Will Anything Change for the iGaming Powerhouse?

Will Anything Change for the iGaming Powerhouse?

When we look back at the earliest days of the iGaming industry, there’s often a lot of debate over who ‘built’ the sector. A handful of ‘internet’ casinos went live around the same time in the mid-1990s, and while Microgaming is usually credited with launching the first online casino games, such claims are sometimes disputed. 

Nonetheless, Playtech (formed in 1999) should be given its due for being one of the pioneers of the modern iGaming industry. From sports betting software to bingo, slots to live blackjack tables, Playtech has touched almost every facet of the online betting and gaming sector over the decades. Many of the biggest iGaming sites in the world use Playtech software, and it is considered the largest supplier of online casino architecture on the planet. 

Playtech Stocks Fluctuate

But if you have followed the fortunes of Playtech as a business recently, you’ll know it has been a bit of a roller-coaster. Playtech has a listing on the London Stock Exchange, and it is a constituent of the FTSE 250, as warrants the size of a global business. And yet, it has a tumultuous time on the stock market due to takeover speculation. As such, Playtech has seen its stock rise and fall. 

The latest bid is an interesting one, as it sees Eddie Jordan – you might remember him as the boss of the Jordan Formula One team – weighing up a bid. That has been positive for Playtech’s stock in recent days, although it’s not certain whether the former motorsport boss will get the deal over the line. 

Of course, we aren’t here to talk about stocks – what’s intriguing is whether Playtech will change if it gets a new owner. Players can relax, as the company’s popular games and products won’t disappear from the internet. In fact, it’s more about the direction of the company in terms of expansion. 

Playtech Could Change Its Business Model 

While it is speculative, one intriguing aspect of a new direction for Playtech might be how it licenses its products to casinos. To explain: Playtech has had a different business model than many of its competitors over the years, only providing games for sites that adhere to its policies on exclusivity. In short, to have Playtech casino games on your platform means that Playtech must be front and centre of your product. While those policies have been loosening in recent years, new ownership might mean there is wider availability for Playtech games. 

Another interesting area is the targeting of the American markets. Two rivals of Playtech – Evolution Gaming and Pragmatic Play – have both been gaining a foothold in the growing markets across the Atlantic. Evolution has ridden the wave of new regulations in the United States, whereas Pragmatic is becoming the go-to developer for Latin America. 

Playtech is present on both those continents, but new ownership could give it renewed vigour to flex its muscles. 

Beyond expanding current products, there is the opportunity in new technology, including those related to the metaverse. Playtech has been vocal about its belief in the possibilities of VR technology representing the next stage of casino evolution, so it will be worth keeping an eye on whether its new owners take that ball and run with it. 

Sparking a Potential VR Revolution

The potential for VR to completely change the online casino space is something Playtech has discussed on countless occasions. As have countless other big-name developers, but few have the skills, resources and pedigree to get the job done quite as they could.

To date, a handful on rudimentary VR gaming experiences have made their way into the online casino landscape.  For the most part, it’s been a case of standard online table games being given something of a VR makeover.  Everything has worked in the same way, only with the user donning a VR headset and enjoying a more immersive experience.

But this barely scratches the surface with what major names like Playtech have in mind for VR.  Ultimately, the goal (or so it seems) is to bring together the latest advancements in live-dealer gaming with those of VR technology.

The Best of Both Worlds?

Live-dealer gaming is great – perhaps the next best thing to actually being there in a casino. Even so, the whole thing is somewhat limited by the fact that you are still basically just staring at a screen. There’s more interaction and engagement, but it’s still not quite there in terms of realism.

Hence, adding a VR headset to the mix could radically transform the whole thing. All of a sudden, you’re not just looking at a live-dealer on screen, but actually sitting there at a virtual table, in all its 360° glory. Not to mention, position alongside other players from all over the world, who you can chat and interact with.

We could even reach a point where realistic avatars are used to portray our online presences in a whole new way.  Give it time and the combination of VR and live-dealer gaming really could recreate the traditional casino experience with 100% accuracy.

It might be a while before that happens, but you can bet your bottom dollar major names like Playtech are exploring every opportunity.

Final Thoughts…

In the end, whatever happens, Playtech will remain at the core of many of the most important iGaming platforms around the world. 

But new ownership means different possibilities, and that might be ultimately a boon for players and businesses who engage with these products. Not to mention, players in markets who have been traditionally overlooked by major developers, due to tight restrictions and regulations in their territories.

As more global markets get on board with the online gaming revolution, major names like Playtech are set for a bright and prosperous future – irrespective of who owns and operates them.

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Author: Clara Myers