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Online gaming supplier NetEnt has struck struck a content deal with German sportsbook Tipico for its digital debut in New Jersey.
Tipico is working toward the launch of its NJ online gambling site in partnership with Ocean Casino Resort. Per a press release issued last week, its app will feature NetEnt’s library from day one. These include classic games as well as popular video slot titles like Divine Fortune.
“We are excited to begin our partnership with NetEnt as we kick-off our expansion into the U.S.” said Adrian Vella, Tipico’s Managing Director for US Business. “With a proven track record in the regulated New Jersey market and their well-known catalog of branded games, we’re confident that our customers will love NetEnt’s offering.”
Americans may not be familiar with the Tipico brand, but the company is huge in Europe. Its head offices are in Germany, but it has branches in Austria, Croatia, Gibraltar, and Malta, plus a Latin American wing based in Colombia.
Tipico’s coming New Jersey launch represents an opportunity to get its feet wet in the emerging US market. The company recently opened a US office in Hoboken with just 13 employees on the payroll (out of over 6,000 it employs worldwide).
Tipico will therefore have a lot of room to grow in the US, and growth is something it does well. Whereas many European gambling companies have roots stretching back decades, Tipico was only founded in 2004. And yet, EGR placed it sixth in last year’s European online power rankings — ahead of William Hill, whose name is much more familiar on this side of the Atlantic.
Although many states now allow online sports betting, few allow online casinos as well.
West Virginia and Delaware are markets that are too small to be particularly appealing, and Pennsylvania is no longer accepting out-of-state licensees. New Jersey is therefore a convenient starting point as a mature market with a full menu of online gambling options, an experienced regulator, and reasonable licensing fees and taxes.
The pool is becoming rather crowded, though. There are now over 20 online casinos active in the state, and there is surely a limit to how many it can support. Latecomers like Tipico are unlikely to be able to grab much of a share of the market given the saturation.
Michigan plans to launch its iGaming industry soon, though, potentially as early as October. Companies that are just setting up shop in the US will be hoping that other states will follow suit in coming years to give them room to spread out.
The deal is as important to NetEnt as it is to Tipico.
The company will soon combine with Evolution Gaming, which agreed in June to acquire it for $2.3 billion. Evolution seems to be in a great spot in the US, as it currently holds a monopoly on live-dealer products. The only other company with studios in the country was its formal rival Ezugi, which Evolution purchased in 2018.
NetEnt also offers live-dealer products in Europe, so part of Evolution’s motivation for the acquisition may have been to forestall any potential competition on that front. The two companies also have a lot in common, with Scandinavian origins and an increasing US footprint.
It remains to be seen exactly how the Evolution acquisition will tie in with NetEnt’s relationship with Tipico. With these two announcements coming only a month apart and barely a year into NetEnt’s US operations, however, it’s a company worth keeping an eye on.
Ocean, meanwhile, is the smallest contributor to NJ online gambling revenue and will gladly take whatever Tipico can add.