September 2, 2021 Interview

Catching Lightning

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Henry Moore spoke with Dylan Slaney, SVP Gaming at SG Digital, on the company’s recent acquisition of Australia-based developer Lightning Box and how the move fits with Scientific Games’ ambitions to become the world’s leading gaming company.

How does the acquisition of Lightning Box serve the long-term strategy for SG?

We have recently announced a new strategic intent for Scientific Games, this being the goal of becoming the world’s leading gaming company. As we speak we are going through a strategic review process to maximize our products growth potential. The new SG then, will be focused on creating world leading content powered by the best platforms we can find. Our digital iGaming business will play a pivotal role in this strategy and we want to create the best content for our players globally. Thus, Lightning Box is a great addition to our existing portfolio, they have games that resonate with players globally and for us this acquisition helps bring them fully into the Scientific Games family where we can help accelerate their growth as individuals, as teams and as a business.

Even with a longstanding partnership with Lightning Box, how does the acquisition accelerate what Peter Causley calls SG’s “ambitious product innovation plans”?

Lightning Box and Scientific games partnership goes back many, many years. We have recently launched Lightning Box content, along with our own proprietary content, in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and most recently in West Virginia, and for us Lightning Box will play a pivotal part in helping us innovate our product. Lightning Box has a tremendous collaboration process that they go through to build new content and we are looking forward to helping them scale that process up and grow. It is also important that we want to accelerate their growth by giving them access to the size and scale of what Scientific Games brings, whether that’s from our own IP’s or the 3.5bn rounds of data we collect every month, we want to bring them into our innovation process and help them grow.

The passion of Pete and Dave (of Lightning Box) has always been brilliant, their goal to make every spin matter is great to see and that’s why their company resonates with players globally, we are really excited to be working with them.

As the US continues to open markets, where does SG see the greatest potential?

There is a lot of focus on US at the moment and quite rightly so, the estimates being discussed for the size of the US market in 3-5 years are placing it as potentially the biggest iGaming market, so of course there is a huge interest in any market with a value of between $4bn and $8bn. We recently went live in West Virginia where we have seen tremendous growth. We have also just seen record iGaming numbers in July for our three  key states, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan, so it is clear there is still room for growth. For us in the US we want to get more of our land-based content into the market. We have just launched our Las-Vegas studio which is our first digital studio in the country and will focus on bringing our land-based products to market. We also believe there is a big market for more digital content, products that haven't seen the inside of a casino and Lightning Box will be key to this.  Overall there is a lot of potential in the US but it is also important we don’t lose sight of other markets; the UK is still our biggest and still the biggest global iGaming market. The Canadian market also has huge potential, as well as Latin America.

How do you see the growing symbiotic relationship between land-based and online evolving?

This is a question that we have been discussing internally for a number of months. Play convergence across social, land-based and digital iGaming channels is already happening. Players don’t just tend to play in one channel, we consume entertainment that way. Customers in our industry make the choices, they decide where and how they want to play and our role is to create the best experiences for players no matter how they choose to play. Ultimately each vertical has a key role to play and we certainly see convergence as one of the key enablers of our industry and business during the coming years.

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