As 2020 draws to a close, hurrah! many may gleefully declare, CasinoBeats is revisiting an unexpected 12 months full of ups, downs, and everything in between.

As we drifted into one of those rare 29-day February’s, if you can cast your minds back to physical events, it was ICE London 2020 that dominated the month’s early going. Do you remember physical events? They were fun weren’t they.

It was Malta that captured much of CasinoBeats’ attention, with the ultimately doomed CasinoBeats Malta, which become of the many COVID impacted cancellations, unveiling a number of exciting additions.

Elsewhere, financial reports began to drift in from many corners of the world, as the US (there’s a theme here) retained its lofty position atop many an agenda.

Feature of the month

In a month which notoriously represents the industry’s start of events season, it a late afternoon conversation at ICE London which spawned the offering that we see presented here.

After hearing several stories, and watching numerous videos, of “the industry’s first ever role-playing game,” Evoplay Entertainment subsequently released Dungeon: Immortal Evil on the igaming market.

Embracing elements from a variety of sub-genres of gaming, the development studio was aiming to utilise the latest in 3D technology as it strived to trailblaze a new wave of online casino innovation.

“In an increasingly more crowded brand landscape, offering a new method of gameplay is essential to marketing towards the latest generation’s behavioural patterns. With seconds to capture their attention, operators need to go above and beyond ‘bet small and win big’ to meet the demand that the new generation of players desire,” noted Roman Sadovskyi, product owner at Evoplay Entertainment.

“Our idea in creating the industry’s first RPG slot was to merge the line between classic slots and immersive gaming – designed to offer our operator partners a completely new igaming experience for the latest generation of players while turning the approach to developing slots on its head.”

In the news

From casino sportsbook agreements, land-based performances, data breaches, and a UK penalty package, February saw interest across many branches of the online and land-based gaming industry.

The latter of those saw the UK Gambling Commission find failures in online gaming brand Mr Green’s procedures for preventing harm and money laundering, with a settlement of a £3m payment in lieu of a financial penalty, and Commission costs of £10,349.77, issued.

Elsewhere, Las Vegas headquartered casino operator Golden Entertainment notified customers, employees, and vendors of an incident involving unauthorised access to employee’ email accounts.

In a media statement the company reported: “Golden Entertainment’s investigation into an email phishing incident determined that an unauthorised individual obtained access to some employees’ email accounts.

“Golden Entertainment immediately took steps to secure the email accounts, launched an investigation, and a cybersecurity firm was engaged to assist.”

As Wynn Resorts reported that its Q4 2019 performance of its Encore Boston Harbor property offset decreases elsewhere in its portfolio, Amelco lauded the signing of a “key tribal casino deal” that held the potential for entry into 28 US states.

Recommended reading

CasinoBeats countrywatch: Spotlight on Romania

Representing the debut of a new series that cropped up on numerous occasions throughout the year, where we cast a spotlight on a number of up and coming regional markets, Romania gained the honour of being the first-up.

Phil Parry, CEO of Iforium, Claudia Melcaru, head of business development at BF Games and Andrei Andronic, general counsel at Playson, delved into the country’s appeal, what’s proving popular and improving regulation moving forward.

“Romania is a very exciting emerging market for us. We’ve been there since 2017 and hold a class 2 B2B licence. Growth has been fantastic, as well as providing a launchpad for our wider reach and presence in the central and eastern European region,” said Parry.

“Each of the CEE’s markets has different regulatory requirements, and the challenge for operators is to ensure they can be compliant in each jurisdiction they are active in, while offering games from the industry’s most popular content providers – which we do for them.”

Video of the month

SG Digital‘s Keith O’Loughlin introduced the company’s OpenMarket aggregation platform, which subsequently became OpenArena, and explained the benefits that it could bring for US operators.