06.02.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

iGaming Snapshot: Month in Review | January 2024

Can you believe we’ve already breezed through the first month of the new year? It’s been a whirlwind of activity, especially in the iGaming world. Take FDJ’s bold move to take over Kindred, for instance – talk about starting the year off with a bang! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. January was brimming with thrilling developments that have set an exciting pace for 2024 in the iGaming scene. Ready to dive in and explore these highlights together? Let’s get started!

In January iGaming Express’ editorial office was all tied with work to cover exciting news from the industry but also to provide you with a plethora of exclusive content. The new year kicked off with intensity as our editors delivered 10 insightful interviews with industry representatives. Here are some to catch up with:

Christian Reinheimer, the Group Director of Payments Product & Technology at LeoVegas Group explored the multifaceted challenges and cutting-edge advancements that define today’s payment landscape in iGaming sector.

Christian Reinheimer

Digitain’s new Chief Sales Officer, Ani Mkrtchyan discussed her approach to driving global sales and expansion, managing complex sales solutions for multi-jurisdictional operators, and her vision for Digitain’s future.

Vsevolod Lapin, COO at Playson, looked at how Turbo Spin is unlocking new earning potential while simultaneously giving players a higher sense of control.

Trev Keane, the Managing Director at EPIC Global told us more about holistic business support with strategic industry networking to foster growth, opportunities within the esports arena and his pivotal role in EPIC.

Martina Krajčí, Chief Commercial Officer at SYNOT Games, explained the company’s latest innovations and strategic goals for the ICE London expo.

Enough bragging… at least for now. Let’s look into the significant achievements of operators, suppliers and other industry participants. And there were quite a lot of them in January.

We’re opening our sports betting segment with the huge development of a lottery-centric company. Française des Jeux (FDJ) took a brave strategic leap into the sports betting and online casino industry by making a lucrative tender offer to acquire Kindred, one of Europe’s top online betting and gaming companies.
The offer is priced at SEK 130 per share, which is an impressive €2.6 billion valuation for Kindred. This price represents a 24% premium over Kindred’s closing price on January 19, 2024, and is 35% higher than the average price of the last 30 trading days

The deal has the potential to create a European gaming behemoth as Kindred brings to the table its extensive experience in online betting, including sports and horse-race betting, poker, and casinos.

“The combination will result in a stronger strategic positioning and significant value creation for the benefit of our shareholders and broader stakeholders”, said chairwoman and CEO of FDJ, Stephane Pallez.

Vermont residents can now legally place their first bets, as the iGaming market officially opened in the state on January 11th. It’s a new era in Vermont’s iGaming landscape, and we’re definitely excited to see what the future holds. DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics were the first licensed operators to join in on the fun.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to further expand in the New England region and provide Vermont with access to safe and legal sports betting”, said Matt Kalish, president of DraftKings North America.

The state of Vermont is now expected to see a boost in revenue thanks to online sports betting. It’s projected to bring in about $7 million in its first year alone. And as the market grows, that number could climb to between $15 million and $18 million annually.

The next stop on the US legislative path is set to be in North Carolina where the online sports betting market is going to go live on March 11. Dozen of popular brands have already received the license, including bet365, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics Betting and Gaming, FanDuel, PENN Sports Interactive (ESPN BET), and Underdog Sports Wagering.

It’s worth noting that in the state of North Carolina, companies that offer gambling services are required to form partnerships with local sports organizations. Therefore, the period from December to January was associated with sponsorships. For example, FanDuel has recently signed a deal with the PGA Tour, bet365 with Charlotte Hornets, and DraftKings with NASCAR North Carolina.

As we’re in the US, let’s go through other legislative challenges that came up across the states. Unfortunately, there is not much good news as hopes for California and a couple of other states to regulate mobile sports betting soon diminished rapidly.

On the other hand, Florida kicked off the debate on fantasy sports – the topic that made a lot of fuss recently. Senator Joe Gruters has raised questions regarding the FGCC’s issuance of cease and desist letters to some fantasy operators but not others, including major players like FanDuel and DraftKings.

But let’s back to Europe where things also went interesting. At the beginning of the month the German Gauselmann Group officially changed its name to Merkur Group as a part of strategic rebranding. Crypto-centric operator Stake also leapt into the future by rolling up the partnership with the F1 Sauber Team.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that January brought up more Entain news. Jette Nygaard-Andersen’s stepping down in December caused a huge buzz around the company. The exact role of the Founder, CEO, and CIO of Eminence Capital, Ricky Sandler, in Nygaard-Andersen’s departure, is still not clear however the fact that at the beginning of the new year, Sandler joined Entain’s board as non-executive director seems to be suggestive.

In recent weeks we also witnessed a couple of significant partnerships including SIS expansion of its esports footprint with the Playtech deal, BetConstruct joining forces with Flutter Entertainment and GiG taking a bold step into the Portugal market with Betway.

