iGaming Tracker: the growth of operator ‘own-brand’ games

First published iGaming Business, 4 August 2017
http://www.igamingbusiness.com/analysis/igaming-tracker-growth-operator-own-brand-games

This month, iGaming Tracker’s Ken Muir looks at how three operators are deploying the content developed by their own in-house games development units – Paddy Power Betfair’s Cayetano, Sky Bet’s Core Gaming and Ladbrokes Coral’s CR Games.

Scroll down to read Ken’s analysis and view the penetration of own-brand products across their main slots landing pages, how this has changed over the past 12 months, and the impact of M&A on the strategy.

Like Tesco, Halfords, Sports Direct, House of Fraser and countless other retailers, many betting sites have developed their ‘own brand’ products. The operator owns these brands themselves. Some of these brands have been developed in-house; some have been acquired.

This article will look at three UK betting companies who have developed their portfolio of own brand games. This is not unique to these three operators – GVC-owned bwin/PartyGaming is another example.

The use of these brands is not to be confused with casino sites or pages which are exclusive to a gaming brand such as Playtech or Microgaming. Suppliers use these own-brand games in conjunction with other slot games from multiple games suppliers.

The brands
Cayetano – Wholly owned and managed by Paddy Power Betfair PLC. Paddy Power acquired Cayetano in 2011. Cayetano are based in Bulgaria.

Core Gaming – Sky Betting & Gaming acquired Core Gaming in June 2016. The Solihull-based developer had worked closely with Sky for many years, supporting the operator on its mobile games.

CR Games – is Gala Coral’s in-house games studio. Based in Manchester, CR Games launched its first game Wild Magic in June 2015.

Own-brand coverage

Core Gaming
The chart below shows game-supplier distribution on Sky Vegas’ main landing page on 1 July 2017. Of the 38 games present, 46% of the games were from Core Gaming.

The page includes all the big titles such as ‘Starburst’ and ‘Rainbow Riches’, plus the latest hits such as ‘Naked Gun’. However 18 of the games were from Core, including ‘Reels of Fire’ which occupied the number one position.

This pattern with Sky Vegas is not new. The second visualisation below shows the same page on exactly the same date in 2016. As you can see, the design-supplier mix is almost identical, as is the percentage of games from Core Gaming.

Paddy Power
The visualisation below shows the game distribution by supplier for their ‘games’ page.

On 1 July 2016, 50% of their games were from Cayetano, an increase from 33% on 1 July 2016.

The merger between Paddy Power and Betfair in 2016 has also resulted in Betfair heavily featuring Cayetano content, as the visualisation of the Betfair Arcade below page shows.

CR Games
The Coral Games page has a large presence of supplier games such as SG Interactive, but also a significant share of their own-brand CR games. On 1 July 2017, 25% of the page was made up of their own-brand games.

This is a big reduction from the same date in 2016 where 60% of the page was made up of CR games:

Since the Ladbrokes Coral merger, completed in October of last year, CR games have started to appear on Ladbrokes’ slots pages. On July 1 there were five games present on the Ladbrokes Vegas page; in July of last year there wasn’t any CR games content.

Are these games always exclusive?
Whilst some suppliers and games are exclusive to their owner-operator, Core Gaming content is spreading across many more sites, now being available on William Hill, Betsson and the IPS stable of bingo sites.

Advantages of own-brand games
Aside from the obvious advantage of cost, there being no revenue share to pay out of their GGR, there are other benefits to operators of having their own-branded games:

• Working closely with the operator allows the game developer to understand the customer base and give them the content they want
• Closer co-operation – working consistently with the same team will improve the efficiency and reliability of game launches and the product itself.
• Operators can still feature the high-profile games but make up the rest of the page with their own content.

Will own-brand games take over?
The evidence suggests they won’t. The content is there to complement the high-profile games that are being released by the big games developers. However it might influence the type of games being produced, with developers focusing on increasing the quality rather than quantity of games produced.

iGaming Tracker – how it works
iGaming Tracker tracks hundreds of casino sites worldwide every day. From this data it can ascertain which games are on which sites and where they are positioned on the pages. It can also measure the market share of casino games suppliers by percentage of “real estate” on casino sites at any given date.

For more information visit www.igamingtracker.com or email info@igamingtracker.com

How the data was compiled
Website pages were tracked daily from 1 May-30 June. If a site has multiple tabs (e.g. “Arcade” and “Vegas”), both pages are taken into account. “Table” games such as roulette and blackjack were excluded from the analysis.

Company brands were used, for example SG Interactive brands have been split into Bally, Barcrest and Williams. The analysis looks at the top 25 positions on each page only. Sites are tracked every 24 hours. The pages monitored for this analysis were desktop pages only.