In a year that has witnessed the acts of war and a global living crisis draws to a close, 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 of most of 2022, the news in May was dominated by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine that witnessed the siege of Mariupol. In America, the US Supreme Court made the controversial decision to overturn Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey rulings and Elon Musk temporarily suspended his now completed $44bn takeover deal of Twitter. 

Within the casino sector, May experienced a little flutter of acquisitions, while the UKGC appointed its new CEO and dished out a penalty to both Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play

In the news

May kicked off in extraordinary fashion as MGM Resorts announced its plans to acquire Swedish online gaming firm LeoVegas in a €575m deal.

The bid, which was unanimously recommended by the LeoVegas board, was 44.1 per cent of the premium on the LeoVegas closing price of SEK 42.32. 

Following the bid, MGM identified three key reason for the acquisition; strategic opportunities to accelerate growth and product offerings outside of the US; the presence of an experienced online gaming management team and superior technology capabilities; and a commitment to continued profitable growth given it has operated profitably as a high-growth platform since 2014.

A mere week or so later, Light & Wonder bolstered its igaming portfolio by purchasing Playzido into its roster. 

Stating the acquisition was designed to accelerate the pace at which L&W can part with game studios and operators worldwide, the purchase also aided the firm drive further growth across both European and North American markets.

Heading over to the UK Gambling Commission, May witnessed Andrew Rhodes named as the permanent Chief Executive Officer, having served as interim of the regulator since the summer of 2021, following the resignation of former CEO, Neil McArthur

That month also saw the UKGC place regulatory settlements on Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play, combining to a total of £675,000, following investigations into social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures. 

Heading back over to America, May saw a special committee of the Bally’s board of directors dismiss a $2.07bn takeover offer by New York-based investment firm Standard General

The firm offered to purchase all of the outstanding shares that it does not already own in February of this year, this would have seen shares gained for $38 each. 

Finally, the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit warned online games providers within the country that they were “still insufficiently complying” with financial obligations. 

This warning came after the authority conducted an investigation into compliance with the obligations that online gambling providers under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act.

Recommended reading

It wasn’t just all news in May as CasinoBeats spoke to a number of influential figures within the casino and igaming sector. 

May saw another inclusion to the Heavy Meta series, sponsored by SBC Advisory, with Eminence Holdings, CEO, Mark Robson, expressing that the sector needs to be more conscious of the fact that the metaverse will bring a more “thrilling and sensory” experience to customers that could see these greater highs lead to greater lows. 

This month also gave the sector the latest CasinoBeats Summit in Malta, where a panel delved into the Dutch regulated market and a potential advertising ban.  

Taking to the stage was Custaf Hoffsted, CEO of BOS, Eric Olders, CEO and Chair of JVH gaming and entertainment, Alan Littler, Gaming Lawyer at Kalf, Katz & Franssen and Peter-Paul de Goeij, Managing Director of NOGA .

Just before the event took place, David Flynn, CEO at Glitnor Group, joined CasinoBeats ahead of his appearance at CBS to talk about the US online casino opportunity and the firm’s plans for the ever-expanding US market. 

Finally, Light & Wonder took centre stage to showcase its Stargate Megaways, the first slot under the company’s recent rebrand – formerly SG Digital. L&W also featured in May’s Eilers-Fantini Online Game Performance Report, securing two top five places, which also saw Evolution further cement its position.