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.

With summer well and truly in full swing, global fears of the potential return of restrictions, and even more severe lockdowns, were increasingly being voiced around the world.

In the gaming industry, Scientific Games continued to make progress on its igaming vision rolled-out months earlier, DraftKings and Betsson were busing buying while Caesars and Playtech sought sales.

Feature of the month

At the end of June, the spotlight on Canada became ever more intense following the lifting of the prohibition on single event sports betting – giving the country its very own PASPA moment. The amendment of the criminal code meant Canada’s provinces were free to create their own sports betting and igaming markets.

Whilst the model is likely to be different in each, just like the state-by-state one in the US, interested parties will not need to partner with a local casino or lottery, as is the case across the border. With the grey market currently estimated to be worth $1bn already, it is an intriguing prospect for operators and suppliers alike.

With this in mind, we spoke to Jeff Millar, Evolution’s commercial director of North America, and Peter Causley, founder and CEO of Lightning Box, to get the lowdown on what opportunities this presents.

In the news

After disclosing divestments earlier in the year, Scientific Games documented the acquisition of Sydney-based slots studio Lightning Box, as it looked to make further progress on a quest to become “the igaming industry leader”.

DraftKings entered into a definitive agreement that would see the group acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming in an all-stock transaction that has an implied equity value of approximately $1.56bn and which later faced an investigation.

Playtech also disclosed that it was to engage with Gopher Investments regarding the long-mooted sale of its Finalto financial service decision, after a prior resolution was voted down by shareholders. This came after a prior sale to consortium led by Barinboim Group was agreed.

In a busy month for M&A, Betsson inked an agreement to acquire the B2C online gambling business of Inkabet for $25m, with Metropolitan Gaming also confirming the completion of the purchase of European and African casino businesses from Caesars Entertainment.

Furthermore, Executives of bet365, Betsson, Entain, Kindred, and William Hill, united to outline a collective ambition of fostering a stronger culture of safer gambling across Europe’s online gambling sector.

August also saw William Hill express its disappointment regarding its flagship European online gambling subsidiary – Mr Green – after it was fined SEK 30 million (€3.1m) by Spelinspektionen.

Recommended reading

The month saw Bragg Gaming continue to elaborate on its US ambitions; PokerMatch detail innovations for the poker industry; and Aspire Global, Vivo Gaming, and Sportingtech discuss the benefits of integrating third-party suppliers and the challenges of doing so.

Elsewhere, In the concluding part of CasinoBeats’ look into the Future of Entertainment, the net was cast far and wide, observing players in multiple jurisdictions – such as the UK, Sweden and Germany – to see if tastes in certain games will change in the near future and asked if igaming is on course to butt heads with Silicon Valley. 

Joining the debate was Ivan Kravchuk, CEO at Evoplay, David Little, co-founder at Lightning Box, Nicola Longmuir, CCO at Push Gaming and Callum Sultana, PO at Relax Gaming. 

Video/s of the month 

Towards the end of the month the latest episode of SBC Leaders featured Sacha Dragic, founder and executive chair of Superbet, who detailed using acquisition as a means to grow and expand, how to spot the next tech innovations, and how gambling companies can change the perception of the industry.