Rhode Island senators have passed a bill that paves the way for the legalisation of live table games and online slots in the US state.

The bill has now been forwarded to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

If approved, the proposed legislation will take effect on 1 January 2024.

Bally’s, the sole operator of casino gambling in Rhode Island, had been actively advocating for the bill.

The company had raised concerns regarding the potential impact of online sports betting in neighbouring Massachusetts on Rhode Island’s online sports betting revenue.

Bally’s had emphasised that such an impact would also affect the state’s gaming tax allocation.

Details of the bill

Currently, Bally’s holds a monopoly on casino gambling within Rhode Island and runs the state’s two physical casinos, Bally’s Twin River Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton.

The bill, sponsored by president of the senate Dominick Ruggerio, allows Rhode Islanders over the age of 21 to access existing live dealer table games at Bally’s Twin River remotely via a computer or a mobile app.

The “simulcast”, or live dealer, proposal came in response to concerns that Bally’s initial iGaming plan could legally be considered a gambling expansion, which would require statewide voter approval.

Players would have to be located within the state when they play. Online lottery and sports betting is still available to those aged 18 or older.

“This iGaming legislation is constitutional, is geared to mature users, contains education provisions for problem gamblers, and preserves the revenue allocation percentages as they are currently in place,” Ruggerio said.

According to a study commissioned by Bally’s, the state could benefit to the tune of $210m in tax dollars over the first five years of operations.

However, a state-commissioned report carried out by Christiansen Capital Advisors LLC put that figure at around $160m.

iGaming momentum

Rhode Island, the smallest US state by area and the seventh-least populous, has slightly under 1.1 million residents.

Although it may not have been on the industry’s radar, experts in the iGaming field highlight the broader significance of this bill in terms of facilitating wider market adoption.

While the state wasn’t initially a priority for the industry, the news is certainly welcomed, especially during a period of slowed-down state openings.

Catena Media CEO Michael Daly recently commented: “The North American market is still relatively early in its growth cycle and process, with many states and provinces yet to open for online sportsbook, and many more for online casino.”

Daly expects a temporary slowdown in state openings due to the US federal election cycle but anticipates a resumption and potential acceleration of state launches once a new legislative cycle begins in 2025.

Each month, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG) releases its US-focused Online Game Performance Report alongside Fantini Research.

Gathering data directly from operators across 30 websites, the report provides an in-depth recap of US online casino and iGaming performance.

Below are some of the latest standout market figures, through to April 2023, presented in partnership with iGaming NEXT.

GGR trends by supplier

A new addition to the report this month sees trends in the percentage of GGR attributable to individual suppliers tracked month-on-month.

Both Evolution and IGT have been seen to lose market share as an overall percentage of GGR since last year.

Evolution’s share climbed as high as 26.5% in November and December 2022, but now sits at 22.1%, the lowest figure recorded since May 2022.

IGT meanwhile once held as much as a 21% share, but now accounts for around 17.4% of the GGR tracked by the report.

Light & Wonder has been able to maintain its market share on a more consistent basis. The supplier’s total share has fluctuated between 14.8% and 17.2% over the tracked period, but currently sits at 16.2%.

EKG suggested the drop in share for Evolution and IGT could be explained by the growing amount of table game and video poker content being developed in-house by operators, with those verticals making up a greater proportion of the suppliers’ market share than for L&W.

Still, the ‘internal’ category of operators’ proprietary games has also seen a slight decline over the months, with a share of GGR once as high as 9.7% now sitting at 8.2%.

One company which is on a clear upward trajectory is Everi, whose share has grown from 5.4% to 9% in the latest report, its highest ever achieved level.

Digital Gaming Corporation also saw a record share in the data up until April, with the supplier taking around 7.5% of GGR.

Top games by GGR

After storming to the top spot in last month’s report with 2.13% of overall GGR, Digital Gaming Corporation’s Gold Blitz slot disappeared from the top game rankings as quickly as it arrived.

IGT’s Blackjack found itself firmly in the top spot once again, with 2.12% of all iGaming GGR, up from 1.85% last month.

L&W’s 88 Fortunes slot was able to marginally increase its share from 1.61% to 1.64%, but shot up to second place from fourth as a result of market share losses in other top-ranked titles.

Evolution’s Live Dealer Roulette’s share, for example, slipped from 1.98% in second place to 1.62% in third, while IGT’s Cash Eruption fell from 1.58% to 1.51%, although the slot did move up from fifth to fourth place.

IGT’s Cleopatra slot made significant gains, moving from eighth place with 1.28% of GGR to fifth with 1.43%, while Everi’s Cash Machine jumped from 10th to sixth as its share of GGR grew from 1.16% to 1.31%.

Changes in the latest rankings reflect a general trend towards top titles holding smaller proportions of overall GGR as time goes on, with spend being spread across a broader range of games.

The top 25 titles combined accounted for 24.8% of overall GGR, down from 27.14% in the previous report.

Of the 25 top spots, Evolution held 10, IGT held five, L&W had four, Everi and Reel Play each held two, with Digital Gaming Corporation and AGS each holding one.

GGR by supplier and game type

This chart helps to break down the product mix of the leading iGaming suppliers in the US.

In the slots category, Evolution’s overall market share took a hit, falling from 16.71% to 15.68% between last month’s report and this one.

Both L&W and IGT, meanwhile, managed to increase their share of slots GGR, from 18.94% to 19.02% and from 15.24% to 16.31%, respectively.

