06.03.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

Last update: 06.03.2024 15:01

iGaming Snapshot: Month in Review | February 2024

The iGaming industry has been buzzing with activity last month, with some really exciting developments happening across all markets. Of course, the UK made some headlines with their new stake limits for online slot games, efforts towards introducing affordability checks, and great ICE London 2024, but there have been a lot of other exciting partnerships and legal developments too. Let’s dive in and take a closer look!

Like every month our editorial office provides our dear readers with some exclusive content. We started February with Martina Krajčí, Chief Commercial Officer at SYNOT Games, explaining the company’s recent innovations just before the ICE London expo.

“SYNOT Games has been actively strengthening its presence across key European markets and plans to expand its reach to new markets. Furthermore, it has acquired several Tier1 operators throughout Europe, further enhancing its client portfolio” she told iGamingExpress.

Last month we also sat down with Sarah Curran, Head of Marketing at eCOGRA, to explore her innovative approach to crafting tailored marketing strategies in the world of iGaming. “We believe very strongly that our people are our brand. They are the face of the company that our clients engage with, the voice of experience that find the solutions and the beating heart of the organisation. We aim to add value wherever we can, which we do through our content marketing strategy positioning eCOGRA as thought leaders and an educational resource within the industry” said Sarah Curran.

You can dive into this insightful interview HERE.

Last but not least, in an interview with Willem van Oort, the founder of Gran Via Online and an expert in the iGaming industry, we explore the complexities of the iGaming markets in Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands.

“Our secret is that we have strong regulatory insight, as well as technical and operational expertise that we can provide on an ongoing basis. We also have strong product knowledge, as well as data models that help predict the financial profitability of a chosen business approach. In a nutshell, we help our clients make the right business decisions in the context of specific regulatory environments” explained Willem van Oort.

Without further ado, let’s move on to the most interesting events in the field of sports betting…

The primary location for the development of sports betting remains the US, with bet365 expanding its reach into the Indiana and Arizona markets. Additionally, a significant deal with SIS for horse racing has made its debut in Colorado. Following in bet365’s footsteps, Fanatics has also further explored the US sports betting scene, launching in Indiana and debuting its sportsbook offerings in Iowa and Michigan.

North Carolina is getting ready for its market launch in March. According to Deputy Executive Sterl Carpenter, nine sports betting operators were eligible to apply for licenses, and eight of them have already done so. The operators that have applied include Bet365, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, ESPN Bet, Caesars, and Underdog Sports.

But in February it was all about the Super Bowl. Data from GeoComply, highlighted a significant 22.3% year-over-year increase in geolocation verifications during Super Bowl LVIII weekend. On the other hand, Entain showed that its brands, including Coral, Ladbrokes, and bwin, registered a 12% increase in bets from the UK and Europe compared to the previous year. Remarkably, Ladbrokes and Coral in the UK experienced a 74% surge in bets since 2020. It was a real celebration of sports and sports betting.

After releasing the last financial report with a 41% decrease in revenue, a real wave of changes came to Catena Media. Michael Daly announced he’s stepping down from the CEO position. “Under Michael Daly’s leadership, Catena Media has become an active player in North America and with the actions taken during the strategic review, we have significantly reduced our debt and streamlined the organisation. With the company facing lower growth, we have started to implement a number of growth initiatives. As we embark on this crucial stage, we are seeking new leadership to drive these initiatives and move Catena Media into its next chapter.” said Göran Blomberg, Chairman of Catena Media’s Board of Directors.

Meanwhile, Better Collective, another key player in the affiliate market, announced an annual 21% increase in revenue to 327 million EUR and a 47% growth in recurring revenue.

From other US news:

  • WynnBET and Betr have announced the immediate shutdown of their mobile sports betting operations in Massachusetts,
  • PrizePicks settled with the New York State Gaming Commission, agreeing to pay a $15 million penalty and cease operations in New York,
  • Caesars Entertainment announced a strategic move to acquire the operations of WynnBET’s Michigan iGaming business.

In Europe, Finnland took a bold step against unlicensed operators and targeted Betsson. That’s huge news because the company has become the first MGA-licensed online gambling operator to be blacklisted.

The Gambling Commission has outlined the next phase in affordability checks, including a pilot of the enhanced tier proposed by the government, responding to recent consultation feedback.

UK Government Weighs Imposing 1% Levy on Online Gambling Firms to Fund Addiction Research

An avalanche of financial reports also marked February. Checkd Media’s Q2 results revealed a remarkable 207.10% increase in organic conversions compared to the previous quarter. PointsBet has reported a significant 15% increase in revenue during the first half of the fiscal year 2024, reaching AU$117.6 million. Raketech witnessed a total revenue of EUR 22.8 million in Q4, marking an impressive organic growth of 45.3% Y/Y. Meanwhile, Tabcorp has disclosed its financial performance for the first half of 2024, revealing a Group Statutory Net Loss after tax of AU$636.8 million.

BetMGM has unveiled a groundbreaking partnership with X. In the United States, X users can now access BetMGM’s latest betting odds on professional football, with coverage of major professional and college sports slated to roll out in the coming weeks.

Betting operators who rely on BetConstruct’s software have a hard time in the middle of the month. The technical difficulties left many companies in the industry scrambling to find workarounds. The inability to update pre-match odds and offer live betting has not only inconvenienced bettors but also threatened the revenue streams of these operators during a crucial betting period.

The temporary technical hurdles didn’t stop BetConstruct from striking another significant deal and the Company announced a strategic collaboration with Flutter Entertainment.

