Play’n GO’s Magnus Olsson: ‘Our approach to the US is strategic and long-term’
“We’re not here to just win a couple of games, we want to bring home the trophy at the end of the season.”
As we gear up for one of the biggest US-focused events of the year, G2E Las Vegas, taking place next month at the world-famous Venetian casino resort on the fabled Strip, the iGaming industry’s focus will be firmly placed on the North American market and exploring ways to support its growth.
With a steady flow of new states opening up across the country over the past few years, interest in the region has never been higher.
We caught up with Magnus Olsson, Chief Commercial Officer at Play’n GO to find out what he sees for the future of this market, the key growth drivers, and, also, how he envisions Play’n GO’s position developing in this market going forward.
As we approach the final quarter of the year, what are some of the highlights?
“It’s been yet another landmark year for Play’n GO, as we continue to build upon our reputation as the casino entertainment partner of choice in regulated markets worldwide.
“Picking out highlights is tough as it has been such a busy 2023. But, if I were forced, I’d say our progress in the US has been extremely exciting. We only entered the regulated US space with our first licence (for Michigan) in July 2022. Barely a year later and we’re now also licensed in New Jersey, West Virginia and Connecticut. And we’ve gone live with several powerhouse operators, including BetMGM and PokerStars. We’re still at the start of our US adventure, but the speed at which we are progressing is breathtaking.
“Elsewhere, we also delivered record figures in key global markets like Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. We added some key operators in these markets and others to cement our position and grow our share across the board. As ever, our games proved to be very popular among players, in no small part thanks to innovative features, engaging themes and high-quality graphics.
“Speaking of games, we released around 50 titles this year, including Legion of Gold and my personal favourite, Pilgrim of Dead. These games showcased our creativity and diversity, as well as our ability to cater to different tastes and preferences.
“We also broke new ground with the launch of our first ever game in the land-based environment, bringing the world’s most popular online slot, Book of Dead, to UK retail with William Hill. It’s another milestone in the history of Play’n GO, and one we’re going to be expanding upon over the coming months and years.”
What would you say has been the key to such a successful 2023?
“As always, it’s all about our people. Maybe I’m biassed, but I’d say we have the most creative, hard-working and downright brilliant group in the business. Without the team, none of this would be possible.
“Another important factor that’s set us apart from competitors is the strength of our values. We’ve always believed games should be focused on the entertainment element, and as markets worldwide are brought into the regulatory fold, this has put us in a really strong position. Regulators, operators and, most importantly, the public share our vision for an iGaming future that is safer and more entertaining.
“The level of trust we’ve built with our partners also creates opportunities to head in innovative new directions. I already mentioned our land-based work with William Hill, and there was also Winged Reelers, our collaboration with PokerStars and the Detroit Red Wings NHL team.
“Then, of course, there are the games themselves. I believe our titles are the most entertaining in the industry and, put simply, players appreciate it. It’s why many of these games have such longevity and continue to deliver great value, sometimes years after release.”
You mentioned earlier about the US success. As the industry begins to turn its eyes to Las Vegas, can you tell us about Play’n GO’s approach to the US? It was noticeable that Play’n GO wasn’t the first supplier to enter the market.
“Our approach to the US has been strategic and long-term. We have not rushed into entering the market, but rather focused on direct integrations with key operators who value our quality content and share our vision.
“We have certified the bulk of our portfolio, ensuring that we have a wide range of games available for players in regulated states. We have also focused on building long-term, sustainable partnerships, and we believe that our approach will pay off over the coming years. We’re not here to just win a couple of games, we want to bring home the trophy at the end of the season.”
What’s ahead in the US for Play’n GO? What’s the vision and what do you think the scale of the business can be?
“We have a clear vision for the US market: to create content that entertains and excites the players.
“We know we have the capacity to consistently develop high quality games, both for general network release as well as bespoke, exclusive content for our partners. Almost all our games have unique math models, enhanced mechanics, and unmatched audio and video.
“We also support good, healthy regulation that keeps players safe without channelisation. Sustainable growth and a focus on entertaining games is a powerful combination in those US states that have introduced regulatory frameworks, and we’re encouraged to see others following our example.”
What will 2024 hold for Play’n GO?
“It’s going to be another big year for all of us at Play’n GO. We’re happy with our progress, but honestly building these games and bringing them to players around the world is our passion. We’re only happy when we’re finding new ways to do exactly that!
“This means expanding our presence in the US, adding state licences where possible and partnering with more great operators. Beyond the stateside operation, we are licensed in more than 25 regulated markets globally and we know we need to continue to deliver quality if we are to maintain our position at the top of the pile.
“Thankfully our 2024 roadmap is already looking stronger than ever, balancing innovation with more classic Play’n GO content. We know it won’t disappoint.”
Finally – what will G2E look like for Play’n GO? With so many shows on the global calendar, how does Play’n GO decide where to be and why?
“Firstly, we’re excited to be sponsoring the ‘Product Innovation of the Year’ category at this year’s Global Gaming Awards. It’s the 10th anniversary of the awards, and they have always done a fantastic job in recognizing the best of the best.
“More broadly, G2E has become an increasingly important event for Play’n GO, particularly as we grow our US footprint. It’s not just a great opportunity to catch up with partners, we also appreciate the chance to listen and learn from those doing interesting things across the country.
“Attending these events is important for us, but it’s even more important that we see tangible results from our attendance. We want to come with more than just our mere presence. Conferences like G2E are a great opportunity for us to showcase our products and our strategy, to show that we offer an exciting, sustainable form of content that will keep players coming back for more. Getting face time with our current partners and customers, as well as prospective ones, gives us the opportunity to improve those relationships immeasurably.”
After speaking with Magnus, it’s clear that the US offers a fantastic host of opportunities for Play’n GO and other gaming companies alike.
It’s also apparent that a long term approach is vital for sustainable success. Being able to navigate the fast-evolving regulatory landscape will take endurance and deep resources, something that Play’n GO is built for. The support from strategic partnerships and an extensive catalogue of high quality games could prove to be the key success factors going forward in the US.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Play’n GO and for this exciting region.