IGT PlayDigital: Committing to RG and the environment

September 19, 2023
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Enrico Drago, CEO of IGT PlayDigital, speaks to Gaming America about its gameplan for expansion in 2024, and what sets IGT apart from other providers.

As more states embrace regulated sports betting and iGaming, what is PlayDigital’s game plan for entering those new markets?

IGT PlayDigital is well-positioned for expansion in the global iGaming market via our content portfolio and platforms, and in the US sports betting market via our PlaySports solution. We have the right systems, technologies and staff to move quickly on growth opportunities and expand into new markets. Over the last five-plus years, IGT PlaySports has quickly scaled its footprint in North America to more than 30 jurisdictions and over 90 sportsbooks.

This growth can be attributed to many factors, including the vast expertise of our team, the quality of our technology and PlaySports’ ability to serve a wide range of customers spanning commercial and Tribal casinos, lotteries, racetracks and B2C operators such as FanDuel Group.

The dedication and expertise of our iGaming team, coupled with the quality of the PlayDigital solution, has also propelled our iGaming leadership poigsition, particularly in North America. Last year’s acquisition of iSoftBet continues to help us meet our growth targets and bring casino games to players worldwide via our game aggregation platform that unlocks access to IGT PlayDigital’s native game library and more than 8,000 games by other content suppliers.

Our Remote Game Server (RGS) and our vast library of proprietary games, omnichannel titles and player-favorite licensed themes differentiate IGT PlayDigital and deliver meaningful value to our customers.

How have your current partnerships shaped the company’s 2023 trajectory?

H1 2023 was very strong for IGT PlayDigital, and I would expect that success to continue through the rest of the year. We’re grateful for our loyal customers, who partner with us to extract the most value from their IGT PlayDigital investments, and frequently communicate their goals and players’ demands. This dialogue enables us to tailor and evolve our products and services in meaningful ways that will help our customers achieve their short and long-term performance objectives, driving the sector forward.

For example, 2023 was a landmark year for PlayDigital and our longtime customer, BetMGM. In March we helped BetMGM launch Wheel of Fortune Online Casino in New Jersey, the first brand-led online casino in North America. Several months later, BetMGM was among the first operators in the country to offer players the Wheel of Fortune Triple Gold Gold Spin game, the first omnichannel Wide Area Progressive jackpot in the US.

When PlayDigital partners have customers who embrace innovation, amazing things can happen. Most recently, we announced the launch of a bespoke game for Caesars Palace Online Casino, Caesars Cleopatra. The game launched to much fanfare and high player interest. Similarly, IGT PlaySports continues to help FanDuel Group defend its position as America’s #1 Sportsbook.

As FanDuel’s retail sports betting partner for the US, we work side-by-side to ensure our technology stack is evolving in real time with changing player preferences and emerging market opportunities.

What do you feel differentiates IGT PlayDigital from other iGaming and sports betting suppliers?

IGT PlayDigital is backed by IGT’s legacy in the industry as a champion of Tribal gaming and innovation, as well as its decades of history as a responsible global supplier to gaming and lottery operators. This legacy gives operators confidence in PlayDigital’s ability to understand their goals, opportunities and challenges.

Long before iGaming and sports betting expansion, IGT’s commercial teams were earning the trust of operators worldwide and amassing player and industry insights. Online casino and sportsbook operators alike know that when they partner with IGT PlayDigital, they’re working with a company that prioritizes its customers’ success and operates with the highest standards in integrity.

More tactically speaking, our iGaming customers look to IGT PlayDigital to furnish games with the widest player appeal – games that got their start in land-based casinos. Storied games such as Cleopatra, Wheel of Fortune, Rich Girl and Double Diamond are titles that players actively seek out in casino environments and are comfortable playing.

We continue adding to that omnichannel momentum with games such as Money Mania and Prosperity Link – both coming soon to the PlayDigital portfolio. When it comes to sports betting, our entire PlaySports enterprise was built from the ground up for the US market.

Unlike some suppliers that transitioned an international team and technology stack, IGT PlaySports’ platform was designed specifically for the US market, has a Las Vegas-based trading advisory team and is led by one of the nation’s experts in the subject, Joe Asher.

How has the company pursued responsible gaming education and awareness in 2023, and what measures will PlayDigital take next year?

IGT prioritizes responsible gaming (RG) in all that we do, as it is a central element to our company-wide Sustainable Play initiative and underpins IGT’s approach to Positive Play. In addition to required employee training and long-standing relationships with leading research and advocacy groups, IGT maintains a publicly available Responsible Gaming Policy that outlines the company’s commitment and approach to RG.

We also embed a range of RG features into our products and solutions. Last year, IGT became the first US supplier to achieve Global Gambling Guidance Group’s responsible gaming accreditation for sports betting, making IGT certified in responsible gaming across all product segments.

Tell us about what PlayDigital has been doing recently for local communities. What programs or non-profits have you partnered with this year?

IGT is active in the communities where its employees live and work. The company supports a range of employee-driven programs, company-driven programs and our flagship community program, After School Advantage (ASA).

I encourage PlayDigital employees to participate in these programs whenever and however possible. Just recently, IGT achieved an impressive milestone in Rhode Island with its ASA program, a global program devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment, while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers.

In July, IGT sponsored its 350th ASA program with a new technology lab at a local community center in Providence, RI, home to one of IGT’s corporate offices and workplace of many PlayDigital employees. Similarly, the PlayDigital team in San Francisco has a special relationship with a local charity organization called Farming Hope.

The community-focused charity provides Bay Area families with farm-raised groceries, meals and other resources and my team in San Francisco genuinely enjoys supporting Farming Hope’s mission by donating their time and resources.

As more companies in the industry shift their focus to environmental preservation efforts, how does PlayDigital aim to address those issues?

Earlier this year, IGT introduced its Sustainable Play initiative. Sustainable Play represents IGT commitment to leading the gaming industry in global sustainability by celebrating our dedication to our people and planet.

Sustainable Play is broken into four key pillars that guide our sustainability efforts: valuing and protecting our people, advancing responsibility, supporting our communities and fostering sustainable operations. One way our customers might see this commitment in action is via IGT’s partnership with Treedom, which enables IGT to reduce waste created at trade shows by giving away trees in a virtual forest, instead of distributing branded plastic and paper promotional items.

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