New Database Breaks Down the $125 Billion Spent on iGaming Acquisitions

In a world where strategic mergers and purchases redefine the iGaming industry, online entertainment pulsates with transformation. We can now track the complete record of iGaming acquisitions thanks to the findings of an extensive research project published on Bojoko.com.

The database showcases how the iGaming industry has undergone significant changes since the first deal was made in 2001, moving from million-dollar acquisitions to billion-dollar mergers. 

iGaming companies have been traded for more than 125 billion dollars, while 2022 and 2023 set new records for individual sales, 53 and 77, respectively. 

In this article, we will examine key deals and trends to showcase a picture of where the iGaming industry has been and where it is today.

Exploring the Acquisitions

The report carefully outlines major acquisitions and mergers in the iGaming sector, each revealing strategic moves and reshaping the industry. From big companies absorbing startups to forming game-changing partnerships, the stories are diverse and captivating. Below are some highlights from the 24 years of iGaming acquisitions and mergers we have seen so far.

The First Deals

The journey of iGaming acquisitions started in 2001 when Sportingbet acquired Sportbook.com for $51 million. However, notable acquisitions were scarce until 2003. 

Back then, companies focused more on acquiring technology and platforms for online poker, casino games, and sports betting. Despite landmark deals like Lottomatica’s acquisition of GTECH for over $4 billion in the early 2000s, annual deal counts remained low.

Expansion and Dominance

As the iGaming sector grew, we started to see the shapes of a few select behemoths, eager to acquire the competition. In the late 00s, we saw the rise of Betsson, Kindred Group, 888, and GVC Holdings (now Entain), buying operator after operator to consolidate their dominance. 

Similar trends could be seen in the affiliate world, with GIG, Catena Media, and later Better Collective taking control. This shared dominance continued into the 2020s, when GIG purchased several key products from Catena Media, including their flagship, AskGamblers.

The biggest mover and shaker on the game developer front was Scientific Games, now called Light & Wonder. They made some of the biggest deals on the record, including purchasing Bally Technologies for over $5 billion in 2014 and WMS for $1.5 billion in 2013. Another massive consolidation of power in this sector came when Evolution Gaming acquired NetEnt for $2.1 billion in 2020.

The Biggest Merger

The biggest iGaming merger occurred in 2015 between Paddy Power and Betfair, marking a significant event in online betting. This union created Paddy Power Betfair, a powerhouse with over 7,000 employees, blending Irish and UK strengths for online betting dominance. With a sale price of £5B ($7B), the merger solidified its position as a key player in the industry.

The Biggest Acquisition

Brookfield Business Partners’ acquisition of Scientific Games Lottery stands as the biggest non-merger deal. Recognizing Scientific Games’ potential, Brookfield set the stage for growth and innovation, highlighting the opportunities in the iGaming industry in the 2020s. With a sale price of $5.8B, this acquisition underscores the strategic investment made by Brookfield and the significant value attributed to Scientific Games Lottery within the market. Note that this was not a purchase of Scientific Games, which continues its market dominance as Light & Wonder.

Notable Surge in Acquisitions in the 2020s

The iGaming industry has witnessed significant growth in mergers and acquisitions, reflecting its dynamic nature. From 2020 to 2023, the sector experienced a remarkable surge in deals.

In 2020, there were 18 deals. The following year, 2021, saw a substantial jump with 53 transactions—a 194.44% increase. Then, in 2022, the industry peaked with 57 sales totaling $19,109.4 million. However, 2023, while still strong with 77 sales, saw a smaller increase in total sales at $7,223 million.

Overall, the 2020s witnessed about 211 acquisitions or mergers, totaling $49.3 billion. This growth is fueled by rising demand for online entertainment and digital gambling platforms.

How Does the Future Look for iGaming? 

The pace of iGaming mergers and acquisitions shows no signs of slowing down. Instead, the 2020s may witness even more significant transactions as companies race to adapt and expand into new markets. We already saw new sales records in 2022 and 2023, and nothing indicates that 2024 won’t follow this trend.

Only time will tell who the biggest movers and shakers of the 2020s will be, but we already see some names dominate the statistics. Entain has made 10 acquisitions in the past 3 years, including 6 in 2023. We can also see that 888, GIG, Better Collective, and other familiar names have made multiple acquisitions in the same time frame. 

The 2020s will likely be a pivotal time for the sector, and the continuously updated overview of iGaming Mergers and Acquisitions that Bojoko.com has provided will provide significant clarity in where the market is heading.


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