In a society where face-to-face social interaction has shifted to face-to-device, it is not surprising that online social gaming apps are a priority for both game designers and casino operators.  

As the competition heats up in this gaming sector, more and more casino apps and game titles are entering the marketplace, and this trend is not likely to fade away any time soon.  After all, the social casino game market holds an estimated $5 billion, and who wouldn’t want a piece of that cash pie?

Similar to slots found on the gaming floor at casinos, developers continue to seek the best artwork, math models and game mechanics to ensure continued success and player engagement for slot apps. Indeed, just like the brick-and-mortar slot floor, social casino games need to be constantly evolving and updating. This process involves not just the creation of new games and game concepts, but making improvements and updates to old game titles that remain popular in play. 

The majority of casino social gaming apps remain free-to-play, but monetizing the experience is attainable with in-game purchases such as additional tokens and various upgrades, to name a few. Operators are also using their gaming apps to run property promotions and advisements for the land-based casino itself. 

Aside from the countless new gaming titles popping up on nearly a weekly basis in the sector, what follows are some current updates in the iGaming and social casino market. 

OPERATOR IGAMING UPDATES

Casino Arizona: Scientific Games Corporation recently launched its SG Universe online product suite with Casino Arizona, bringing the operator’s two properties to the forefront of the online gaming landscape under its “Talking Stick” brand. SG Universe, from the company’s digital division, now empowers Casino Arizona with a desktop site and mobile app and an award-winning social casino platform, according to press materials.

Casino Arizona launched its mobile and desktop app in July. Players from both of the operator’s properties—Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort—can sign up for the benefits of an expanded and comprehensive online casino experience paired with world-class social gaming.

“We’re thrilled to bring our properties to the next level with Scientific Games,” said Ramon Martinez, director of public relations at Casino Arizona. “We look forward to providing our patrons with impressive promotional opportunities in the coming months that allow them to engage with some of their favorite content for a chance to win compelling prizes including cruises, trips to Talking Stick Resort and more. Our players will greatly benefit from an extensive online offering, and we’re excited to provide SG Digital’s top-notch game content through the app’s Play4Fun social casino. This deal is a win-win, signaling a bright future for our partnership.”

“Casino Arizona is an excellent fit for our SG Universe product suite, and the partnership will be successful all-around,” added Dylan Slaney, SVP gaming for SG Digital. “Their Talking Stick brand resonates strongly with their audience, and extending it further using digital channels is an excellent way to enhance recognition and engagement. This is our first install in Arizona, and Casino Arizona reaches a wide and diverse player base, making this a valuable partnership.”

Caesars Entertainment Corporation: Caesars recently announced that it’s taking mobile sports bets in New Jersey via The Caesars Casino & Sports app. This move reportedly allows anyone in New Jersey who downloads the app to place bets on their favorite sporting events, including professional football. They can also play over 400 casino games including slots, table games and video poker.

“Since New Jersey decided to allow mobile sports betting, we have been working diligently to create the most engaging and fun mobile platform which provides users with the ability to place bets on their favorite sporting events,” said Mark Frissora, CEO and president of Caesars Entertainment. “Players have the opportunity to earn and redeem rewards points through our Total Rewards loyalty program, which they can redeem for memorable experiences inside our world-class resorts. This launch further solidifies our investment into this exciting space.” 

MRG: Ten years ago, one of the European iGaming industry’s strongest brands was created, Mr Green, an example of a successful, Swedish entrepreneurship within the digital industry, according to press materials. At the very beginning, Mr Green only offered casino games. Today, the site offers sportsbook as well as tournaments and number games.

However, in the internal hierarchy, Mr Green had to move down one step to make room for more brands. After three acquisitions the company made the decision to change the name of the group from Mr Green to MRG to reflect the new brands within the group.

Today, MRG remains a fast-growing, innovative iGaming group operating in 13 markets. Founded in 2007, the company now operates the iGaming sites Mr Green, Redbet, 11.lv, Winning Room, Bertil, MamaMiaBingo, BingoSjov and BingoSlottet. The group now has over 300 employees, according to press materials, and gaming licenses in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the UK and a sportsbook license in Ireland. 

MRG recently joined the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), which is a Brussels-based industry body representing leading iGaming operators established, licensed and regulated within the European Union (EU). EGBA works together with national authorities, EU authorities and other stakeholders towards a well-regulated and attractive iGaming offer for EU citizens. 

“MRG shares EGBA’s view that the industry must work closer together to create a safe and reliable European digital environment for iGaming players,” said Per Norman, CEO of MRG. “Green Gaming has been a core of our strategy since the foundation of the group and we are enthusiastic about contributing to the development of more Green iGaming services across Europe.”

“We are very pleased that MRG has joined the EGBA family and we look forward to working closely together with them towards an open, well-regulated market for online gaming in the EU and EEA,” added Maarten Haijer, secretary general, EGBA. “MRG brings a strong profile of responsibility, and together we will work towards developing attractive regulated markets that are capable of channeling consumers and providing a high level of consumer protection. It’s an exciting but challenging time for European operators and we are pleased that reputable operators like MRG recognize the benefits of working closer together through the EGBA in order to meet these challenges.”

