iGaming Snapshot: Month in Review | September 2023
In the dynamic world of iGaming, September was a month of seismic shifts and strategic manoeuvres that sent ripples across the industry. As summer gave way to fall, the iGaming landscape continued to evolve, marked by regulatory changes, groundbreaking partnerships, and intriguing legal developments. With the advent of autumn, we find ourselves at the perfect juncture to look back and encapsulate the most noteworthy events that transpired in September.
In September, iGamingExpress featured a plethora of exclusive content. Here’s a reminder of some of the most intriguing ones.
- Andreas Bardun: If you are in Brazil you will realise how important local football is, and there was a huge market gap
- Simon Thomas: To build the Hippodrome, the brief was simple. Push the boundaries
- “We aim to take our product live in as many countries as possible”
- “Sofascore is a product of continuous experiments with various digital projects”
- “Denmark and Sweden already have mature licensing markets”
September was a dynamic month in the world of sports betting, marked by exciting developments and significant partnerships. Betway, a gambling powerhouse, joined forces with Arsenal FC, becoming their Official Global Betting Partner, expanding their football portfolio alongside existing EPL deals with West Ham and Brighton.
Wolves Football Club also made headlines by signing a record partnership with LeoVegas, designating them as the official training kit partner for the 2023/24 season. Meanwhile, Serbian basketball superstar Nikola Jokić partnered with Superbet, and Newcastle United unveiled a multi-year partnership with BetMGM, a newly launched iGaming and sports betting brand in the UK.
One of the most notable events in September was BetMGM‘s entry into the British market, marked by extensive marketing campaigns featuring figures like Chris Rock. DAZN Bet made its debut in the German market, powered by Pragmatic Solutions’ iGaming Player Account Management (PAM) platform.
The eagerly awaited launch of the Kentucky market on September 7th (retail) and September 28th (online) had industry giants such as Caesars, DraftKings, and bet365 preparing for this significant opportunity.
However, the month wasn’t without controversy, as a groundbreaking investigation by the Financial Times, in collaboration with experts from across Europe, shed light on the shadowy world of football sponsorship, raising questions about concealed ownership and intrigue.
Personnel changes also played a role in September, with 888 Holdings appointing Sean Wilkins as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Betfred seeking a new Chief Operations Officer (COO) following Mark Stebbings’ departure.
The highlight of the month was Flutter’s acquisition of a 51% stake in Serbia’s second-largest sports betting and gaming operator, MaxBet, worth 141 million euros ($148.95 million). This move aligns with Flutter’s strategic expansion plans in the Balkans, with the option to acquire the remaining 49% stake in 2029 under similar terms.
In terms of financial performance, 888 Holdings reported mixed results across the group, with an expected 10% decline in Q3 2023 revenue to around £400 million.
September was a dynamic month in the online casino sector, marked by a series of exciting developments and partnerships that shaped the industry landscape.
The month kicked off with a notable announcement as StarVegas.ch secured a gold sponsorship deal with SC Bern. This partnership not only brought fresh opportunities for fans but also aligned two prominent Swiss institutions, promising an elevated brand presence and more engaging interactions.
In the broader context, the online casino industry continues to thrive, with projections indicating that the mobile gambling market is poised to reach a staggering $173.9 billion by 2032. This growth owes much to the industry’s ability to embrace cutting-edge technology, particularly the seamless adaptation to mobile platforms.
Play’n GO, a long-time supporter of its local team, the Växjö Lakers, renewed its sponsorship for another season. This enduring relationship, spanning over a decade, reflects Play’n GO’s deep local connections and commitment.
On the regulatory front, RiskCherry made significant strides by securing approval from the UK Gambling Commission. This milestone allows them to inspect and certify video slots and gaming content for UK-based studios, signalling their expansion in the global gaming market.
Spinomenal also expanded its reach by forging a strategic partnership with SpaceCasino. Through this collaboration, Spinomenal’s top-performing titles seamlessly integrated into SpaceCasino’s offerings, enhancing the overall player experience.
Betsson celebrated a major achievement by obtaining a Serbian license, paving the way for the launch of Rizk Casino in the Balkans. This move demonstrates Betsson’s commitment to strategic growth and market expansion.
