Spider Man, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk are well known comic book heroes but they also appeal to adults as they have appeared in slot machine games in land based and in online casinos over the past few years. Now it seems that their connection with gambling is about to come to an end. Marvel Comics which developed these and many other characters such as the Avengers, X-Men and the Fantastic Four will not be renewing licences with gaming companies to use the characters for casino slot machine games.
The reason Marvel Comics is pulling back from the world of gambling is that in 2009 the parent company of Marvel Comics, Marvel Entertainment was bought out by Disney. Disney paid out over 4 billion dollars to take over Marvel. Given the Disney emphasis on family type entertainment it has decided that the link to gambling is to end and so any licences still running will not be renewed in the future. A spokesperson for Marvel Comics has said that for the past few years the company has not sought to sell or to extend any licences that connect its brand to gambling. These licences for the comic book characters were very lucrative for Marvel Comics and a large percentage of the company’s income came from licences issued to film and television companies, toy manufacturers, video game producers as well as slot machine developers. Several large software developers such as Playtech whose technology is used by many online casinos (such as Casino Tropez or William Hill Casino) have created extremely popular games based on the Marvel Comics’ characters.There is another side to the use of the Marvel Comics characters in land based and in online casinos and it is linked to the Disney company’s opposition to huge Las Vegas type casino resorts being built in Florida where Disney is a major employer. Disney says that it opposes developing casinos in Florida as the state tries to project an image of being friendly to families. This comes as legislators in the state are in the process of deciding whether large casino resorts should be allowed to be constructed in Florida. Several major casino operators such as the Las Vegas Sands are interested in developing casino complexes there.