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Is Microgaming About to Kick Off a Franchise Trend in Slots?

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Is Microgaming About to Kick Off a Franchise Trend in Slots?
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Online slots have served to expand movie and TV franchises for some time, with the popular iGaming titles often helping to bring more viewers to a certain entertainment release on the big or small screen. Microgaming has wide experience of boosting franchises after creating slots like Game of Thrones and Bridesmaids, but now it appears as though the Isle of Man-based developer is looking at boosting its library by extending one of its most popular games into a series. Could this be the beginning of a new trend in the industry?

Mega Moolah is Iconic

Mega Moolah is one of the most iconic and influential slots on the market and has paid out over $1 billion since its release over ten years ago. It put the progressive jackpot subgenre of slots on the map, and has been in the news numerous times because of the staggering wins it has awarded. Indeed, Mega Moolah has broken jackpot records on a number of occasions as it has tussled with NetEnt’s Mega Fortune for the top spot. The Microgaming title currently holds the crown for the highest payout after one lucky player claimed €18,915,872 in September 2018.

The prize money has reached such incredible amounts, due to the fact that all the Mega Moolah slot games are linked, and the money invested in them accumulates. Eventually, it is paid out to one winner randomly like a lottery. Each year, there are huge wins reported in the news. Despite some of these wins being numerically higher, the Guinness World Records recognizes British soldier Jonathan Heywood’s £13.2 million win in 2015, as the biggest jackpot won on any online slot game in internet history.

New Games are All About the Huge Wins

The first new title that expanded the Mega Moolah franchise was Atlantean Treasures: Mega Moolah, which was released more than a decade after its predecessor. The game features a completely different theme to the original, with this one being set underwater rather than on the plains of the Sahara. But the games are connected in that the progressive jackpot from the new game, is linked to the main jackpot prize of Mega Moolah. This means that there is the potential for the wins from either of the games to be even bigger than those that have already come before.

Because of the popularity of this new instalment, Microgaming has decided to bring out another game to extend the series. This is Absolootly Mad: Mega Moolah, which is also linked to the progressive jackpots on the Mega Moolah network. Just like Atlantean Treasures, this title has its own unique theme. It takes inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and features fantasy elements. The regular game can dish out wins of up to 2,343 times your stake, but there is the potential for much more if you hit the progressive jackpot.

Other developers may be forced to follow in Microgaming’s footsteps and extend their progressive slot franchises. Otherwise, they may not stand a chance of beating the industry powerhouse for the biggest jackpots. With NetEnt and Playtech in a fierce scrap with Microgaming to be the top iGaming developer, it would be reasonable to expect them to release sequels to their most popular games as well.

Industry News

888 Announces Q3 2021 Trading Update

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888, one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming companies, has announced a trading update for the three months ended 30 September 2021 (Q3 2021). The Group’s Q3 2021 performance was in line with the Board’s expectations.

At the end of the Period and following policy changes published by the Dutch Gambling Authority (KSA), the Group took the decision to cease provision of services in the Netherlands from 1 October 2021. The Group continues to believe the Netherlands represents an attractive medium-term opportunity and intends to apply for a local licence in the coming months. Notwithstanding this unforeseen development within the Netherlands, the Board remains confident that the performance of the Group during the current year will be in line with its expectations.

Looking ahead, the timing of any licence award within the Netherlands remains unclear, but the Group aims to be operational within the country during the second half of 2022. This temporary closure is expected to negatively impact 2022 EBITDA, post certain mitigations at Group level, by approximately $10 million, with no change in the Group’s expectations for 2023 and beyond.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, said: “Q3 2021 was a period of outstanding strategic progress for 888. During the period we announced the transformational acquisition of William Hill International, successfully launched SI Sportsbook in the US, and began operating 888sport under a new licence in Germany as we continued to execute our plan to build a global online betting and gaming leader.

“Alongside these important strategic milestones, I am pleased with the Group’s continued positive trading, particularly as we lap very tough comparative periods. This performance reflects the continued success of our data-driven investments and execution against our product-leadership plan that delivers ongoing improvements in the usability, quality and safety of our sports betting and gaming products.

“Underpinned by our advanced technology, leading products, and strong brands, as well as the increased scale, talent and diversification that the Group will benefit from as a result of its combination with William Hill International, we have a very exciting platform for long-term growth.”

Business Review

Q3 2021 was a period of significant progress for 888. During the Period, the Group announced the transformational acquisition of William Hill International, which will significantly enhance the enlarged Group’s scale and create leading positions in several key regulated markets. In addition, the Group continued to deliver on its long-term growth strategy in the US market with the successful launch of SI Sportsbook in Colorado, utilising 888’s in-house sports betting platform for the first time in the US.

B2C

Gaming revenue growth of 11% was led by casino, reflecting the continuing success of the Group’s investment in enhancing the user experience through product and content leadership as well as AI-driven personalisation.

During the period, the Group launched more than 150 new casino games including several in-house developed games, which continue to resonate well with customers and provide a differentiated experience. Alongside expanding the range of content, the Group continues to improve the experience for customers using AI-driven recommendation engines and personalised offers, which it believes is leading to increased share of wallet, and therefore market share gains in several key regulated markets such as the UK, Italy, Spain and Romania.

Betting revenue declined 15% against Q3 2020 when the Group delivered a very strong performance that benefited from a condensed calendar of sporting events following Covid-related disruption, particularly within football across the Group’s UK and key European markets. Compared to Q3 2019, betting revenue increased 21%.

B2B

Revenue from 888’s B2B division increased 4% to $9.6 million, with both the bingo and US operational segments delivering moderate growth.

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Industry News

SYNOT Games Signs Distribution Deal with Playtech

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SYNOT Games has signed a new content distribution deal with Playtech, the world’s leading gambling technology company.

This deal is another important landmark in the SYNOT Games growth strategy, continuing to deliver gaming content into new, regulated markets.

This partnership will further enrich the existing Playtech offering of popular titles, including top performers such as Book of Secrets, Respin Joker, Mysterious Atlantis and newest releases Pixel Reels, Fruits Go Multiply, Diamondz and others. SYNOT Games slots will be available in both desktop and mobile resolutions.

The popularity of the 70 plus in-house produced SYNOT Games has risen rapidly among Europe’s largest online casino brands as well as retail slot halls and is now available to a broader player audience.

“This partnership shows our commitment to expanding our reach into new regulated markets across the globe and we are looking forward to a successful partnership,” Ivan Kodaj, CEO at SYNOT Games, said.

“We are delighted that SYNOT Games has joined the Playtech distribution network as its Casino software partner. Playtech’s scale and distribution is a powerful offering for potential partners, and this is a great example of our commitment to partnering with the right and well-known companies to bring great content to regulated and growing markets,” Tomasz Mogiła, Country Manager at Playtech, said.

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Industry News

Free Bets to be Banned in Ireland Under Landmark New Gambling Laws

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A proposal for new gambling laws in Ireland is calling for the banning of free bets in the country.

The newly proposed gambling legislation in Ireland also seeks to create a national gambling regulator in 2022. The regulator will be given powers to revoke or suspend gambling licences, and will be able to freeze accounts and block incoming payments to providers, while there will be no inducements or VIP treatment for certain gamblers.

A social impact fund meanwhile will also be established, which will place a levy on gambling companies, which will fund addiction treatment and other awareness measures. A self-exclusion register will be available to allow gamblers to restrict themselves from certain providers for a certain period of time.

Advertising is another area that will be subject to strict measures, with the new regulator able to issue codes around the time and frequency that gambling ads can appear on TV, radio and other media. Bans on ads which may appeal to children will also be put in place.

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