However, September was not without its unexpected challenges. The online casino community was rocked by the news of a massive security breach at Stake.com, resulting in the theft of a staggering $41.3 million in cryptocurrency. This incident sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency-oriented casino platform, serving as a stark reminder of the industry’s vulnerability to cyber threats.
September unfolded as a relatively peaceful month in the realm of lotteries, characterized by a handful of noteworthy developments.
On September 14th, Lottery.com garnered attention by successfully regaining compliance with Nasdaq listing rules. This accomplishment stemmed from the strategic implementation of a 1-for-20 reverse stock split on August 9, 2023. This move effectively addressed the challenge posed by the Minimum Bid Price Requirement, ensuring that the stock’s value remained above the critical $1.00 threshold.
In the spirit of innovation, Instant Win Gaming (IWG) unveiled an exciting partnership with LEIA. This collaboration held the promise of driving lottery innovation to new heights. Danske Lotteri Spil, La Française des Jeux (FDJ), Norsk Tipping, Svenska Spel, and Veikkaus—collectively known as the five-member lotteries of LEIA—gained access to IWG’s extensive portfolio of InstantGames, ushering in a new era of lottery experiences.
Internally, IWG made strategic organizational moves by elevating Jason Lisiecki to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, showcasing the company’s commitment to nurturing talent and fostering growth within its ranks.
In September, the world of gaming suppliers saw a flurry of strategic moves and partnerships, highlighting the industry’s dynamic nature and commitment to innovation.
Pragmatic Play further expanded its presence in Argentina, Switzerland, Latin America and the UK, through partnerships with Ondiss, GAMRFIRST Casino Magic Online and William Hill.
Gaming Realms, in its pursuit of global expansion, has made strategic moves in different directions. Firstly, they extended their global footprint through a partnership with bet365, solidifying their presence in various markets. Additionally, Gaming Realms entered the Portuguese gaming market by partnering with Betclic, marking their entry into Portugal.
In a parallel development, William Hill collaborated with Twenty3, harnessing the Twenty3 Toolbox to consolidate data from multiple providers. This move empowers them to provide data-driven insights that benefit the sports and betting industry on a global scale.
In a series of significant personnel changes within the industry, Michael Jack assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer at Sportingtech, utilizing his industry experience to lead technological advancements.
Aristocrat made a pivotal appointment, appointing Superna Kalle as Chief Strategy & Content Officer, leveraging her extensive industry background to drive growth strategies.
Meanwhile, in a broader organizational shift, Richard Brown transitioned to a Board advisory role at Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), aligning with the company’s strategic plan to bifurcate into two separate entities. These appointments and transitions reflect the industry’s commitment to harnessing top talent and adapting to evolving market dynamics.
Red Rake Gaming made strategic moves to enhance players’ gaming experiences on multiple fronts. While joining forces with LuckyStreak to offer a diverse range of high-quality casino games, the company has also expanded its presence in the Latvian market through a partnership with Spins.lv, giving players in the region access to an even broader array of captivating casino games.
NetBet Italy has been dedicated to enhancing the gaming experience for Italian players through strategic partnerships. By teaming up with RubyPlay, they enriched their casino games offerings, offering players a more engaging experience. Simultaneously, their partnership with 1X2 Network further elevated their iGaming offerings, ensuring Italian online gaming enthusiasts have an enriched and enjoyable gaming journey with a broader range of options.
Gaming companies have been making strategic moves across North and South America, showcasing the region’s diverse opportunities. Amelco’s expansion of its iGaming solution into New Jersey signified its foray into the thriving North American market.
Meanwhile, BGaming solidified its presence in Latin America through a partnership with Betara in Peru, emphasizing its commitment to the dynamic South American gaming landscape.
Casumo’s partnership with mkodo in Ontario, Canada, highlights the importance of compliance with geolocation regulations, ensuring secure operations in the North American region.
Playtech’s extension of its partnership with betPARX into Maryland reaffirms its dedication to the North American iGaming industry.
In Brazil’s emerging regulated sports betting market, OpenBet positioned itself for success by partnering with Play7.Bet, tapping into the vast potential of South America.
