As a year in which normality has returned for many draws to a close, and increasingly fleeting glances begin to be taken towards what lies ahead, CasinoBeats is once again revisiting an unexpected 12 months full of ups, downs, and everything in between.
April saw several parts of the world begin to increasingly look forward to further loosing of long imposed COVID-19 restrictions, with England in particular seeing one aspect of the industry reopen as betting shops gained permission to resume action.
Mergers and acquisitions continued to form a key aspect of the gaming makeup, as Atari outlined its blockchain aspirations, Apple was hit with a casino-based class action lawsuit, and SG Digital looked to break the Megaways moud.
Feature of the month
The necessity of building and maintaining a strong network is a familiar construct among numerous industries, and is certainly one that is not lost in the gaming community.
However, among the multitude of strategies and expert tutorials on how best to achieve such a goal, is the question of: how much do you know you network? With this in mind, CasinoBeats takes a look under the hood, if you will, and has tasked the 100 Club in helping out.
First to step up to the plate was Glen Bullen, CCO of Digital Asset Management, who talked us through a coincidental entry into the industry, embracing challenges, and technological advancements.
In the news
First up for April was the news that Evolution was looking to add another significant member of the igaming establishment, with the company entering an agreement to purchase Big Time Gaming for a total consideration of up to €450m.
This came after it was found that Apple had been hit with a class action lawsuit in the US which alleged that the tech giant was breaking the anti-gambling laws of twenty-five states.
The lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs Joshua McDonald and Michael Helsel in the US District Court Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, claimed that the group had been profiting from illegal gambling games developed by DoubleU Games Co.
Over in Europe, and BOS, the Swedish trade association for online gambling, hit out at a further extension of the country’s temporary restrictions on the gaming industry until November 14, 2021.
The mandates, which came into play in July 2020 and had been consistently criticised by several throughout the industry, were initially slated to expire before the close of the year. A past extension, lasting until June 30, 2021, was branded troubling and illogical.
Caesars confirmed its long-awaited £2.9bn acquisition of William Hill, before confirming an intention to sell the non-US businesses currently owned by the group, including the UK and international online divisions and retail betting shops in a £2.2bn race that was eventually won by 888.
The UK also saw the Gambling Commission detail five core strategic objectives which it says will shape ongoing work during the coming years, those being protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling; a fairer market and more informed consumers; keeping crime out of gambling; optimising returns to good causes from the National Lottery; and improving gambling regulation.
Elsewhere, as Kindred documented a decrease in the share of revenue that the group derives from harmful gambling to 3.9 per cent through Q1, Atari announced a corporate restructuring alongside the creation of two new divisions which are targeted towards continued growth across the gaming and blockchain ecosystems.
As Perfect Potions Megaways made its global roll-out, SG Digital detailed an aim of breaking the norm of traditional titles which utilise the popular mechanic and that currently adorn many games lobbies.
“We’ve admired what some of the European studios have done in putting a twist on Megaways, such as Fantasma Games, who recently joined the OpenGaming network,” stated Rob Procter, content specialist director at the group.
“The developer has tinkered with the mechanic in unique ways and that inspired us to think outside the box as to what we could achieve.”
Furthermore, Michael Bauer, Greentube CFO and CGO, explained 2021 marked the start of a ‘new era’ for the supplier, discussing a business restructuring into three main verticals.
Videos of the month
Betsson CEO Jesper Svensson talked to SBC’s Kelly Kehn on the firm’s move into Latin America and the change in work culture that COVID has brought to the company.
Martin Lycka, Paul Buck, and Liv Biesemans, joined Rasmus Sojmark on the Double Espresso Show to examine the situation around responsible gambling.
Martyn Lycka, SVP of regulatory affairs and responsible gambling at Entain, was joined on the Safe Bet Show by Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow of responsible gambling at UNLV, to shine a light on the battle against problem gambling.