Live casino gaming company Evolution Gaming Group made an offer earlier on in the year, June 24th, 2020 to be exact, to acquire fellow online gaming company NetEnt for an estimated sum of $2 billion. However, the deal was awaiting approval from Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), which is responsible for launching inquiries into such mergers.
Just recently, Evolution received the approval it needed from CMA. The company announced that NetEnt shareholders in the company finally accepted the recommended public acquisition offer made by Evolution thus giving the purchase a go-ahead. Once the deal is finalized, NetEnt shareholders will acquire 0.1306 shares in Evolution Gaming for every NetEnt share they own.
The sale will have considerable implications for the US gaming industry which has been burgeoning ever since PASPA was repealed by the Supreme Court. NetEnt already enjoys a dominant position in the online slot market and combined with Evolution’s high end live casino studios and first to market strategy will put both groups in a favorable position.
This will allow it to further capitalize on the ongoing regulation and expansion in the American sports betting market. NetEnt has been expanding in the country for a couple of years now ever since it launched in 2015 and offers punters a wide range of offerings the likes of Starburst and slots that have been designed around rock star legends such as Hendrix and Guns N’ Roses.
Evolution Gaming, on the other hand, is the current market leader as it regards the supply of B2B live casino services as evidenced by the numerous awards that the company has received over the years. Evolution currently boasts live studios in Latvia, Canada, as well as the UK. Evolution provides live casino services to over 100 operators in both online and physical locations.
It’s been a great year for Live dealer games overall
Both Evolution and NetEnt have recorded impressive numbers this year despite the various challenges that have been sparked by the pandemic. Case in point, Evolution has managed to generate revenues of 140 million Euros in Q3 2020, which is a boost of 48% compared to the same period last year. NetEnt, on the other hand, recorded substantial profits as well in Q3 amounting to 79.4 million euros, almost double the amount recorded in the same period last year.
Evolution, in particular, has been on an upward trajectory this year, managing to strike a great deal with BetMGM to provide it with live dealer products in the markets it is operating. BetMGM is currently active in 2 states namely New Jersey and West Virginia and as live dealer games continue to gain popularity in the country, Evolution will continue to make such similar strategic partnerships and alliances.
Live dealer games have been gaining an edge in the US betting market. Not only have live dealer games helped to bridge the divide that exists between traditional brick and mortar casinos and iGaming, but they also use streamed video to offer punters a true to life, highly interactive experience from the comfort and safety of their home or phones.
These games are preferred by many individuals because they provide punters with a rational alternative to physical casino play. Producers of live dealer games like Evolution rely on digital interfaces.
At the moment, BetMGM’s Live dealer games are only available in New Jersey, but this will soon change. BetMGM and other casinos such as Borgata have always enjoyed licenses to offer live dealer games in the Garden State. However, BetMGM and many other casinos were relying on the service of another producer of live dealer games known as Ezugi.
Thankfully, Evolution acquired a market monopoly, eradicating Ezugi from the competition after Evolution acquired it in 2019. Evolution certainly has everything that it requires to keep rolling out a rich, superior, online live gaming experience to its customers across the YS. And its move to acquire NetEnt is very much in the company’s roadmap to maintain its current leadership position in the New Jersey iGaming market.
Live dealer games may be thriving in New Jersey, which is by far the most mature and advanced gaming market in the country but soon enough, Pennsylvania and Michigan punters will soon be able to enjoy this innovation. Evolution expects to launch in Pennsylvania before the year is out while it plans to expand into the Michigan market in the first half of next year.
Thanks to its partnership with FanDuel as covered here, Evolution will now offer its live dealer casino products in Pennsylvania as well as any other state that enjoys legal online betting. FanDuel’s partnership with Evolution was expected as Evolution already enjoys longstanding relationships with other brands within the Flutter Entertainment umbrella which FanDuel falls under.
Evolution also struck a similar partnership with Wynn and William Hill as we’ve discussed thoroughly here and here. Eventually, Evolution may be able to launch its offerings in West Virginia even though the market there has often been deemed too small and may not necessarily be worth constructing a studio in the state from the ground up.
Evolution has had a busy year as live dealer games rise in popularity especially during the outbreak. The closure and consequent reduced capacity of physical casinos have gone a long way in helping punters to become accustomed to the concept of live dealer games. Already, Evolution enjoys the monopoly on live dealer games so the organization should continue growing and expanding in the coming year 2021.
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