That meant IGT overtook Evolution to become the second biggest slots supplier in the report by GGR.

Everi also managed to gain share in fourth place, as its share of slots GGR grew from 10.68% to 11.39%. The proportion of slots revenue going to operators’ proprietary internal titles also grew from 5.18% to 5.91%.

Operators’ internal games also brought about the biggest change In the table games category, as their share of GGR grew from 29.49% to 34.23%.

That increase came at the expense of all four table games suppliers included in the report.

IGT’s share of the vertical slipped from 30.33% to 29.95%, Evolution’s fell from 22.83% to 19.22%, L&W’s dropped from 13.32% to 12.75%, while Gaming Realms’ share fell from 3.83% to 3.58%.

Proportion of the market included in the report

Eilers & Krejcik includes a vast quantity of data in its reports, covering some 59% of the US iGaming market and now tracking almost 44,000 separate game titles every month across 30 online casino sites.

The growth in the number of games tracked by the firm, as well as the number of online casinos available to US consumers – from just a handful in recent years to more than 40 today – demonstrate the growth of regulated online casino products across the US.

With legalised iGaming available in just a few states, however, the data included in this report shows the beginning of the vertical’s growth trajectory, which will be further driven by the introduction of new legislation and regulation across additional US states in the months and years to come. 

For a month-on-month comparison, you can read the April Online Game Report write-up here.

If you are interested in learning more, subscribing, or participating in the Eilers-Fantini Online Game Performance Database, reach out to Rick Eckert at reckert@ekgamingllc.com.

CEO Charles Gillespie believes Gambling.com Group’s new Casinos.com brand has the potential to surpass the value of its flagship domain.

Topline numbers

Gambling.com Group has generated record 107% year-on-year revenue growth to $21.3m in Q4 2022.

The affiliate business saw a 364% year-on-year increase in North American revenue to $10m due to a strong growth in New Depositing Customers (NDCs).

Revenue in the UK and Ireland grew 54% to a quarterly record $8.1m.

In Q4 2022, the group generated $6.9m of adjusted EBITDA, at a margin of 32%.

For full-year 2022, revenue grew 81% to $76.5m. Adjusted EBITDA reached 24.1m, at a margin of 31%.

Gambling.com said it delivered over 273,000 NDCs, representing growth of 133% compared to 2021.

News nugget

CEO Charles Gillespie said the US will remain the company’s primary growth driver for 2023.

North American revenue is expected to account for most of the Group’s income this year, complemented by continued growth in more mature markets outside North America.

During the earnings call, Gillespie also pointed to the growth potential of the group’s recently acquired Casinos.com domain.

“We are very optimistic about the potential for this new project, particularly as it relates to customer acquisition for iGaming operators,” he said.

“The iGaming market in Europe is significantly larger than the sports betting market, and we expect the same will be true for North America as more jurisdictions come online.

“In our view, the long-term strategic value of this domain could surpass Gambling.com,” he added.

The formal launch of the website is expected this summer.

Gambling.com Group CEO Charles Gillespie: “The iGaming market in Europe is significantly larger than the sports betting market, and we expect the same will be true for North America as more jurisdictions come online.”

Gillespie added that he anticipates Q1 2023 to be another record quarter for the group.

“Our recent launches in Maryland, Ohio and two weeks ago in Massachusetts offer great evidence of the return we generate from our strategy to invest in premium domains and the new websites ahead of the launch of sports betting in any new state.

“We have had great early success in each of these markets led by our Bet Maryland, Bet Ohio and Bet Massachusetts properties,” he said.

Gillespie stressed that although several states in the US are considering sports betting and iGaming legislation during the current legislative season, the company is not expecting any additional states to legalise either activity in 2023.

However, the group’s long-term outlook for broad-based expansion of regulated online gambling in North America remains unchanged.

“We continue to expect states to regulate online sports betting where retail sports betting exists and states that have online sports betting to move towards regulated iGaming.

“And we continue to believe that we will grow our market share in the states we are already active in as we further refine and optimise our websites,” he concluded.

Best quote

 CFO Elias Mark commented on the outlook for the business in 2023:

“Our primary focus on organic growth remains unchanged.

“For the first two months of the year, we have not seen any deterioration of customer or consumer demand for online games. From our perspective, demand for performance marketing services for the online gaming industry remains strong.

“Our value proposition is enhanced as online operators continue to rationalise their marketing spend towards channels with tangible ROI.”

Best question

Truist Securities’ managing director Barry Jonas questioned CFO Mark on his views of the current M&A environment. Mark replied:

“We continue to be extremely active on the M&A front. We spend a lot of time examining deals, capital investigating the feasibility of various things, and looking at deals of all different shapes and sizes.

“We also remain as picky as ever. However, that doesn’t mean we are not doing the work in the background to evaluate everything we can.

“I think expectations from sellers have become slightly more rational. But having said that, the cost of capital has gone up pretty significantly, so it’s different, which is both a bit of a positive and a negative.

“But as I’ve said, we are very actively considering things that we think would create shareholder value.”

Current trading & outlook

For 2023, Gambling.com Group expects to post revenue in line with estimates.

The company projects to generate revenue between $93m and $97m, which represents year-on-year growth of 22% to 27%.

Additionally, the company expects adjusted EBITDA to range between $32m and $36m, reflecting a growth of 33% to 50%.