The repeal of PASPA has seen a huge increase in the number of European sportsbook suppliers offering their wares to American operators looking to take advantage of new online opportunities.
What has been less prominent in the headlines has been the development of the country’s online casino industry, and the suppliers making waves there too. And they’re not all European. Sydney-based Lightning Box have been actively involved in the US land-based and social casino scene for years now, but has recently made a successful transition to online RMG.
CasinoBeats caught up with co-founder and CPO David Little to discuss the Australian company’s unsung success story and how the market is shaping up state-side.
CasinoBeats: You have a long association with the United States, could you fill us in on the background?
David Little: Lightning Box has been active in the US. since our inception in 2004. My co-founder Peter Causley and I know the land-based market very well from our days at Aristocrat and IGT.
Our experiences encouraged us to start developing our own games for those players, and we have enjoyed a productive collaboration with land-based companies like IGT in our early years, and then Incredible Technologies and Everi more recently.
“A mixture of the old and new is always important”
From there, it was a hop, skip, and a jump to social casino. We cemented our position in that sector with a deal with Penn Interactive last year and we also work with High5, who are genuine pioneers in the social space. Online RMG is a natural progression too, particularly after our success in Europe, and puts us on another level as one of the few truly omni-channel suppliers in the US.
CB: Your games have been live in New Jersey since the turn of the year. How have the first six months gone in that market from your perspective?
DL: Very well, I’m pleased to say. We had existing old flash games in the market since NJ opened via Amaya. Our launch of new games was an extension of our existing deal with SG Digital. Their reach got us in front of lots of players early on and they enjoy our games.
Some of our hits, including Chilli Gold, Astro Cat and Panda Pow have gone down particularly well in New Jersey online casinos including Golden Nugget, Borgata, Caesars, Betfair, Mohegan Sun, Resorts Casino and SugarHouse. Part of the reason for that, I’m sure, is their existing success in land based. Players are familiar with the games and are happy to try them now they’re online.
I think that trust is something to bear in mind for operators looking to put together a portfolio. A mixture of the old and new is always important, but you can’t beat content that has proven itself time and time again.
You’ll find our US land-based games not only in Atlantic City, but Nevada, California and other native and commercial casinos across the USA as well. To date we have 13 games live in New Jersey with more to come over the next six months.
“One of the exciting areas of potential is tribal”
CB: Where next for the market in general and Lightning Box in particular?
DL: New states are either taking the plunge or looking to do so shortly, so I’m sure there will be obvious opportunities coming our way in the coming months. But for me, one of the exciting areas of potential is tribal.
In many states the tribes have been running successful land-based operations for years now. Like the rest of us, however, they are susceptible to both the economy and changing consumer habits. Many have ageing player bases whom they need to replace. With younger generations embracing new technologies it makes sense for them to do so too.
They have a great opportunity with in-venue WiFi or on the reservations to embrace online gaming. Lotteries are in a similar position. We recently did a deal to supply Lotto Quebec with our games over the border in Canada.
Their southern cousins could attract new audiences by doing something similar. When that casino content has already been validated in land-based and social, as Lightning Box’s has, they could earn themselves a very quick win.