The gambling giant’s online division is the result of mega mergers with Bally Technologies and Williams Interactive. And with its rich history in land-based casino gaming, players will be familiar with many of the slots in its portfolio, which have been retro-fitted for online play.
Scientific Games is one of the largest land-based and online casino game developers and platform manufacturers in the world. The company we all know today has been forged through a string of acquisitions that culminated in Scientific Games acquiring Bally Technologies for $3.3 billion back in 2014.
Prior to their mega-merger, both companies had previously swallowed up several smaller – but still mighty – businesses. Scientific Games acquired WMS Industries (including its Williams Interactive division) while Bally took over SHFL Entertainment (formerly Shuffle Master), creating two behemoths in their own right.
By joining forces, Bally and Scientific Games became the king of the jungle overnight, and have a particularly strong presence in the interactive space. It offers products across all the key verticals – casino, table, poker, bingo, social, lottery, land-based – and is responsible for some of the most popular games of all time.
The company is headquartered in Las Vegas, and has offices all over the world, employing some 8,400+ people. In the hot seat is Kevin Sheehan, who replaced former CEO Gavin Isaacs in 2016. Isaacs is now VP of the Board of Directors, and was previously CEO of SHFL Entertainment and, prior to that, COO of Bally.
When it comes to online, Scientific Games has a portfolio packed with more than 200 slots and table games. Its development studios have churned out smash hits such as Rainbow Riches and Raging Rhino, but the company also holds licensing agreements with some of the most recognisable brands in the world.
To remain ahead of the curve, it has positioned itself as a leader in omni-channel play; its games are now developed in HTML5, which means they can be rolled out across all channels (land-based, desktop and mobile) simultaneously and offer a seamless and consistent experience to players.
The supplier’s games are a staple in most UK-facing online casinos, which is testament to their quality and appeal among players. The developer may not be as innovative and boundary-pushing as some of its younger rivals, but it has cracked the code when it comes to making slots games that stand the test of time.
Scientific Games has a robust product portfolio, which covers slots, table games, poker, bingo and lottery. It also offers social casino via its Jackpot Party and Gold Fish Casino brands. Slots are its strength, and players will recognise many of its games from the floors of land-based casinos all over the world.
The supplier’s slots portfolio current stands at 210 games and counting. It is not the largest on the market – Microgaming is heading towards 800 and Playtech 500 – but many of its titles are casino-lobby staples; proven player favourites that have been around in one variation or another for many years.
In some regards, its in-house studios have created their own franchises. This is particularly true of its Rainbow Riches brand, which is available in several variants including Reels of Gold, Leapin’ Leprechauns, Pick’n’Mix, and Free Spins. Zeus is another that has many spin-off titles.
Scientific Games also holds licensing agreements with a roster of entertainment brands. This has seen it launch titles such as MONOPOLY, Michael Jackson, Titanic, Kiss, Bruce Lee, Playboy, and Wonder Woman. It has just signed a licensing deal to develop James Bond slots, but only for land-based and social play at present.
Its games boast bold graphics and authentic sound, but, as is often the case with more established suppliers, lack the visual punch of some of their younger rivals (Yggdrasil Gaming, Quickspin, Red Tiger Gaming). The focus, instead, is on the maths and mechanics, and making sure the numbers add up.
In this regard, Scientific Games is something of a maths wizard. In recent years, it has brought to market several innovations; this includes its smash hit Colossal Reels as well as Reel Boost, Supercharged Reels, Big Bet, Side Bets, Random Jackpots, and Play When Ready Bonuses.
These features really help to drive player engagement, and turn the fun factor up to full. So, while the supplier’s slots may not be as visually stunning as others on the market, Scientific Games has found the formula when it comes to immersing players in the action and delivering significant added value.
When it comes to table games, the supplier offers titles for poker, roulette and blackjack. It has leveraged its MONOPOLY licensing agreement to roll out two themed titles: Hot Properties and Tycoon roulette. In addition, its Barcrest subsidiary adds another 14 titles, including Jacks or Better and Prime Pairs Blackjack.
Scientific Games acquired Barcrest from rival IGT for £35 million back in 2011. Aside from the addition of table games, the UK-based supplier also bolstered SciGames’ slots production line, adding titles such as Dr. Jekyll Goes Wild, Monty’s Millions, and Call of Fruit to its portfolio.