Light & Wonder’s introduction of Playzido’s Dynamic Content Creation Platform in Michigan indicates the company’s focus on delivering innovative gaming experiences in North America.
SIS ventured into Colorado by launching the H2H Global Gaming League on the Betsafe Colorado App, providing esports enthusiasts in the North American region with an exciting gaming platform. These strategic moves reflect the gaming industry’s recognition of the vast opportunities and potential in both North and South America.
When it comes to other noteworthy events in September, it’s also worth mentioning that:
- Altenar entered a strategic partnership with SpinBet
- Kambi took a significant stride by extending its partnership with LeoVegas Group
- 7777 Gaming joined forces with Soft2Bet
- ESA Gaming bolstered its presence in Italy, teaming up with Microgame
- Push Gaming entered the Greek gaming market with an exclusive agreement with Kaizen Gaming,
- Spinomenal collaborated with Casino777, granting players in Belgium and the Netherlands access to its rich portfolio of games
- CT Interactive broadened its reach in Bosnia and Herzegovina via a partnership with MD Shop.
- Bragg Gaming Group secured a Gibraltar B2B Remote Gambling License, enhancing its presence in the gaming industry.
September was undoubtedly a month of dynamic developments, partnerships, and strategic moves in the gaming supplier sector, highlighting the industry’s resilience and commitment to growth.
Speculation grew regarding M&A activity in Chile as Logrand Entertainment contemplated acquiring Enjoy SA. This followed Enjoy’s failed merger attempt with its primary market rival, Grupo Dreams SA.
Better Collective, with aspirations to become a leading digital sports media group, reinforced its presence in South America through the acquisition of Torcedores.com, a prominent Brazilian sports media platform.
LeoVegas Group, having announced its intention to acquire a majority stake in renowned game developer Push Gaming earlier in the year, successfully completed the acquisition in September. This acquisition solidifies LeoVegas Group’s position in the iGaming industry and demonstrates its strategic growth ambitions.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) cast a spotlight on affiliate advertising practices by ruling against freebetsdotcom. The case revolved around an advertisement featuring Chelsea footballer Mason Mount, which raised concerns about potential breaches of the UK Advertising Code. This ruling underscored the importance of adhering to advertising standards within the affiliate marketing space.
Australia, in its ongoing commitment to combating problem gambling, implemented stringent measures by banning the use of credit cards, credit-related products, and digital currencies for online betting. These measures not only reshaped the way Australians engage with online gambling but also presented challenges and opportunities for affiliate marketers operating in the region.
Further illustrating the global regulatory trend, Australia introduced laws aimed at regulating loot boxes and microtransactions in video games. These measures were designed to address consumer-unfriendly practices within the gaming industry, affecting affiliates promoting these products and requiring them to adapt to new compliance standards.
Meanwhile, in Florida, the gaming regulatory landscape became more complex as regulators intensified their focus on daily fantasy sports operators. This heightened scrutiny added layers of legal intricacy for affiliates involved in promoting fantasy sports platforms.
On the international stage, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) called for Norway to shift from a monopoly-based online gambling system to a licensing model. This advocacy highlighted the ongoing discussions about the most effective regulatory frameworks across Europe and their implications for affiliate marketers.
In the Philippines, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) embarked on a strategic shift, transitioning to a sole regulatory role in the country’s gaming industry. This transition signaled changes in how affiliates and operators interacted with the regulatory body.
Sweden proposed increased funding for Spelinspektionen to combat match-fixing and illegal gambling, aligning with international conventions. These efforts highlighted the government’s commitment to maintaining a transparent and secure gambling environment for affiliates and operators.
Chile’s Supreme Court’s decision to block sports betting websites impacted the financial interests of the Chilean football professional league, showcasing the ripple effects of legal actions on the affiliate marketing ecosystem.
The Dutch Gambling Authority (KSA) initiated a market-wide investigation into cashback bonuses in the online gambling industry, potentially impacting affiliate marketing strategies.
Finally, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) supported a proposal to equalize Anti-Money Laundering (AML) fines with penalties stipulated in the Gambling Act, indicating the industry’s commitment to ethical practices.
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 November. 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.