An “invaluable long-term asset” in driving exclusive provisions in the US has been heavily praised by Raph Di Guisto, SVP of Silverback Gaming at GAN, who has been speaking to CasinoBeats regarding last month’s transaction.

This saw GAN detail the acquisition of online casino games developer Silverback Gaming on undisclosed terms, with Guisto keen to give the lowdown on what opportunities the transaction presents for the parent company.

In regards to entering new jurisdictions, he revealed Silverback’s excitement to bring “new online experiences for players in real money gaming” via GAN’s platform and super RGS distribution channels in the US igaming market – currently New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan – as well as in the regulated Italian igaming market. 

Furthermore, Guisto adds that the company is looking forward to expanding to other potential US states in line with GAN’s gaming strategy as they regulate igaming going forward. 

Pinpointing regions including Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington, the Silverback SVP noted: “We also plan to release our games via virtual simulated gaming across the US landscape via GAN’s existing virtual simulated gaming distribution channels.

“Our partnership with a premier B2B partner like GAN and the ability to leverage their proven technological platform and distribution network presents an incredible opportunity to scale our portfolio into the US market. 

“In addition, marrying our resources and teams of engineers will expedite our ability to bring new and exciting games to players over the coming years.”

Elaborating on the challenges facing igaming studios with a desire to grow in order to better compete with the larger studios within the space, Guisto highlighted the costs of state by state licensing in the US, creating a higher barrier to entry which “can be a major challenge for startup studios”.

“Most igaming startups we talk to are interested in the US market, but leave it as a distant future plan to be engineered once they’ve made their mark on other existing igaming markets which are easier to enter,” he explained. 

“The US is also very different legally in terms of IP and patent infringement law. Hence the need for strong US legal expertise which can be challenging for younger studios who might not have the resources to tackle such issues.”

Delving deeper into how these challenges impact game design and the need to potentially create titles that differ from what is already out there amongst the ‘never ending’ wave of games, Guisto revealed how, from a compliance perspective, the US is “a bit stricter than other regulated markets” when it comes to game features. 

“Hence in order to make sure our game portfolio can be certified in all existing states, we have to look carefully at the list of features which can or can’t be certified in all target states.” 

Providing, as an example, the popularity of persistent features across paid spins in European regulated markets, he remarked: “Traditionally, US states have not allowed for games with such features to be certified, but the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has just announced that they will start looking at such games on a case by case basis. 

“We are following these developments very carefully, as we want to offer our players the best available features as well as reach the largest possible audience for our games.”

Concluding on the major hopes and expectations Silverback has for the year ahead, Guisto noted: “To put it simply: we are hiring! We’re ‘putting the band back together’ in Sofia, Bulgaria and hiring graphics designers, developers, mathematicians and many more. 

“We’re expecting to double our headcount in 2023 and this growth will allow us to accelerate our game production in order to produce 50 games over the next three years. 

“One thing which hasn’t received much attention is that we will keep releasing innovative games in regulated European markets via Relax Gaming and so we can expect to see Golden Calaveras, our first GAN release via Relax Gaming Silver Bullet in Q1 2022 in regulated igaming markets across Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and of course, the UK.”