As a year dominated by political turmoil heads towards a close, the population enters a phase of reflection on the year that has passed, and of ambition for what lies ahead. Once again, CasinoBeats is revisiting an unprecedented 12 months fluctuating with the good, the bad and everything in between.

With the world focusing on war in eastern Europe, February came at a time of economic instability that had a drastic effect on the igaming industry in many ways, with fourth quarter financial reports revealing the damage for some. 

Throughout the month, the casino industry saw the return of a ‘historic’ Las Vegas casino, a new Sydney casino approval got people talking in Australia and the UKGC dished out a huge fine to one of the country’s biggest operators. 

Feature of the month

In a month where tensions between Russia and Ukraine were at the forefront of every mainstream publication, the igaming industry turned its attention to companies within eastern Europe. 

Following a flurry of well-wishes, CasinoBeats spoke with two brands facing the region to consider the impact of the political and financial uncertainty caused by the conflict.

Maksym Liashko, Co-CEO and Member of Supervisory Board at Parimatch Tech, and Serhey Dzekunov, Chief Business Development Officer at Favbet, discussed the impact of the war on the industry and the reaction needed from companies on that side of the continent. 

Addressing the need for flexibility in the face of adversity, Liashko stated: “We believe that having the privilege of quickly and painlessly adjusting the company’s operations according to the situation is likely to become a big trend in the near future.”

In the news

Entering the second month of the year, BetVictor found itself at the receiving end of a £2m fine dished out by the UKGC as the organisation discovered fairness, social responsibility and money laundering failures within the brand’s operations. 

The result of a compliance assessment conducted almost a year prior to the fine, BV Gaming was found to have a number of regulatory failings regarding an array of licence conditions and code of practice. 

Crossing the pond, the Las Vegas Palms Casino resort reopened its doors after closing in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The casino, previously owned by Red Rock Resorts, never reopened following its temporary closure, and was bought by The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in May of that year for a reported $650m. 

Jump forward to February 2022 and the casino was finally opened as the first and only Native American-owned in Sin City having gone through an “extensive renovation and refresh.” 

Furthermore, this month also saw Glitnor Group acquire Malta-based igaming affiliate KaFe Rocks for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that eventually fell through towards the end of the year due to unsatisfactory market conditions.

Aristocrat Leisure reflected on its failed purchase of Australia games manufacturer Playtech after its £2.7bn pursuit fell flat, with Aristocrat Chair Neil Chatfield stating that the company had become “very focused on alternative pathways” to commit to its expansion ambitions. 

Staying in the February heat of Oz, Crown Resorts looked forward to opening the casino portion of its $2.2bn Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, after the establishment was previously deemed unfit for practice. 

After Australian media alleged that Crown had engaged in money laundering, breached gambling laws and partnered with operators linked to criminals, Crown was subject to an almost 800-page critique and was suspended after an Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority investigation. 

Rumours that the company would be granted conditional approval to open the casino’s doors circulated in February, with Australian media outlets anticipating the event which eventually went ahead later in the year. 

Recommended reading

February saw CasinoBeats sit down with the CEO of PokerMatch International, Ruslan Bangert, to discuss the social qualities that gives poker an advantage as an online casino product and his disregard to update poker products for a new generation of players.

Elsewhere, High 5 Games dominated the ‘Eilers-Fantini Online Game Performance Report’ as its igaming title Golden Knight II topped the slot charts, knocking Evolution off of its perch. CasinoBeats dissected the report in full, analysing data from 26 online casino sites in various US states. 

Video of the month

Vera Motto, Business Development Executive at Habanero, joined SlotBeats for its first-ever Spanish language Beyond the Reels to delve into the supplier’s most successful Latin American slot title from 2021.