National Geographic no longer partnered with Murka on Slots on Tour. National Geographic will not be associated with the current game or any changes to the current game going forward – said in the updated version of the game NatGeo Wild Slots on March 31, 2018.
The Nat Geo brand has disappeared from the name of the companies’ joint product- slots of the “social casino” for smartphones Nat Geo Wild Slots. Now the game is called Slots on Tour.
The official reasons for the companies’ relations break are not reported, but presumably, the conflict arose in connection with the threat for National Geographic’s reputation from cooperation with Murka and Nat Geo’s unwillingness to promote gambling.
The owner of the company Murka is a Ukrainian businessman living in the US, Max Polyakov. The possible reason for end of cooperation with National Geographic is his reputation. In 2012, Max Polyakov provoked a scandal in media and collapsed shares of his own company Cupid plc, squeezed his partner scotsman Bill Dobbie out of business and resold assets at a discounted price. Cupid plc went offshore, the holding company was renamed to Together Networks. Subsequently it turned out that the final owner was Polyakov.
In autumn 2017, Polyakov again became a main figure of a major scandal in media. Ukrainian journalists found out that Max Polyakov’s significant part of his income comes from illegal business in Ukraine. Among other things, journalists attribute Polyakov to a network of Ukrainian porn studios in which girls provided sexual services to foreigners in online chats. The chats were also serviced by companies associated with Polyakov. As a result of searches of cyberpolice, in April another porn studio in Ukraine was closed off, it is reported about its connection with Max Polyakov.
Another business of Polyakov and his partner Maxim Krippa, according to l’Européenne de Bruxelles, are the online casino Vulkan, which illegally function in the ex-USSR countries, Europe and the US, despite legislative prohibitions on gambling and domain blocking. There was an opinion that Murka, the developer of gambling-like games, is just a legal cover, which allows attracting more users to gambling, also developed by Polyakov’s companies.
In this regard, the decision of National Geographic to terminate the connection with Murka is quite logical.
It should be reminded that Nat Geo and Murka’s cooperation was reported on July 16, 2017. The campaign was widely covered in media from both sides:
«National Geographic has partnered with Murka to engage audiences on environmental issues with mobile applications. This is the first project of its kind introducing National Geographic-themed content into the social casino genre», – said in an official press release of National Geographic.
The first version of the Nat Geo Wild Slots application appeared on the AppStore on August 30.