With the sounds of fireworks and Auld Lang Syne closely approaching, Casinobeats has taken another look back at the year’s events, whether good or bad, as they were covered.  

Taking us into autumn, September’s headlines were dominated by stories of national mourning, following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Queues lasted for miles outside of Buckingham Palace, with notable appearances from a number of celebrities.

Staying in the UK, Liz Truss was appointed as Prime Minister after a lengthy Conservative party leadership election. Just a few days after assuming the premiership, Truss became the first female PM to serve under two monarchs as King Charles III inherited the throne.

In entertainment news, September saw the return of one of the fantasy genre’s most loved universes as Amazon Prime debuted The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Received with mixed reviews, the show had an average cost of $58.1m per episode, making it the most expensive television series to date. 

This month also witnessed a tennis legend hang up his racket, as Roger Federer retired aged 41 with 103 ATP men’s singles titles including 20 grand slam wins, a record-equalling five US open titles and a record eight Wimbledon victories. 

In the industry, Twitch made a stir with a blanket ban on all content from unlicensed gaming sites, MGM resorts made a statement acquisition and the Dutch Ksa considered whether they were doing enough to protect players. 

Feature of the month

Although acquisition can allow brands to branch out and increase revenue, there is a suggestion that a loss of independence can hinder creativity when it comes to producing attractive content. 

This was the theory in mind for September’s CasinoBeats 100, as industry experts discussed the pros and cons of being an independent studio compared to being purchased by larger companies. 

Contributing to this discussion, Robert Metzger, Business Development Director at Fugaso, emphasised the importance of staying ahead of the curve when competing with bigger studios. 

“We also know that as an independent studio, we have to constantly find new ways of differentiating ourselves from the larger game studios. Ensuring that we are at the cutting edge of technology and new market trends is vital but we know that the time and investment in this research will ensure our future success.”

In the news

The Netherlands’ regulatory body, the Kansspelautoriteit, published its ‘Monitoring report on online games of chance’ for Autumn 2022, witnessing a steep decline in advertising figures which fell from €890,000 in November 2021 to €319,000 in August 2022.

Staying in the Netherlands, the Chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, René Jansen, considered whether the country needed to tighten its regulatory framework in order to prioritise player protection. 

Speaking at the European Association for the Study of Gambling in Oslo, the Chair of the KSA stated: “I increasingly wonder whether we offer sufficient protection and safety to players with the current interpretation of the duty of care.”

News from Twitch sent shockwaves through the world of slot streamers, as the broadcasting platform announced it would ban content featuring unlicensed slot sites. Sports betting, fantasy sports and poker content remained permitted under the platform’s rules however its statement read that Stake.com, Duelbits.com and other gambling operators would be prohibited.

In the US, MGM Resorts looked to finalise its acquisition of LeoVegas after taking its holding in the Sweden-based casino platform to above 98 per cent, through an extended acceptance period.   

Crossing the pond, Rank Group stressed disappointment in response to strike action taking place at its London Grosvenor Casinos. Action taken by the Unite trade union saw an offer from Rank, including bonuses that followed an 11.1 per cent pay rise, rejected as croupiers, dealers and hospitality staff aimed to walk out.

Elsewhere in Great Britain, the UK Gambling Commission dished out a £400,000 fine to Betway after the operator was found using marketing material on the children’s pages of West Ham United’s official website. 

Betfred were next to receive a slap on the wrist, receiving a £2.87m fine for a series of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures found during a UKGC investigation between October 2019 and December 2020. 

Recommended reading

As a saturated market becomes an ever-increasing problem for igaming suppliers, CasinoBeats sat down with Phil Peason of IGG White Labels at iGaming Group to discuss the impact of volatility and an array of innovation issues facing slot studios. 

In the heat of the SBC Summit Barcelona, Molly Bloom, the inspiration behind 2017 film Molly’s Game, held nothing back as she detailed her journey into the world of underground poker.

Videos of the month

In an early September edition of Beyond the Reels, SlotBeats spoke to Lady Luck Games’ Dorota Gruszka and Julian Borg-Barther about their branded slot title based on a 1950s American comic-strip, Beetle Bailey.