We’re not really used to seeing online slots make much news outside of, well, the world of online casinos. Sure, there might be debate over online gambling in general or whether slot machines are too addictive, but you’ll rarely see a controversy brew over any one slot machine in particular. But sure enough, Playtech managed to make waves by releasing a new slot machine called Lakshmi Gold – one that many people have found offensive.
Lakshmi Gold is a five-reel, 25-payline video slot machine that was recently released to some Playtech-powered casino sites. The game – which was designed to offer enough betting options to appeal to both casual players and high rollers – uses a number of Hindu symbols during the game. Most notably, the deity Ganesh is used as the jackpot symbol, while another deity, Lakshmi, is the bonus symbol, and is featured prominently in the resulting free spins game.
It should come as no surprise that at least some Hindu leaders and worshippers did not find these symbols to be appropriate for an online slot machine.
Rajan Zed, the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, released a statement that blasted the Lakshmi Gold slot machine. In the statement, Zed made it clear that he – and presumably, most Hindus – believed that these and other Hindu deities “were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for promote gambling on an online slot for [the] mercantile greed of an online gaming company.”
However, Zed cautioned that the problem here went far beyond Hinduism. While it was pointed out that Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion – with about one billion followers – he also said that gambling companies should be careful not to mishandle symbols of any faith, no matter how large or small, as the result can be extremely upsetting to devotees.
The two deities depicted in the game each have prominent places in Hinduism. Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune and beauty, and is also known as the “world-mother.” Lord Ganesh is known as the god of wisdom, and is said to be the remover of obstacles.
One of the inevitable issues with such a slot machine is that even if the machine attempts to be faithful to the faith it is based on – as this one does at times, including a hymn to Lakshmi during the free spins bonus round – the very fact that it is a gambling machine may be enough to offend. In addition, promotions for the machine can also prove offense, such as promotions for Lakshmi Gold that have referred to the beliefs of Hinduism as “mythology” or made other insensitive statements about the practices and beliefs of the religion.
In his statement, Zed asked for Playtech to apologize for the machine, and to recall it from their affiliated casino sites. However, it appears that Playtech has not yet responded to the statement, and the machine still appears in Playtech casinos. If you’d like to see the machine for yourself and decide whether it should remain active for yourself, you may want to do so quickly, before Playtech potentially decides to remove it from circulation.