2021 proved to be a busy year of buyouts, but what were the biggest iGaming acquisitions? We share the takeovers that shook the industry! (Image from nattanan23)at pixabay.com
Happy New Year! The team here at livecasinocentral.com hopes you have a healthy and prosperous 2022. We also hope you had a great time ringing the New Year, though many of you might be feeling a little sorry for yourselves today!
While we’re excited to look ahead to what 2022 has in store for us, it’s time to say goodbye to 2021. In the iGaming industry, in particular, 2021 has been a year to remember. That’s why we want to take a quick look back at some of the biggest iGaming acquisitions that have taken place in the past 12 months.
The year began fresh of the news that Evolution had just acquired NetEnt in December 2020. That acquisition, which allowed the live casino giant to establish a strong footing in the virtual casino gaming genre while at the same time taking out a live gaming competitor, also included the NetEnt-owned Red Tiger Gaming.
However, little did we know at the time that 2021 would continue in the same vein, with massive acquisitions taking place left, right, and centre! Below, we take a look at some of those takeovers performed by the industry’s biggest shakers and movers.
Aristocrat Attempts to Acquire Playtech – One of the Biggest iGaming Acquisitions Set to Complete in January 2022
While this deal is not complete, it is a story that has caused big waves in the iGaming industry for the past couple of months, mainly due to heavy interest in such a big player in the live casino and virtual gaming spheres. Aristocrat, a major mover in the land-based gaming industry and one starting to have a similar impact online, made the first move with a €3.1m bid. However, while it looked like a straightforward deal at the time, with Playtech expected to vote in favour on the 12th of January this year, other parties have since come out of the woodwork.
Gopher Investments, an investment firm in Hong Kong, came in with a larger bid only to remove it a few weeks later. JKO Play is another party extremely interested. Headed by Formula One mogul Eddie Jordan, the company is rumoured to make a bid shortly. On top of that, the biggest drama occurred when it was revealed that an alleged Asian concert had bought up 20% of Playtech’s shares. The intention of this group of Asian investors is still unknown, but it has led to Playtech and Aristocrat approaching London’s Takeover Panel to seek clarity on the motives of this group. This is a story we will keep an eye on throughout January.
Evolution Added to Growing Portfolio with Big Time Gaming Acquisition
One of the biggest iGaming acquisitions occurred in July last year when Evolution continued its bid for world domination by taking over Big Time Gaming. While it will take a proposed €3+ billion for somebody to purchase Playtech, this €220 million deal pales in comparison. However, the live casino giant will see it as a bit of a steal. Big Time Gaming had quickly emerged as a major player in the virtual gaming space. Much of this was down to its hugely popular Megaways random reel modifier reel mechanic that is seen on dozens of video slots. Trademarked by Big Time Gaming, the firm now leases that mechanic out in return for payment and the display of its company’s logo. Following the purchase of NetEnt, which also included Red Tiger Gaming, this latest purchase is a clear indication that the live gaming pioneer now wants to gobble up a large slice of the virtual gaming market.
Scientific Games Enters Live Gaming Scene via Authentic Gaming Takeover
Another takeover that could have big ramifications on the order of power in the live gaming space, is Scientific Games acquisition of the live dealer specialist, Authentic Gaming. Evolution, Playtech, and Pragmatic Play currently sit at the top of the tree, but with such a big company now entering the fold, competition could get tasty! This is good for us as the players, however, as it means more quality titles to enjoy at the online casinos. A company of the size of Scientific Games does not buy companies to be second best, so it is going to be intriguing finding out what SG has in store for us.
Other Notable iGaming Acquisitions in 2021
The above are the biggest takeovers involving the big players in the live casino sphere, yet as you know, the gambling industry also extends to online casino brands and land-based and online sports betting corporations. In one of the biggest deals of 2021, we saw Caesars Entertainment buy out William Hill for $3.7 billion before selling off the UK based betting company’s non-European assets to 888 Holdings for €2.6 billion. Other acquisitions included Flutter Entertainment purchasing FanDuel and DraftKings taking over Golden Nugget Online Gaming.
What a Year it Was! – But How Will 2022 Go?
After the business that went on in the iGaming industry in 2021, it should surprise nobody if something similar happens this year. We already have the probable completion of the Aristocrat/Playtech takeover coming soon and, knowing Evolution, they will have their eyes on increasing market shares further. Probably the most interesting is the effect that Scientific Gaming becoming a player in the live casino space will have. 2022 could prove an exciting year for fans of live casino gaming!
Once again – the Live Casino Central team wishes you a Happy New Year!