Why NetEnt has appeal to the US market

Published on the 2021-01-11

Over the 18 months, the US online gambling market has witnessed a significant amount of changes. The vast majority of these have come in the form of legislation being passed in a number of states to allow online gambling to take place.

While New Jersey and Nevada have allowed this activity for a number of years already, over the last 18 months we have seen states such as Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, and most recently Michigan pass legislation to allow online gambling, which includes in every form, such as sports betting as well.

The passing of such legislation has led to a huge amount of potential for gambling companies, whether new or old to be able to capitalise on what is one of the potentially most lucrative markets in the world. 

Already, we have seen a number of European companies starting to make in-roads into this market and while William Hill had made a preparatory strategic move there near the start of the last decade, this recently led to a full takeover by US gambling resort Caesars Entertainment, with the company keen to use the company’s vast portfolio of online gambling expertise to start to take a significant share of the available US market.

While there will no doubt be more operators - particularly new ones launching in the many number of states which have now passed legislative approval for online gambling, it is more than likely to take the vast majority of them a significant amount of time to build up their reputation, though there are definitely factors that they can leverage that are sure to help them. It is obvious why NetEnt would stand out to US gambling firms. 

The software provider comes with a sterling reputation having been launched in 1996 and already has award winning products as well as some of the best expertise at its disposal in the industry. This is reflected in the software providers’ more than impressive client list which includes some of the biggest operators in the industry.

What is perhaps already a potential selling point is that there are already a considerable amount of slot games that are very popular with US based players, thanks to these appearing in land based casino resorts such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.  Furthermore, some software providers who develop some of these titles have already begun forming strategic alliances with companies that are based in the US.

For example, NetEnt has already partnered with Pennsylvania based gambling firm Rush Street Interactive in a bid to help gain a significant presence, especially in a state which has a strong online gambling element. It has seen NetEnt software appear on a number of the US company’s websites such as BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse, with jackpot slots in particular, proving especially popular. 

Richard Schwarz, President of Rush Street Interactive was bullish about the potential of the partnership at the time: “We are excited to partner with NetEnt Group to be the first online operator in Pennsylvania to bring these top-quality Red Tiger casino games to our players. 

“To also be the first to debut Red Tiger slots in the US is thrilling, and we have no doubt that these already proven online casino games will quickly become favorites for our players.”

Meanwhile, Brain Kraft, the NetEnt Vice President for Commercial Americas followed up: 

“We’re proud to have reached this milestone of entering the US market with Red Tiger content, particularly while working to deliver the project in such an accelerated fashion. This progress really demonstrates the capabilities of NetEnt Group. 

“Given the success we’ve had with NetEnt games I expect this important addition to further strengthen our position as market leader in the US and we’re delighted to be launching with Rush Street Interactive, a market leader in their own right. Looking ahead, we will aim to expand Red Tiger games into further regulated states in the coming months.”

Furthermore, this was in addition to the software provider agreeing a commercial deal with West Virginia gambling firm Bet MGM in September. 

Kraft at the time of this deal was highly bullish about the potential that this could have for NetEnt’s growth in such a key market: “BetMGM’s rapid success in the US has been impressive and shows no signs of slowing down, making this a significant deal for our company as we continue to expand across the country.

“Thanks to the strong performance of our games locally, the U.S. is now a major revenue driver for NetEnt and we look forward to working with BetMGM to accelerate growth of both our businesses.”

Matthew Sunderland, VP Gaming at BetMGM, said: “We have already seen great success with NetEnt content in New Jersey. Their team really understand what appeals to gaming customers and I am positive this will serve as a major advantage as we strengthen our existing casino offering in West Virginia.”

What US expansion means for NetEnt

Following their merger with Evolution Gaming, there is talk in the industry that this move was partly in preparation to capitalise on the growing US market. The partnership that NetEnt was able to secure with Rush Street Interactive effectively laid the groundwork for this and as a result, it means that having the expertise of Evolution Gaming alongside them that their presence should quickly increase in the US market.

In addition to this, this could quickly help them to steal a march on their rivals. Already having presence in two key states will mean that US players will have built up a firm knowledge of NetEnt products long before the company’s rivals move in and attempt to try and take a grip on the US market. 

Also, having premises in the US will also help to strengthen the software provider’s credibility. This means that new operator sites that launch will know that NetEnt are there to stay and the potential for further commercial deals in the US market could possibly be very lucrative for the company. 

It could also even lead to the development of more products in line with what the US market like, such as more and bigger jackpot slots, especially due to their merger with Evolution Gaming.

This is certainly a market to watch for NetEnt who will be aiming to fly out of the blocks in 2021 as they attempt to secure a stranglehold on what is arguably one of the fastest growing industry market in the world.