Igaming Focus: Classic slots triumph in burgeoning US igaming markets By Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, CDC Gaming Reports September 25, 2020 at 1:55 pm The success of a raft of new online slots, which replicate popular elements of land-based games, indicates that operators don’t have to reinvent the casino to make it work online. Games supplier Everi has seen consistent success with its slots in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with several ranking in the top ten or even top five of operators’ most popular slots. Everi’s EVP of sales, marketing and digital David Lucchese says Cash Machine, a digital version of the supplier’s popular land-based game, is consistently in the top five even months after launch. Everi’s EVP of sales, marketing and digital David Lucchese “We have chosen to focus on certain types of content we believe is underrepresented in the market, content such as our deep catalogue of strong stepper titles. We have found that players have a strong liking to these classic games. We are addressing a need for this type of content in the market that wasn’t being satisfied before”, he says, reflecting on the positive reaction to the games. Everi will soon be launching its library of progressive content to igaming operators, “providing players yet another mechanic that isn’t currently found in many online slot titles,” Lucchese adds. But it’s not just a case of repackaging classic titles. To make them appeal online, Lucchese says developing a mobile-friendly platform is also critical. While he has no hesitation in characterizing Everi as focused “first and foremost on creating content our players will love on the land-based side of the business”, he sees Everi Digital as an extension of that core function. “We have found this content that targets the gambler in the casino is the same content our players enjoy seeing online as well. Put simply, we see the industry as one large gambling market broken up by different distribution channels”. As such, Everi Digital’s games take the best of its land-based portfolio and add a high-fidelity remote gaming server, crisp graphics and game-play suited to online players. In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Everi’s digital strategy seems perfectly timed. While bricks and mortar venues have suffered this year, igaming has reaped the rewards of lockdown and it’s easy to see how there would be a market for authentic slots games online. As CDC Gaming Reports’ figures reveal, total US igaming revenue has grown substantially since COVID-19 forced the closure of bricks and mortar venues in the spring. August 2020 saw igaming revenue from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia hit $145.1 million. Admittedly back in March, West Virginia was not yet part of the picture but, even with that taken into account, August was a significant increase on March’s $89.6 million. Lucchese foresees a bright future for US igaming, despite the pace of legislation. “We are excited the US is opening up more as we see this as a big positive for both players and operators,” he says. “While we certainly would like to see even faster growth in the US, we believe that with the success of the current states that allow it and given the budget deficits that are occurring due to COVID-19 that states’ legislators will look at online gaming as an additional revenue source as we enter 2021.” However, he accepts that it remains challenging for legislators to install appropriate regulatory and oversight agencies to enable igaming to operate within individual state’s laws. “We are confident states that have been able to do so will be the ones that will be able to guide states that are not currently participating through this process,” he adds. Certainly, Everi has expansion in mind for its online products. While Everi Digital’s products are currently live in the U.S. states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and internationally in Quebec (Canada) and Colombia, the company’s ambitions include launching in Michigan and West Virginia, along with additional Canadian provinces in 2021. Lucchese adds that the supplier also has its sights overseas on the UK and Europe.