As we speak of partnerships, it’s hard to overlook another great deal by SIS. Under agreement with Genius Sports, the company will offer its extensive network of sportsbooks access to SIS’s full Competitive Gaming library, which includes over 150,000 annual live events.

From other news:

  • Bundesliga and Sportradar renewed their global alliance,
  • PointsBet announced that is set to welcome Daniel Lucas as its new Group Chief Technology Officer starting September 1, 2024,
  • UFC struck partnerships with Entain and Stake.

For particular companies in the online casino area, February was a truly busy time. Light & Wonder rolled up a couple of promising deals with Ruby Play, Cruciable Gaming, Flows, Swintt, and Everi Digital, which is by the way now part of IGT business, under the merger agreement.

Playtech also achieved quite a few significant milestones. The company struck a partnership with Hard Rock Digital and extended its agreement with Sony Pictures Television as well as with BoyleSports. The crucial development for the giant of the iGaming business was however partnership with the Finnish monopolist Veikkaus.

Playtech and Veikkaus have forged a long-term framework agreement, paving the way for an extensive partnership. With an initial duration of six years and the potential for extension, this agreement signifies a significant milestone in their collaboration, as it now encompasses the exciting realm of Live casino games.

Another renowned brand EveryMatrix has reported an annual net revenue of €114m for 2023, a 75% increase from €65m in 2022, and a remarkable growth from €28m in 2019. The company representatives remarked that EveryMatrix achieved its historic financial milestones in 2023.

Caesars Entertainment also released its financial report. The fourth quarter saw the company achieving GAAP net revenues of $2.83 billion, a slight increase from $2.82 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year. The period was marked by a reduction in a net loss to $72 million, down from $148 million year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA for the same stores was reported at $930 million, slightly below the $949 million of the previous year, while Caesars Digital’s adjusted EBITDA surged to $29 million from a $5 million loss, reflecting the growing strength of the company’s digital initiatives.

LeoVegas has taken steps to reorganize the company’s marketing division with Niklas Lindahl’s departure from the role of Global Chief Marketing Officer. Lindahl expressed deep gratitude towards his colleagues at LeoVegas, reflecting on the “most amazing 5 years” of his career.

Evolution can breathe a sigh of relief as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has decided to not take further actions in the investigation aimed at scrutinizing the claims meticulously and assessing Evolution’s adherence to regulatory standards.

Last month was overall a good time for the Swedish tech giant, as the company witnessed a 16.6% increase in operating revenues, reaching EUR 475.3 million with the EBITDA for the same period rose by 20.5% to EUR 337.0 million, demonstrating an impressive margin of 70.9%. Evolution also further expanded its businesses with the acquisition of Livespins.

Evolution

From the other significant February news, Games Global has announced the acquisition of Digital Gaming Corporation’s B2B assets (DGC B2B) from Super Group. That deal enables the company to establish an immediate presence in the U.S. market.

FanDuel also further expanded its U.S. market potential with the acquisition of BeyondPlay startup, a budding jackpot and multiplayer gaming provider founded by industry veteran Karolina Pelc. The American tycoon thus highlighted a truly breakthrough month for the online casino realm.

February developments in the lottery area weren’t such impressive however DraftKings took its shot to make it more thrilling for the whole industry. American company announced a significant move into the digital lottery space with its planned acquisition of Jackpocket, the leading lottery app in the United States, for approximately $750 million. The reasons and further consequences behind DraftKings’ leap into the digital lottery vertical were widely discussed but overall the acquisition rather brings optimistic perspectives for the DraftKings.

Just in case February wasn’t a big enough month for the UK market, on 1 February 2024, Allwyn officially took over as the operator of The National Lottery. The company is already set to introduce a series of innovations designed to increase engagement and returns for National Lottery-funded projects.

International Game Technology (IGT) has announced a 12-year contract extension with Lithuanian UAB Perlas Network. As part of the renewed agreement, IGT is set to enhance Perlas’ central retail system with cutting-edge software and user interfaces.

After DraftKings, Allwyn, and IGT another company that tried to liven up last month for the lottery businesses was Scientific Games. The Company expanded its iLottery offerings with Bwloto and Random Stat partnerships and provided Denmark with an innovative omnichannel solution designed to seamlessly integrate retail and digital sales.

February in the legal area was marked by a flurry of activity, ranging from stringent enforcement actions to pivotal regulatory changes across the globe.

The month kicked off with a resounding statement from the Italian Guardia di Finanza, as they launched a comprehensive operation against a Malta-registered company implicated in illicit online gambling and betting practices.

The sports world was also not without its share of legal drama, as the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) took decisive action against French tennis player Maxence Broville, handing down a seven-year suspension.

In Estonia, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is diligently working to refine the Advertising Act, aiming to clarify existing ambiguities and bolster compliance. In Lithuania on the other hand, a legislative push led by members of the Homeland Union party seeks to amend the Gambling Act, aiming to impose stricter controls on gambling advertising.

Estonia

Last month, the Dutch Gambling Authority (KSA) intensified its focus on online gambling operators, particularly scrutinizing bonus schemes that potentially exploit player vulnerabilities. The latest KSA’s crackdown on illegal gambling advertisements also illustrates the regulatory bodies’ vigilance in safeguarding the gambling sector’s integrity.

Lastly, the Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) achieved a legal triumph in securing a court order to block 83 websites engaged in illegal gambling activities, marking another chapter of the ongoing battle against unregulated gambling.

***

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 April 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.

Related posts