The online casino sector has existed for more than two decades, but it is still growing. Current annual revenues stand at $60 billion, but estimates say that this number will reach $102 billion by 2025. Thus, not only is the playing field established, but it is also expanding.
In its landscape, several prominent casino software providers stand out in a sea of competitors, which is why the unexpected news that one acquired another, sent shockwaves in iGaming circles. Red Tiger may have been a new player, founded in 2014, but it was experiencing explosive growth, and no one expected that NetEnt would splash close to £200 million to own the majority of its shares. An event that led many to question what follows next.
New Megaways Games
If you are unfamiliar with the Megaways format, then you should know that it is a highly popular genre of slots, conceived by Australia-based studio Big Time Gaming. It landed on digital shelves in 2015, with the game Dragon Born, but it wasn’t until a year later that Bonanza came out, and the format took the slot-verse by storm.
In essence, Megaways is a random reel modifier, meaning every spin may have a different number of symbols on each reel, leading to hundreds of thousands of ways to win. Red Tiger licensed the game engine, and now that it falls under NetEnt, many are hoping for a Starburst Megaways game. The company already rolled out Gonzo’s Quest Megaways, so we may not be too far off.
More Future Mergers
While NetEnt’s acquisition of Red Tiger made waves, what followed a year later, was even a more drastic occurrence, as the leader in live casino games Evolution Gaming purchased NetEnt for €1.9 billion. A strategic deal, important to Evolution’s long-term vision of becoming the global market leader.
NetEnt has a live division, NeEnt Live, which provided games comparable in quality to some of Evolution’s table games, especially their blackjack ones, but lacked the variety. Now that this merger has gone ahead, many are wondering what moves will follow. Are more providers going to join forces? Will Playtech look to acquire other providers, or is Evolution going to swallow the competition whole?
One of the growing pains of the industry is the restrictions regarding online gambling present in many countries. Laws that forbid companies from expanding. While things are slowly changing, and laxer legalization of gaming through the internet is a trend, regulation should be a top priority for anyone involved in the sector.
Today, we have established markets that players are familiar with, and they’ve come to expect a level of service both from operators and providers. As the market expands, so will policies by regulators to keep the industry accountable. There has to be a consolidated voice and view for a change. Regulators play a massive role, and staying ahead of the regulatory curve is of paramount importance.