If there is a single company that has single-handedly shaped the world of gambling as we know it, then it is Scientific Games Corporation. It is the parent brand behind many notable products, including the popular Powerball and Mega Millions lottery. The company is also a key player in the new online casino industry and has several important subsidies through which it operates in various sectors of the iGaming industry. Scientific Games Corporation is the only brand that has seen the industry from its hay days and owns the following brands: Shuffle Masters, Bally Technologies, WMS, Shuffle Masters and Barcrest. In 2017, Scientific Games merged with NYX Gaming Group, and become even bigger gaming access to a long range of brands like NextGen Gaming, Side City Studios, Bet Digital, Game360, Open Bet and Ice Cap Studios.
The casino software provider has an illustrious history that stretches all the way back to 1932 when Harry E William invented the world’s the first electro-mechanical pinball machine. This simple machine would revolutionize the way humans interact with machines forever and usher in a new dimension of gaming into the popular imagination. Harry E William is often regarded as “The Thomas Edison of Pinball” and “Father of Pinball”, and has been credited with the development of more than 150 gaming techniques. The spirit of this single man would evolve into the first proper luck-based game, the Advance, which was heavily backed by American investors. The first proper slot that came into being was the Bally Baby, which hit the market in 1936 after three years of intense engineering and re-engineering.
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The company suffered a setback with the onset of World War 2 but was back on track after the end of the war in 1945, when it released its first-ever slot cabinet, Hi-Boy which was a premium slot cabinet with a very basic 3 reels’ setup on a wooden frame. This was a trendsetter in the market and we saw the emergence of a truly global gambling brand with rapid expansion to European and North American markets. The next great phase in the company’s history came in the 1960s when Autotote Systems, Inc. The company introduced the world’ first secure instant lottery game, The Instant Game which would necessitate the introduction of proper indexing technology into the world of gambling.
A key subsidy of Autotote Systems, Inc was born in 1976, Bally which went ahead to develop the company’s Slot Data Systems. This was the starting point of progressive jackpots. In 1981, Autotote Systems, Inc created another important subsidy, the WMS Industries which would manage the brand’s pinball operations. Between 1983 and 1985, the company initiated a string of consolidations and restructuring which would result in the formal start of Autotote Systems, Inc in the state of Delaware and its subsequent listing on the NASDAQ, the world’s largest stock market. This was a key milestone as its formally brought gambling company into the investor’s fold and this would be a launching pad for the company to reach new heights. Backed by a flush of investments, Bally started to focus on technology and developed the world’s first full video poker game.
The first major takeover happened in 2006 when SGC acquired a UK based online gambling company called The Global Draw. The next takeover was Games Media which was also based in the UK. However, the two most important mergers happened in 2007 and 2010 respectively when SCG bought Barcrest and Shuffle Master. Barcrest was one of the most strategic acquisition of SCG and it continues to be a flagship brand with its own set of values and gaming identity. The next big news in the market was the takeover of WMS Industries, which was back then the largest manufacturer of slot machines in the industry. SCG next got rid of the horse racing sector which it dominated for quite some time in the 1960s. It sold off its entire racing division to Sporttech in 2010, ending a rich legacy in sports betting.
Scientific Games Corporation still has an active presence in the online gambling market and continues to integrate and consolidate the industry further by forming strategic ties and buying out promising brands. The most recent merger for SCG is the takeover of Bally Technologies in November 2013, for an amount of $ 3.3 billion, along with $1.8 billion of debt. It also recently formed a working partnership with MGM Interactive, which gave it the franchise rights of the 007 James Bond brand name. NYX Gaming was the next big company to join the Scientific Games Corporation family. It was bought out in a $631 million deal in September 2017 from William Hills Bookmaker, which held a majority stake in NYX Gaming.
With these strategic mergers and takeovers, London soon became the hub of online gambling and powered by American dollars, the industry soon found new and innovative products that would touch everyday lives. Gambling soon became a household name and a source of employment and entertainment for the masses. SCG is often credited with “purifying” the gambling industry, which existed in the shady underground markets, and was brought out to the sunlight of regulations and licensing. The company continues to scale new heights and redefine the way we gamble with the help of cutting-edge technology and constant innovation.