From the other news: 

888 welcomed Ian Gallagher as the New Chief Product Officer.

Bet365 has reported significant pre-tax losses exceeding £70 million in the latest financial year.

NorthStar Gaming announced an unprecedented revenue of approximately $6.5 million, marking a substantial 103% increase from the previous year’s $3.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

Super Group forecasted strong growth in 2024, led by Betway and Spin.

MeridianBet Group has reported notable growth in 2023, alongside updates on its anticipated acquisition by Golden Matrix Group. 

In the online casino realm, January was pretty much all about partnerships and new personal challenges for a group of industry representatives. The CEE region was a hot spot on the map with the Bulgarian market becoming an attractive direction for Spinomenal, REEVO, Altenar and Wazdan.

In Romania, RubyPlay broadened its partnership with PokerStars, 1×2 Network joined forces with Skywind Group and BGaming bolstered its presence on the market with the WINBET deal.

SYNOT Games has struck a partnership with eCasino.cz to expand its footprint in the Czech market, Gaming Corps expanded its reach in Georgia with Ambassadoribet and Spinomenal marked its step into the Hungarian market with Vegas.hu partnership.

North Macedonia’s market became a new target for EGT Digital which signed the deal with MEGAWIN. On the other hand, Push Gaming further expanded its reach global reach by rolling up partnerships with NOVIBET and Betsson in Greece.

In Poland, Playtech renewed its agreement with the Totalizator Sportowy – a national lottery operator but it wasn’t the only supplier’s achievement in January. Playtech went pretty big and started the month with an SIS deal and subsequent Hollywoodbets agreement in South Africa. The supplier also broadened its reach in Sweden by the deal with 10bet.

Another renowned supplier RubyPlay didn’t fall behind as well. Ruby struck the deal with Slotegrator and intensified its expansion into the Spanish and Romanian markets with the PokerStars agreement. The supplier also wrapped up the month by leaping into the Italian market by rolling up a partnership with Microgame.

Here are other significant partnerships that are worth noticing:

3 Oaks Gaming has strategically partnered with Salsa Technology, integrating its extensive games portfolio onto Salsa’s platform.

ESA Gaming has announced a new partnership with Bragg Gaming Group.

SPRIBE’s acclaimed crash game, Aviator, has officially soared into the Panama market.

Stakelogic, in collaboration with its partner studio Stakelogic Live, bolstered its presence in Ontario’s market through a strategic partnership with operator Rootz.

TVBET, in collaboration with Fashion TV Gaming Group, has unveiled the FashionTV branded KENO.

The new year brought up new challenges for a couple of industry representatives. NeoGames subsidiary, Wizard Games, has announced the appointment of Dimitar Panteleev as its new Director of Games Technology, Bragg Gaming Group has announced the appointment of Simon Dudnjik as its new Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and Evoplay has promoted Ihor Zarechnyi to Chief Business Development Officer.

Ahead of the new era for UK National Lottery International Game Technology (IGT) decided to withdraw its appeal to the Court of Appeal regarding the award of the Fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn.

A couple of days later IGT announced a pivotal contract extension to continue its role in the UK National Lottery.”We are pleased to continue to support the operation of The National Lottery, working alongside a range of other suppliers and Allwyn,” said Jay Gendron, IGT COO Global Lottery.

Besides the UK, IGT’s focus was also on North America where the company extended its contract with Virginia Lottery and joined forces with Loto-Quebec in Canada.

Well, It was definitely a big month for IGT but other companies also made their mark in the lottery industry. Uganda’s National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board reported record gaming revenue growth in 2022/23. On the north hemisphere, OpenBet announced a pivotal partnership with German lottery operator WestLotto.

January was also a transitional time for EveryMatrix. The company has appointed Nikolina Gabelica, a former executive of the Croatian Lottery, as the new Head of Lottery.

January was crucial for the legislative landscape of some countries. In the UK the discussion about affordability checks is still ongoing. The British government’s Petitions Committee has scheduled a debate on February 26 to address the proposed implementation of affordability checks in betting.

Brazil ushered in the new era after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed into law new regulations for iGaming and sports betting. Under the new law, sports betting will be subject to a 12% tax rate, while player prizes will be taxed at 15%. To operate in Brazil, gaming operators must pay a BRL 30 million (€5.5 million) license fee and are permitted to operate up to three brands.

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

Italy has set to undertake a comprehensive reform of its online gambling laws in 2024, which could be a significant shift in the regulatory landscape since the market’s authorization in 2011.

The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has also marked its fresh start with the appointment of Cedric Pietersz as its chief executive officer.

In the north of Europe IBIA and NBO forge a pivotal Partnership to challenge Norway’s betting monopoly. Svenska Spel Sport & Casino officially announced a strategic rebranding of its horse racing betting division, now called Svenska Spel Hästar.

***

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 March 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