The gambling industry today is a tangled ball of B2B agreements and partnerships. Everything seems to compete with each other, but at the same time "merge" or sign partnership agreements. Who could have imagined 15 years ago that the worst competitors are Playtech and Novomatic (Greentube) . will cooperate? But today is already a reality.
It is often impossible to trace the development path of even one particular software manufacturer. After all, almost everyone goes through rebranding, mergers, and reorganizations. You probably came across a situation where the same game in different casinos or directories refers to different providers? You see, even direct business participants do not always have time to track changes.
In such a turbulent and constantly evolving industry, even large developers often go unnoticed. It is about such disappearances that I want to talk about. Where do the providers go? Why is this happening? What happens to their portfolio? We will look at three different examples of three different manufacturers. You will be surprised at their fate.
Scenario 1: Absorption
To begin with, Amaya survived rebranding in 2017 and became The Stars Group. And in 2020, it actually became Flutter Entertainment. The latter bought The Stars Group for six billion dollars, becoming the largest gambling holding on the planet.
We now know Amaya as the owner of PokerStars. But the poker room was transferred to the ownership of the Canadian organization only in 2014. The holding has long acquired meat for such a deal. One of the bricks for the foundation of the Amaya empire was the takeover of Chartwell.
The path of Chartwell Technologies began in the late 80s with industries completely unrelated to the gaming business: minerals, oil and gas. This Canadian company switched to gambling only in 1998, having acquired the developer of Gateway Technology. The first games began to be released, large partners appeared: Bwin, Betfair, Coral.
The 2000s were extremely successful for Chartwell. The company has released dozens of slots, launched its platform, and overgrown with dozens partnership agreements. But in the wake of the new decade of the 2010s, Chartwell Technologies began to suffer losses. The way out was found: the company was sold to the growing Canadian Amaya holding in 2011 for $ 23 million. Thus, slots like Cash Inferno in casino catalogs began to belong to Amaya. Although in the old manner, many signed them with Chartwell.
But the story of the "transformations" of Chartwell Technologies did not end there. In 2015, NYX Gaming buys Chartwell and Cryptologic from Amaya for $ 150 million. Today, games developed by Chartwell Technology can be found in the portfolio of several manufacturers at once:
- Amaya (Stars Group): distributed on holding sites;
- NYX Gaming : found in casinos related to the Scientific Games platform;
- Lightning Box Games: the provider at one time converted Chartwell slots to HTML5 format and distributes it under its own name. Examples: Chilli Gold, Frog's n Files, Serengeti Diamonds.
So many of you, launching very popular slots like Cash Inferno or Pot-o-Gold, did not even realize that they were issued by a non-existing manufacturer. It is curious that at one time iconic slot machines Medusa and 300 Shields were added to the casino’s game library on behalf of Chartwell Technologies. A Canadian company helped NextGen Gaming distribute these hits by adding them to its platform.
Scenario 2: Elimination and picking up crumbs
Example: Sheriff Gaming
In the early 2010s, dozens of large casinos had slot machines from the Dutch developer Sheriff Gaming. Provider games were distributed through NYX, Quickfire, and the SBTech platform. Sheriff also engaged in social gaming, distributing free devices to Facebook, the Google Play Market and the AppStore. In 2012-13 provider is surely among the group of hopefuls competing with developers such as Blueprint , Betsoft and Worldmatch.
Examples of popular games from Sheriff Gaming: Spartania, Amsterdam Masterplan, Midnight Rush. You can find them on prosperous sites like Videoslots or SlotsMillion. However, in these casinos they are marked in the catalog as StakeLogic products. How did it happen?
No, StakeLogic did not absorb anyone. All because there was nothing to absorb. Back in 2013, an investigation was launched against the owners of the Sheriff’s parent company Bubble Group. The trio, represented by Stein Flapper and the Gregory brothers, were accused of money laundering, drug trafficking and illegal gambling through a network of underground casinos. A Dutch court ruled that with the help of a shell company, the trinity laundered more than 100 million euros, putting about half of them in their pocket. The guys accumulated 80 properties, 20 cars and still had millions of euros in dozens of bank accounts. Flapper and Gregory eventually went to prison in December 2018 for two years.
Due to fraud, the owners were hit by Sheriff Gaming. Alderney Gaming Commission already in January 2014 revoked the license of the parent Bubble Group. All assets of the company, including intellectual property in the form of gambling software, were arrested. Sheriff Gaming has ceased to exist.
Later Novomatic managed to buy back part of the assets of Sheriff Gaming. The Austrian holding created a separate subsidiary, StakeLogic, which inherited some of the Sheriff games. And today in the StakeLogic portfolio you can find small grains of the achievements of the once very large manufacturer.
Scenario 3: Hidden rebranding
Example: TopGame and Pragmatic Play
In the collections of the top 10 best/major software manufacturers, Pragmatic Play is increasingly appearing. The company has selected a powerful portfolio of slot machines and live games, several dozen partnership agreements have accumulated. Pragmatic stands on its feet, winning awards at EGR and other shows. Excellent achievements for the provider, which was founded in 2015.
But in reality, Pragmatic Play has been operating on the market since 2008. After all, it was then that the notorious TopGame company was born. The latter was based in Panama, and was remembered by a network of suspicious casinos: Rome, 7Spins, Topaze, Black Diamond. TopGame caught fraud:
- In jackpot slots there was not even a theoretical possibility of losing a super win;
- Victories in the drawings were given to dummies;
- They did not pay remuneration to the participants in the affiliate program.
Against the backdrop of such actions, the beginning of cooperation with the largest platform EveryMatrix in 2015 seemed like a phantasmagoria. Not in vain. After all, in the same 2015, TopGame ceases to exist ... to become Pragmatic Play. Although everything was beaten differently. At the beginning of 2015, a new Pragmatic Play provider is created, which later redeems a controlling stake in TopGame. For the general public, such a move seems like usual acquiring. But in reality everything was different
The Casino Listings investigation has established a hereditary relationship between TopGame and Pragmatic Play. So in the Paradise Papers "leaked" information on the structure of PP shares. One of the largest shareholders is TG Solutions Limited. Formerly a beneficiary of TopGame. Former owner David Barziley already in 2017 buys Pragmatic Play, using some new company - IBID Group. To permanently cover up the traces of the domain topgametechnology.сom was deleted, and the traces of its existence were cleaned up in the web archive.
Very popular games like Sugar Rush or Tales of Egypt from Pragmatic Play were originally produced by TopGame. It’s impossible to find fault with this: PP officially redeemed TG shares. In fact, it was a “hidden” rebranding. TopGame decided to start from scratch, abandoning the genealogy of scammers. The invented scheme played 100%. After all, Pragmatic Play shot, and few people perceive them as scammers.
We studied private and not quite standard scenarios for the modern market. There are simpler plots. For example, a manufacturer simply dies and leaves no mark on itself. Such a fate befell dozens of companies every year - they simply do not manage to bite off their portion of the pie. A similar fate befell the B3W.
A more standard practice is open rebranding. Net Entertainment became NetEnt , Amaya became the Stars Group. Owners change the name to better match the brand philosophy and the spirit of the times.
Often rebranding is associated with acquisitions, associations that occur in the gambling industry almost every day. So in 2011, PartyGaming and Bwin teamed up to create Bwin.Party.
There is another option: a separate division of the holding becomes autonomous and stands out as a separate company. Something similar happened with QuickSpin . A group of specialists from NetEnt went into free swimming and created a new brand.