02.01.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

iGaming Snapshot: Month in Review | December 2023

The iGaming industry didn’t slow down even in the final stretch of 2023. December was brimming with numerous events that could significantly shape the future of key market players and even the entire industry. Join us in our monthly review of the most pivotal happenings of the last 30 days.

iGamingExpress, as is tradition, stayed abreast of the key happenings of December. As usual, there was a flurry of activity in the software provider sector. However, the spotlight shifted to the sports betting industry, primarily due to the upheaval and seismic shifts at Entain.

Amidst these current events, our pages also featured several truly intriguing interviews.

The long-time Director of SEO & Publishing at Gaming Innovation Group, Milorad Matejic, talks to us about how to properly manage the websites of such a large group as GIG.

“When it comes to skills, SEO is peculiar because it requires a mix of analytical, technical and creative skills. You need to be able to analyse and segment data in order to draw actionable conclusions. You need to be able to perform website audits and understand the technical aspects that constitute an optimised website. But you also need a high dose of critical thinking in order to spot correlations and test creative solutions” he told iGamingExpress.

Deputy Head of Sales at TV BET, Danuta Janicka-Mierzwa, talked about the company’s activities in many markets, focusing on support for women in the iGaming industry.

“When I talk to potential partners in the European market, I quite often find myself talking to a woman in a decision-making position. In Europe, especially in the West, the proportions are roughly half and half. In Africa, however, these positions are almost exclusively held by men. If there are women, they are most often on the marketing side” she claims.

In another insightful interview Enrico Giancaterina, who has been a cryptocurrency trader since 2017 talks about the future of blockchain technology and its potential impact on the gambling market.

“In the context of the gambling sector, decentralized applications (smartcontract that allow predefined rules to execute automatically once certain conditions are bet) can create decentralized gambling platforms where the middleman is removed, often resulting in reduced fees and higher returns for players. It can provide gambling access to areas where traditional banking systems might not be as prevalent or where online gambling transactions are cumbersome. This can open new markets for the industry. For example, we at Funtech Games are having great results in LATAM and Africa but also some countries of Asia” Enrico told us.

At the end of the month the founder and CEO of Atlas World Sports, Robert Kraft, talks to us about creating his project based on artificial intelligence.

“Atlas World Sports is a groundbreaking platform that aims to revolutionize the sports betting experience by providing an innovative and inclusive approach. The vision behind Atlas World Sports is to create a global community of sports enthusiasts who can connect, engage, and bet on their favourite sports in an immersive and secure environment.” Robert Kraft said.

Let’s now turn our attention to the specifics and look at the events that electrified the industry in December 2023.

In December, the industry was primarily electrified by the dynamically changing situation at Entain. Let’s recall that just a little over two weeks ago, an article appeared in the Financial Times which turned out to be the first falling domino. In the report, shareholders criticized CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen for her inept business management. The list of accusations was extensive, and with issues like abuses in private jet usage, it became clear that changes were imminent at Entain.

The wait for Nygaard Andersen’s resignation wasn’t long. Stella David has temporarily taken her place, but the company is already seeking someone who could assume the CEO duties on a long-term basis. Once again, shareholders will have a significant say in this, including Ricky Sandler (founder of Eminence Capital), one of Jette Nygaard-Andersen’s most fervent critics, and Corvex Management, which acquired significant shares in Entain shortly after Andersen’s departure.

What will be the consequences of the earthquake at Entain? We will find out in 2024. However, what is certain is that the company’s situation is currently quite complex, and shareholders are once again intending to use their influence to impact the future course of the enterprise.

What else happened in the sports betting sector in December? There was quite a lot. We started the month with news about another significant move made by Fanatics in the U.S. market. Under the exclusive partnership with Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Fanatics will become the sole sports betting provider for the CLC across both mobile and retail platforms.

Another key development in North America was provided by Penn Entertainment which has announced a pivotal partnership with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship. The agreement grants PENN market access for its online sports wagering platform, ESPN BET, in North Carolina, contingent upon receiving the necessary regulatory approvals.

Another landmark partnership in North America was kicked off by PointsBet and Strive Gaming. Through this collaboration, PointsBet will expand its casino offerings by integrating a variety of content providers into its platform. This integration includes a comprehensive library of games, encompassing popular North American retail-based options as well as established digital content from mature European markets.

However, it isn’t only development done by PointsBet. After exiting the U.S. market the company focuses strongly on other jurisdictions. The year of 2023 was a time of shifts in PointsBet strategy. At the end of the year company announced that from February 2024, Alister Lui will take over the position of CFO.

December was fruitful in terms of personal shifts. Digitain, the provider of sportsbook and online casino solutions, announced Ani Mkrtchyan as its new Chief Sales Officer. The signal of ongoing changes also came from Parimatch where Maksym Liashko stepped down from his leadership role in the company. Liashko has been a key figure in the management of Parimatch, having led the company in Ukraine and globally since April 2022.

A truly pivotal decision was made in Sweden where Svenska Spel has appointed Anna Johnson as a new CEO. The announcement comes as current CEO Patrik Hofbauer prepares to take on a new role as CEO and Group President of Telia Company from February 1, 2024.

December was also a month of further expansions of well-settled companies. Hacksaw Gaming amplified its presence in the Spanish market with the Betsson Group partnership. SCCG Management forged a new path in Brazil with Connectika and Superbet teamed up with Hunch to make a big splash in the realm of free-to-play solutions.