Given its omni-channel approach, much of its innovation has come via its technology and platforms, rather than jaw-dropping in-game features. Of course, the supplier has released unique mechanics – like its Colossal and Supercharged Reels mentioned above – but the real breakthroughs have been in how players access its games.
At the centre of this is the SG Universe; this allows land-based casino operators to offer real money and social casino products to their players via desktop and mobile. In addition, its game server delivers its entire portfolio of online slots and table games to operators via a single integration.
These may not seem like huge milestones to players, but particularly the latter is a key reason why so many online casino operators stock Scientific Games titles.
What’s more, as the lines between real world and digital play continue to blur, the supplier will be in the driving seat to offer its players the best experience.
A key strand of its omni-channel offering is mobile. The idea behind this approach is to give players access to Scientific Games content regardless of channel or platform, so mobile is very much the cornerstone of this. As such, all the supplier’s new games are now developed and launched in HTML5.
This means the can be accessed from any smartphone or tablet device, regardless of operating system or browser. More than half of its desktop game portfolio is available to mobile players, with the remainder being gradually migrated over to HTML5 in the coming months.
It is easier for younger developers to offer substantial mobile game portfolios. Many have been developing in HTML5 from the get-go, so haven’t had to worry about time-consuming migrations from Flash/other development platforms to HTML5. SciGames has reacted quickly, and has done a great job of growing its mobile proposition.
Our top three Scientific Games games
Scientific Games has a decent selection of games to choose from, across a variety of themes – some original, some branded – and with an array of interesting features and bonus rounds.
Knowing what to play first can be difficult, so below is Jackpot.co.uk’s top three.
1. Rainbow Riches
20 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
Rainbow Riches is a blockbuster, and one of Scientific Games’ most successful game launches to date. Set against a purple background with a rainbow stretching across the reels, it is packed full of Irish charm. Symbols include leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold. The game offers two bonuses – Road to Riches and Wishing Well. The former is activated when three or more leprechaun symbols land on the reels, and offers a spin on the Wheel of Fortune. The latter is triggered by three or more wishing-well scatter symbols; players click on one of the wells to reveal a multiplier. All told, it’s a fun, and funny, game.
2. Raging Rhino
4,096 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
Raging Rhino takes players on an adventure to the African savannah, where they find themselves surrounded by wildlife. The game features innovative maths and mechanics that deliver 4,096 different ways to win. The main feature of the game is free spins, which are unlocked by landing three or more diamond symbols on the reels. Free spins range from 8 to 50, depending on the number of diamond symbols landed. If the tree Wild symbol lands on reels 2 to 6, it will transform into 2x or 3x Wild multipliers if they form part of a winning combo. Land these Wilds with a couple of rhino symbols and you’ll be raging all the way towards a massive win.
3. Wonder Woman Gold
40 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
This is one for superhero fans. Wonder Woman Gold features action scenes and iconic music from the original TV series starring Lynda Carter. It comes packed with exciting features including Expanding Wilds and Mystery Stacks, and five bonus games. In the free game bonus feature, players can even choose their volatility with the option of three free spin scenarios. They can take more free spins in exchange for fewer low-value symbols being turned into high-value symbols. In addition, players have the option to buy into the bonus feature. All told, it’s a fun game that leverages a bold and vibrant superhero theme.
Scientific Games stands out from the crowd based on its sheer size alone. By joining forces with Bally Technologies, a true industry behemoth was born, and since then it has gone from strength to strength – and that applies to both its land-based and interactive businesses.
When it comes to online, the supplier has a solid game portfolio across slots, table, poker, bingo, social and lottery. Its slots and table games often go on to top the charts, and have dominated the game lobbies of online casino operators for years on end. The secret to its success – quality.
The supplier’s games are not the most graphically advanced, but they are robust and reliable, and often feature smart maths and mechanics that add significant value to the player. It has also established itself as a leader on mobile, with more than half of its game portfolio available to players on smartphone and tablet devices.
In many regards, it really does put the science into gaming. It is an approach that has worked well for the business, putting it in good stead to continue driving growth as it looks to position itself as an omni-channel supplier whose content can be accessed anywhere at any time and on any device.