Scientific Games’ recent purchase of Authentic Gaming was designed to benefit both parties in the growing live casino segment in the US. In this interview, SG Digital’s VP Game Development Rob Procter describes the rich potential for roulette and other live dealer games.
In buying premium live casino solutions supplier Authentic Gaming, Scientific Games added a vital missing piece of the puzzle to its product offering.
The live casino market is an increasingly important product vertical for players, with an estimated 30% of the entire iGaming market now revolving around immersive, innovative and entertaining games that build on experiences traditionally found in land-based casinos.
The appetite is particularly strong in the growing US market, where the live casino segment is expanding in popularity at a rapid rate.
In this interview, we talk to Rob Procter, SG Digital’s VP Game Development, to find out why the time was right for the acquisition of a live casino company, and how the deal can significantly strengthen the company’s hand when it comes to growth in the nascent American iGaming space.
Why is the US opportunity so important when it comes to live casino products?
The land-based casino experience in the US is mainstream entertainment and is often seen as a social event opportunity. The adult population almost have an understanding of games such as blackjack and roulette built into their DNA and groups of friends will regularly spend hours at tables together. Within RNG products, this is a quality that you will very rarely find.
It follows that the live dealer segment in the US offers greater value than in many other territories, because it replicates – and we would argue, enhances – the land-based experience that players have enjoyed over the course of many decades. We have seen through data from our OpenGaming platform that this notion is backed up by the figures: live dealer games can ultimately be as big as we would like them to be. It’s just a matter of how far you are willing to go.
The competitive advantage that we confer to Authentic is the scope of our expertise within the US. Regulatory changes, new state entries and solving compliance issues are factors we have overcome time and again. While such barriers have historically been related to different product verticals, this expertise is easily transferred to live casino.
Why was the time right for this latest acquisition by Scientific Games and how does it increase your growth potential in the US?
There is no getting away from the fact that the live casino market in the US is dominated by one major player and this does present difficulties for companies looking to enter this space. However, we believe that there are also certain niches that have been under-explored within a segment that is accelerating in growth.
The time was right for us to make the move. Our goal is to have a portfolio that covers all aspects of the online gaming market and live casino was the obvious gap in that regard. We considered our options very carefully over a number of months, but it became increasingly clear that Authentic Gaming was the perfect partner as we set out to make a major impact in the vertical. There are clear opportunities for major growth, particularly in the US.
How much autonomy will Authentic continue to enjoy under the Scientific Games umbrella?
Authentic’s market knowledge is second to none and theirs has been a story of success over a number of years. They will continue to do what they do best – produce great live casino content – and our role is to facilitate that while offering additional support that can help them really put their foot down on the accelerator.
From Authentic’s perspective, Scientific Games’ level of expertise in the U.S. market is invaluable. We can help them grow by providing an increased level of operational support where it is needed and by guiding them in what is a new market for them, but one that we have a very strong legacy in. It is a partnership that we believe will be characterised by mutual success, particularly in the strategically important US.
We could have gone down the route of building live casino products from scratch. Sometimes, though, it is better to leave it to the experts. Authentic will continue to move forward thanks to their high level of skill and product knowledge, now with the backing of the Scientific Games machine.
Why did you choose to acquire Authentic Gaming, over other live casino suppliers?
It was always clear during our negotiations that Authentic has a highly engaged, skilled and enthusiastic workforce. There is a level of attention to detail and real care built into their games that we found infectious.
Small can be beautiful, too. Authentic has a set of products that is far more compact that some of its major competitors, but the fundamentals are extremely solid. We saw their titles as being built upon solid ground in terms of technological build, while also offering us the opportunity to add extra value in the future.