Major GTech US lottery rival, Scientific Games Corp. announced today it will be acquiring legendary US game maker, WMS Industries Inc. (WMS) for $1.42 billion in cash and debt. The announcement comes one day after WMS online casino software became available at venues other than Jackpot Party Casino, a gaming venue primarily facing UK customers. Nordicbet, Unibet, and Betsafe began running the WMS games in Beta mode on January 30, 2013. Player chatter on the forums seemed to be focused on expanded availability of the WMS games as well as increased return to player percentages in the base games with the elimination of the Jackpot Party Progressive element at the new casinos.
New York based Scientific Games Corporation was founded in 1984 and has over 3500 employees. They purchased the UK Fruity pioneer Barcrest from IGT in 2011 and have a strategic relationship with Playtech after disbanding their SciPlay joint venture in January 2012 and restructuring the agreement. The acquisition of WMS will allow them to immediately enter lucrative markets in arcade-type games, slots and video poker opened by WMS. Integration of server based games, online and on land should give them a solid advantage as GTech and Scientific Games continue to compete for their shares of the world gaming market across several diverse market sectors.
A quick ‘hip pocket’ comparison and analysis of lottery giants GTech and Scientific Games shows that although GTech is in a much better position cash and revenue wise, Scientific Games has an amazing and fleet ability to respond immediately to market forces, and change course when needed. This can be seen in their evolving relationships. GTech is however, a force to be reckoned with on many levels. Their depth and breadth of infiltration and dominance of many sectors from online gaming, to US licensed poker, to their Spielo International division’s expanding floor machine placement, as well as long term government lottery contracts worldwide assure their momentum and success in the coming years and decades.
In the ever-evolving online gaming universe some mergers and acquisitions such as Scientific Games buying WMS could be predicted and believed plausible by throwing a handful of colored darts at a postboard full of business cards. Others however, such as Gamesys taking over Virgin Games could probably never be predicted. Stay tuned as we explore the fascinating and dynamic world of casino software, gaming platforms, and lottery companies.