2022 Gambling Industry Overview – Part 1
2022 has proved to be another busy year for the gambling industry with major announcements arriving nearly every week. It is difficult to pick the most important gambling developments of the year, but here we have selected some of the highlights from the first six months of 2022.
One of the biggest news stories in January was the permanent appointment of Andrew Rhodes as the UK’s Gambling Commission Chief Executive. Rhodes had been in the role on an interim basis since June 2021. Upon taking over, it was widely expected that he would soon be overseeing the publication of the government’s gambling review. While this is yet to happen, it has certainly been a busy time for Rhodes.
January also saw the opening of the online sports betting industry in New York. Several operators received licenses from the New York Gaming Commission to start accepting bets and since launching, the market has gone from strength to strength.
February may be the shortest month of the year, but it saw numerous new slot releases and partnership announcements. For example, Playson entered the Swiss market with Swiss Casinos, Betsson entered Argentina, and Endorphina’s slots arrived in Denmark. In regards to regulation, Hungary ended its state monopoly on online gambling opening up the market to foreign operators.
Other events in February saw the Australian operator Crown Resorts accept an offer of AUD$8.9 billion from Blackstone while Las Vegas Sands Corp. sold Las Vegas’ famous The Venetian Resort for $6.25 billion to Apollo Global Management, Inc. and VICI Properties Inc.
In March, the Ontario market prepared to launch with 888 awarded a license as well as Bragg Gaming. The month also saw several developers entering various US markets for the first time, such as Inspired Gaming titles going live in Connecticut. The government in Chile approved a bill to legalize and regulate the industry while a number of developers continued to focus on the Latin American market. For instance, Pragmatic Play announced an agreement with Super 7, one of many partnerships it formed in the region this year.
April finally saw the launch of the Ontario regulated market following three years of planning. The market went live with twenty-five operators and suppliers having received licenses including big names such as Play’n GO and Rush Street Interactive.
There were some major acquisitions announced as well. IGT reached an agreement to acquire iGaming developer iSoftBet for €160 million in cash while B2B Gaming announced the acquisition of Asia Live tech (ALT) and its sister company Start Live Casino (SLC).
There was no slowdown in May with Microgaming announcing the sale of its Quickfire games portfolio to Games Global Limited. Games Global has since gone on to become one of the industry’s biggest games distributors in a very short period of time. There was also an announcement from Playtech in May. It formed a global partnership with Paysafe, the payment company, making it easier for players across the world to fund their iGaming accounts. Finally, May also saw a very lucky lottery player in the UK win the country’s biggest ever jackpot of £184,262,899.10.
The first half of the year ended on a positive note for the gambling industry with the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) publishing research that showed that the country’s regulated betting and gambling industry will create 15,000 technology jobs over the coming five years. In the same month, members of the BGC donated £1.2 million in profits from betting on the Britannia Stakes race at Royal Ascot to charity.
The second half of 2022 proved to be just as busy with multiple acquisitions, expansions, game releases and more; read part 2 to discover the best of them.