MANUFACTURER MOVES

Fort Mason Games: The company recently debuted its mobile app, Confetti Casino, a Vegas-style slots game that is opening up its target market by focusing on the female population. Confetti Casino includes a variety of fun slots themes for players to escape into, including: Tumbling Tikis, 88 Riches and Miami Millionaire, as well as offering classic single line slot machines with bars and lucky 777s. Confetti Casino includes a breakthrough social network for players to make new friends and further their social connections via sending and receiving HeartGrams that deliver in-game rewards, according to press materials.

“At Fort Mason Games, we want to create games that provide entertainment, excitement and an opportunity to relax,” said Kate Gorman, founder and CEO. “Confetti Casino, our first release in our portfolio of upcoming games, is designed to be the “me time” retreat we all need at the end of a long day of work, while also forging new connections and friendships through those we interact with in the game.”

“It’s no secret the gaming industry has fallen short when it comes to fostering gender diversity,” Gorman added. “Building mobile games that appeal to everyone with a focus on women opens up an immense market that other companies have long failed to cater to and capitalize on.”

Scientific Games: Scientific Games recently launched its entirely redesigned Jackpot Party social casino app, refreshing the free-to-play game’s look and feel. The redesigned Jackpot Party features the same popular real-world slots and sleek interface, with enhanced graphics.

Jackpot Party showcases over 200 authentic Vegas-style slots on an entirely reimagined platform. It’s the same game however, the features and design have been amped up, and in-game celebrations have been amplified to recreate the buzz and excitement of big win events. Adding to the celebration… new Party Prizes reward players on big win events with thrilling mystery gifts. Featured prominently in the lobby, anticipatory animations showcase the excitement of watching the timer countdown to open the prize. Multi-progressive jackpots have reportedly been redesigned from the ground up, adding lower tier prizes and larger grand prizes, opening more ways to win jackpots to all types of players.

The new game also boasts bigger, clearer game icons, smoother animations and an upgraded user interface design to improve upon usability and playability. As a comprehensive visual and auditory overhaul, the new and improved Jackpot Party is built to captivate its global audience and bring the excitement of the casino floor into the hands of players everywhere.

“With this new update, Jackpot Party truly lives up to its name,” said Aaron Schurman, managing director of SG Social. “This redesign is a celebration of our top-performing social apps and the slot themes that make them great. Drawing on our long history of innovative game development, Jackpot Party has a look and feel that lives up to the reputation it has earned as a top-notch gaming experience.”

Jackpot Party features games from Scientific Games’ Bally and WMS studios like Zeus II, Invaders from the Planet Moolah, Gorilla Chief 2, Lock It Link, Bier Haus 200 and Buffalo Spirit.

AGS: PlayAGS recently announced an agreement to provide third-party slot content aggregation for real-money wagering with GVC Holdings PLC (GVC), one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups. Under this agreement, AGS’s iGaming platform, acquired through the June 2018 purchase of Gameiom Technologies Limited, provides GVC with a seamless aggregation solution and access to AGS’s full library of game content partners and more than 600 games from well-respected game developers including 1x2 Gaming, AGS, Ainsworth Game Technology, Gaming Realms and Reflex Gaming among others, according to press materials.

“Partnerships like this one with GVC, which owns such powerful brands as Ladbrokes, Coral, bwin, partypoker, Sportingbet, PartyCasino and Foxy Bingo, are exactly why we acquired Gameiom,” said David Lopez, AGS president and CEO. “Through our powerful iGaming Platform, we will provide GVC with robust and secure delivery of AGS and third-party slot content for an incredible online and mobile player experience that truly gives GVC an edge in the competitive real-money gaming space.”

“As a real-money gaming aggregator, AGS, with the recent acquisition of Gameiom, already has an impressive portfolio of content and is committed to bringing on more high-quality suppliers to ensure we give our customers an exciting player experience and diverse library of games and play features,” said Andy Whitworth, GVC head of content and commercial management. “That, coupled with AGS’s robust, scalable and easily integrated iGaming Platform, gave us the confidence to enter into such an important agreement that we expect to grow with time.”

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG): GiG has launched its first in-house developed game, Wild Reels, under the new product line GiG Games, part of GiG’s casino services. According to press materials, the game has been launched initially onto GiG’s own internal operators as a soft launch, which means the game is still in a testing phase. Full launch is expected to follow as soon as the game performs to GiG’s high standards. This is normal procedure when launching a new game and follows GiG’s launch plan, according to the company. As part of this launch, GiG obtained its MGA license for games.

GiG Games has been in development for the past year. The games studio develops gaming products including slots and table games. By adding GiG Games to its ecosystem of products and services, GiG is rapidly becoming a full-service solutions provider to the gaming industry and now covers the whole value chain within iGaming. 

Besides developing its own in-house games, GiG will also be allowing other games studios to build their games onto the GiG games platform.