of the visitor.
Almost the same scenario was played on GPWA forum, when GGS Affiliates bought a badge of a Gold sponsor:
EPISODE 14: LINKED BY BANKING OPERATIONS
Payments are another common aspect of Lucky Partners and PoshFriends, besides the information available on the internet and news mentions, that links the brands all together. The matter is that it is really hard to get bank requisites to process payments for sites without a license. So, all Lucky Labs’ sites use Pomadorro N.V. to collect payments. Some sites are still using GGS NET. Even a brief analysis of payments methods available on the sites is enough to state with confidence that money from both Lucky Partners and PoshFriends brands are flowing into one pocket, the pocket of Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev.
Webmoney payment form on Vulkan Velkam site (Lucky Partners) – the payment is to be done in favor of Pomadorro N.V. (geiminator-slots site is closed, but search engine cash have stocked a large number of information)
Webmoney payment form on Casino-X site (PoshFriends)
Webmoney payment form on JoyCasino site (PoshFriends)
Webmoney payment form on SuperSlots site (Lucky Partners)
Moneta.ru payment form on Vulkan Velkam site
Moneta.ru payment form on Casino-X site
Yandex Money payment form on SuperSlots site
Yandex Money payment form on Casino-X site
EPISODE 15: PLAYSON
In addition to whitening its casino operating business, Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev decided to clean up their software development direction as well. On top of hundreds of replications of popular games by other developers, the company also developed a dozen of in-house slots. Thus, Playson company was brought to life as if it were a newcomer to the gambling content development industry. While, in fact, core business activities of the company were all the same as of Lucky Labs.
Анонс “партнерства” Playson и Lucky Labs на сайте Casino News
Va-Bank casino using software by Globo-Tech – via LatestCasinoBonuses.ru
Despite everything, Russian businessmen, Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov, are still operating their company in Kyiv under the tag of Lucky Labs. Even investigations of local journalists who find regularly a lot of new controversial information about the illegal activities of the company neither frighten the founders Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov, nor catch enough attention from local authorities to intervene to the full extent.