July 1, 2022

SBC Leaders Magazine interview with Andrzej Hyla: Scope of US opportunity needs no introduction

In the Press

Interview | SBC Leaders Magazine | Andrzej Hyla

Wazdan’s Chief Commercial Officer looks at the state of play for the US market, unpacking some of the key opportunities presented for the games provider as it looks to solidify its North American standing.

For those of our US readers who are less familiar with Wazdan, can you explain more about your company and what it brings to the marketplace?

Wazdan has been focusing on slot development for more than a decade, boasting a portfolio of more than 150 HTML5, mobile-first titles built with player experience as the focal point.

Our game development philosophy is based on honesty, creativity and innovation. Ultimately, we want players to enjoy our content and operators to see tangible results from our games.

With a broad portfolio and 24 annual releases, we contribute to the modern igaming industry with our highly immersive games and innovative player engagement boosting tools and solutions, such as our flagship Cash Drop promo tool or cutting edge Volatility Levels feature. Our titles are certified in 20 jurisdictions worldwide, with more being added regularly, and can be played in 25 languages.

We proudly see ourselves as facilitators of our clients’ growth, which links with our business ethos. We know that we can only achieve this by providing our clients with bestin-class games, liaising with them to ensure they take our optimised titles for their target regions, and constantly expanding our top-tier player engagement suite.

You already have a significant presence in North America, having been certified to offer games in Michigan, New Jersey, Ontario and West Virginia. Can you talk us through the current state of play with each of those states?

The scale of the US opportunity is one that needs no introduction, and has also lived up to the hype. Revenues have increased to $3.71bn in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 139%, while we see companies active from both North America and further afield.

What is probably more exciting for all involved is that this growth showsno sign of slowing down. New Jersey is the number one state in terms of igaming revenue, with Michigan and Pennsylvania also topping the $1bn generated. These levels are so far unmatched by other states.

We already have 40 games certified for New Jersey, including the top-performing Power of Gods: Hades, and every month we launch new hits in the US. Our newest releases, Magic Spins and Sizzling Eggs will also be available soon for players in North America.

What is the status with Pennsylvania now – and what are the key features of this market that we need to know about?

Wazdan is currently on track to acquire its operational licence in Pennsylvania. Despite the state having the highest internet gaming tax rates (54% for online slots), it is still one of America’s fastest-growing markets, with revenues having nearly doubled in the course of just one year.

Pennsylvania legalised online gambling through the Expanded Gaming Act in 2017, and the Gaming Control Board has the authority to issue licences and regulate licence holders. Pennsylvania igaming stats show over $100m in GGR every month since March 2021. That puts the state among the leaders in online casino revenue, as only New Jersey and Michigan can say the same. With seven legal online casinos posting monthly gains in Pennsylvania, it’s one of the more stable and reliable igaming states.

What are your plans for the forthcoming SBC Summit North America event and what message will you be taking to delegates?

It is a show we’re very much looking forward to, and we’ll be exhibiting our products at booth 413. We’re proud to bring our internationally recognised titles and performance-boosting suite to the North American market, and we can’t wait to present them to the US and Canadian operators.

As a newer supplier into the US, we’re looking forward to providing a steady stream of fresh games to the market, with our customers in the US already benefiting from our leading games, such as Power of Gods: Hades.

We are licensed in New Jersey, West Virginia, and Michigan, as well as Ontario, Canada and will soon be entering Pennsylvania, while our games are also available through an exclusive partnership with Light & Wonder, ensuring even further reach. Innovation is our driving force. We’ll be showcasing our top performing slots and innovative engagement suite, including cutting edge in-game features, added-value promotional tools, and unique adjustable features.

A fresh and hugely effective addition to our engagement suite offering that we would like to bring attention to is the Collect to Infinity feature. It promises to please even the most demanding players, enhancing their experience through high immersion levels and amplifying casinos’ results. It is an excellent retention-boosting tool and is intended to drive revenue growth for partners.

In addition, we’re looking forward to showing how our unique Volatility Levels feature works as we maintain our commitment to innovation across our portfolio.

What has been the highlight of the year so far for Wazdan in the North American market?

It has been a really exciting year so far for us, with Wazdan being granted licences across three US states as well as in Ontario. We’ve also signed major deals with Light & Wonder and Rush Street Interactive.

In addition, we’ve been nominated for the prestigious SBC North America Awards, highlighting the recognition we’re starting to receive on the continent.

Our leading products have seen good uptake locally, with Power of Gods: Hades being nominated for the Best New Game title at the EGR North America Awards.

However, North America is a new market for us, and we are still identifying what will resonate effectively with its audience. We are certainly on the right track with our US portfolio, containing a mix of established content from our existing catalogue and innovative new games built with the flourishing US market specifically in mind.

And what are your thoughts on the outlook for Wazdan in the remainder of 2022? What company developments can we look forward to?

We’ve got a number of new titles coming out in July and August, including 9 Coins, Power of Gods: Valhalla, and Sizzling Kingdom: Bison, and we’re looking forward to releasing these thrilling games, packed with innovative features to increase engagement and playtimes.

Our Pennsylvania plans remain on track, with a number of strong conversations occurring as we’re set to achieve our licence in the state. On top of all of that, we continue to hire, so we’re set for an even bigger Wazdan team. It should be a very exciting second half of the year for us, and we can’t wait!

Interview originally published on SBC Leaders Magazine

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