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Top events and news in the iGaming industry in 2021

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The online casino industry dominates in 2021 with more acquisitions, new regulated markets and payment methods.


The year 2021 is nearing its end and to say it's been eventful, would be an understatement.

For the online gambling industry, 2021 was a year of acquisitions, new regulated markets, and cryptocurrency. Despite the curveballs it has been thrown, the industry continues to grow and surpass expectations.

Here are a few of the top new stories to take place in the iGaming industry this year.

Netherlands launch iGaming

The Netherlands is strict with online gambling and sports betting being illegal until early 2021. On 1 April 2021, the Remote Gambling Act became effective and online gambling became a possibility.

That being said, the Netherlands strives to create a gambling industry with healthy gaming habits where player safety is a top priority. With the regulated online gambling market now available only a select number of online casinos manage to survive the strenuous application procedure.

Before any casino is allowed to operate, it must meet a number of conditions and undergo strict testing. The KSA has approved a little over 10 operators for a Dutch license enabling them to serve the local client base and provide online casino games.

Acquisitions for all

This year has been rather busy in terms of acquisitions within the iGaming industry.

Caesars first bought William Hill for £2.9 billion with the primary goal of gaining access to the William Hill US betting business and technology. All other operator assets were put up for sale.

Many immediately showed interest in making a bid but in the end, 888 Holdings won the right to purchase William Hill for over £2.2 billion.

The deal is set to complete within the first half of 2022 and includes 1,400 betting shops in the UK.

Evolution dominates

In terms of acquisitions, Evolution Gaming has also been quite busy adding first, Big Time Gaming to their acquisition list and also NetEnt's buyout.

Evolution, the king of live casinos, is expanding its offering and the 2021 acquisitions are for the sole purpose of growing their online casino game library. The Big Time Gaming and NetEnt purchases go hand in hand with a focus on revitalizing the NetEnt portfolio.

Bally buys Gamesys

More recently, the UK Gambling Commission approved the $2.75 billion merger between Bally and Gamesys. The deal has no effect on the

Gamesys members operating licensed as the UK regulator states these remain intact.

The deal in itself is to increase growth for both boards within the US gaming market. Apart from business growth, it will enhance the player's experience.

Bitcoin legal for MGA operators

A big win for the industry in 2021 is the slow adoption of cryptocurrency in online casinos and sportsbooks. This goes beyond gaming studio acquisitions and crosses over into the payment method sector.

Cryptocurrency is growing in popularity, especially the use thereof in online casinos, which is why it is a great victory for it to be adopted as a legal tender and payment solution for MGA licensed operators.

El Salvador is the first to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender which has led to a conflicting response from industry officials and people across the globe.

The industry is back with a boom

The industry has been in limbo for a while due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown, and restrictions. Slowly but surely, the ice is melting and the industry is finding its feet with events and conferences among the first to return.

Of course, there are strict regulations and safety measures in place which include social distancing and a limit on the size of group events.

Despite the safety restrictions, the industry is roaring back to life with big wins already seen in Las Vegas casinos.

2021 has been a year for the books and there is high anticipation for what 2022 will bring to the table. It most likely includes more acquisitions, better gaming technology, and further enhancements within the industry which includes cryptocurrency adoption in more regions across the globe.

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