Additionally, Kambi has made a huge step toward its European expansion with the Bingoal deal. This integration will occur alongside Bingoal’s proprietary player account management system, enhancing the overall user experience. Kambi’s advanced sportsbook technology will not only power Bingoal’s online operations in Belgium and the Netherlands but also uplift its extensive retail network, which includes over 350 betting outlets and press shops in Belgium.

Across the eastern border, we also witnessed the significant development with BetConstruct securing sports betting license in Germany.

Logifuture, a B2B provider, has also announced a significant expansion of its virtual gaming product, Simulate, in partnership with Mozzartbet Group. This expansion sees Simulate going live in two new markets: Kenya and Serbia, marking a major step in the game’s global reach.

In the very first December development in the Bulgarian online gaming market, Everbet has enhanced its gaming offerings by incorporating a selection of 57 slot games from EGT Digital. In the other part of Central-Eastern Europe PopOK Gaming has recently achieved certification for 18 of its slot games, along with its 4-level progressive jackpot, aligning with the regulations of the Lithuanian iGaming jurisdiction.

In Sweden, Videoslots secured a 5-year license renewal, the maximum extension possible under Swedish Gambling Authority regulations. License for its slot and RNG portfolio was also obtained by Habanero which marked its footprint in Sweden.

December was a busy month for the iGaming industry in Sweden where, besides developments made by Videoslots and Habanero, Soft2Bet announced the launch of its latest brand, Quickcasino.se, in Sweden.

7777 went further with its casino content and expanded its reach in Romania, under the partnership with Superbet. Another step into the Romanian market was also made by Push Gaming which announced a strategic partnership with Maxbet. Alongside the company entered the Swiss market under the agreement with Grand Casino Luzern.

Romania was an attractive destination for suppliers. Its presence in the country was also marked by Octoplay which signed the integration deal with Superbet.

Let’s leave Romania for a moment…

In Germany NeoGames with its subsidiary Pariplay made a significant move by starting a partnership with the country’s leading online lottery operator, ZEAL.

Bragg Gaming Group has enhanced its market presence by launching its content with Sportium in Spain, NetBet Italy signed a new partnership with provider Red Tiger and Wazdan forged a strategic partnership with Gran Madrid Casino Online in Spain.

R.Franco expanded its presence in Portugal with Solverde as well as Spinomenal and Playson secured a B2B licence from the Gibraltar Licensing Authority.

Outside Europe:

  • Light & Wonder debuted in South Africa’s iGaming market in partnership with Hollywoodbets
  • Bragg Gaming brought its content to Brazil with Superbet Partnership
  • Wizard Games introduced its games in New Jersey
  • Light & Wonder launched Playzido Platform in Ontario

Changes in the lottery sector weren’t that extensive but still, there was a couple of interesting developments. At the beginning of the month, Allwyn released its preliminary unaudited financial results for the third quarter (Q3) of 2023. Despite challenges such as customer-friendly sports results and less favorable jackpot cycles, Allwyn maintained robust margins and free cash flow. The company’s focus on cost and capital efficiency, alongside a revenue-linked cost structure, helped mitigate the impact of inflation on its financial performance.

Later in December Allwyn announced the appointment of Mark Hughes as its new Chief Security Officer. Hughes will be responsible for leading all security aspects of The National Lottery, a critical role as Allwyn prepares to take over its operation on February 1.

We are on the edge of a big splash in the Netherlands where the government has started exploring strategic options for Nederlandse Loterij. One of them is complete privatization which however requires adjustments to existing laws. The government claims that it could potentially benefit shareholders and the company itself.

Lottery.com has secured additional funding. This development is crucial for the company’s full-scale operational resumption, indicating a robust return to the industry. The company’s power is now strengthened by a placement agent agreement with Univest Securities LLC. This collaboration has led to an initial investment of $1 million, a strategic step for Lottery.com’s financial revitalization. The funds are aimed at revamping core operations including the Nexus Gaming Platform, WinTogether, and the LotteryLink™ affiliate program.

In the realm of regulations, the most significant events of December took place in Brazil, where the Senate engaged in prolonged debates over the final form of their gambling legislation. Although the initial version of the law excluded iGaming, ultimately, online gambling was also brought under regulation. Thus, Brazil has taken a huge step towards regulating its market.

Among other news, the Kazakh government has mandated all gambling operations within the nation to file direct reports detailing the gambling activities and profiles of Kazakhstani residents.

Contrary to Brazil, the launch of a regulated market in Liechtenstein will require a bit more patience. The local government has delayed the issuance of licenses until 2028

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called for a significant shift in France’s gambling market policies. Despite being one of Europe’s largest gambling markets, France stands as one of the only two EU countries to prohibit online casino activities.

In Florida, a dispute continues between commercial operators and tribal operators, significantly affecting further delays in regulating the local market. In December, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders submitted a substantial defense to the Florida Supreme Court, advocating for the legality of a deal that would allow the Seminole Tribe to offer statewide online sports betting.

At the beginning of the year, Australia also took significant regulatory steps by banning the use of credit cards for gambling purposes.

India, on the other hand, has taken steps towards diminishing the illegal market, making considerable efforts to eliminate the use of apps by illegal operators.

Responsible gaming is also taken very seriously in Italy, as emphasized by the December decision of AGCOM, which has recently imposed significant fines on two major online platforms, YouTube and Twitch, owned by Alphabet Inc and Amazon respectively.

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That wraps up all the events that electrified the iGaming industry last month. The next summary will be published on iGamingExpress at the beginning of February 2024. For those eager for behind-the-scenes insights, we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter, where every week we curate the most interesting industry news and deliver it in a concise format that lands in our subscribers’ email inboxes every Friday.

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