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.

As the European Championship engulfed a continent, the return of in-person industry events loomed just around the corner with the CasinoBeats Summit primed to hit Malta in mid-July.

However, one month earlier saw significant news unveiled by Scientific Games, with further headlines coming out of the UK, Malta and the United States.

Feature of the month

Scroll through the homepage of any online casino and you are invariably met with games produced by the industry’s biggest developers. While operators rightly place their faith in trusted providers, it provides limited opportunities for those up and coming studios that are aiming to make a name for themselves.

In this roundtable, CasinoBeats quizzed Marcus Honney, Avatar UX managing director; Lloyd Purser, FunFair COO; and Bryan Upton, Lucksome director; on the challenges they face in making their games noticed and how they have been looking to cut through the noise. 

In the news

Scientific Games revealed its intention to divest both its lottery and sports betting businesses as it looked to “target investments towards the largest growth opportunities”. 

It was added that once the divestments were complete, the group would consist of its gaming, igaming and SciPlay businesses.

Bragg Gaming also continued to execute on its US gaming aspirations after announcing a deal to acquire Las Vegas-based Wild Streak Gaming for $30m.

The purchase of the content creation studio, which had a portfolio of 39 slot titles supported across online and land-based applications, followed last month’s deal to acquire Spin Games in a $30m cash and stock transaction.

During June it was also revealed that, as of October 1, 2021, all business verticals within the UK gambling sector would experience an increase in licence fee costs. 

Towards the end of the month, Malta was placed on a greylist of the Financial Action Task Force, joining 19 other countries considered financially untrustworthy and classed as having ‘strategic deficiencies’ by the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing organisation.

Furthermore, as EveryMatrix introduced its maiden igaming development investment in Armadillo Studios, Resorts World Las Vegas held the “first ground-up resort built on the Las Vegas strip in over a decade,” and Hard Rock secured a five-year worldwide brand ambassador contract with Lionel Messi.

Recommended reading

Anticipation was high at the start of June as SG Digital prepared to launch Invaders Megaways, the studio’s flagship release of 2021 and one which it promised would be an action-packed adventure slot like no other. 

Ahead of the official launch, we spoke to the company to gain a sneak preview of the eagerly anticipated sci-fi themed game, and why it could be the benchmark for future slot releases from the group.

Elsewhere, Yolo Investments elaborated on its operations, creating synergies and spotting the right type of gaming start-up, while the Netherlands became a central focus for Greentube, with the company confident a strong land-based presence would stand it in good stead.

Videos of the month 

With Canada a key talking point through the year, an expert panel gathered to look at what the implications are for the industry?  Likely timeframes? And if igaming will finally find a place in the product offerings?

Episode 3 of Martin Lycka’s Safebet Show saw Judge Cheryl Moss of the State of Nevada District Court and the Gambling Treatment Diversion Court offer insights in her career, how she got into law, the accelerated path she took to becoming a judge and how she ended up in Las Vegas.