Pokies Developers Market Share in Australia
The pokies industry is a super competitive space, and we’re not just talking in terms of humans against the machine. This scenario obviously exists. But this time we’re talking about developer versus developer, and who holds a larger market share and a bigger piece of the pie.
As an indicator, it is always easy to start with the big players. But while there are a number of major offline pokies manufacturers that you have certainly heard of, they are not the only ones. In fact, there are lesser-known companies eagerly looking for their lucky break into the Australian casino market. Needless to say, the same can be said of the online pokies developers, who operate in today’s gaming environment, face some pretty cut-throat competition.
So who are the big players in terms of pokies development? And what is each of these pokies developer’s market share in Australia? Who’s on the rise and is anyone on the way out? Let’s have a look.
Offline pokies developers and their hold on the local market
Let’s start with the offline pokies developers; the ones whose machines you encounter in land-based casinos. Basically, in a nutshell, there are two home-grown manufacturers that hold the lion’s share of the local market.
Aristocrat Leisure. The first, as in the biggest developer in terms of market share, is Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. Actually, Aristocrat is more than the current leader. It is the first company to develop a poker machine here in Australia – a point of national pride – with the release of the famed Clubman machine in 1953. Since then, Aristocrat has spent nearly 70 years cementing its name, products, and as a result market share, with the release of popular titles that we all know and love, like the legendary Queen of the Nile and More Chilli machines. Its games are well-known and much beloved for their exciting graphics, large range of features, and of course, big paydays. Over the past number of years, it has also added an online offering, further extending its market reach.
In addition to being the number one largest manufacturer of gambling machines here in Australia, Aristocrat is equally impressively also the second-largest pokies manufacturer the world over. This spread helped boost company shares in FY19, which follows the officially reported growth of 5.3% in the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) market the year before. Simultaneously, by the way, Aristocrat has also seen increased demand in the Americas for its land-based and digital products as well.
Ainsworth Game Technology. Following hot on Aristocrat’s trails is the company’s literal spin-off. And that is Ainsworth Game Technology. While much like Aristocrat this company’s fortunes have been on a continuous trajectory of growth since inception, the past five years, and this year, in particular, were actually somewhat of an exception. So much so that in May 2019, the company reported that its profits for the second half of the financial year would be just $4 million, which is most remarkable in that this number is some $3 million less than what was anticipated. As a publically traded company, needless to say, it’s stock price took a serious tumble right after, though it did bounce back when the company later issued a clarification regarding its net debt, lessening the blow. The reasons for this downward turn in terms of profits are multi-fold. And certainly, seem strange considering pokies gambling in Australia is always being reported on the rise. Most would say it is a combination of things such as a super competitive market (though that hasn’t affected Aristocrat), perhaps a move of some players to online or mobile play, and delays in the approval of new products. With the long-awaited approvals expected to come soon, Ainsworth is already anticipating a boost in market share gains in the year to come – so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for them.
International slots developers with a significant market share
While Aristocrat Leisure and Ainsworth Game Technology are often cited as having the biggest market share here, there are other pokies developers with a noteworthy market share in Australia, though they mostly come from abroad.
So for example, we have imports like International Game Technology (IGT) – more accurately now IGT Interactive – which has a strong presence in the Australia and New Zealand market, with its pokies machines found on many pubs and casino floors. In fact, although it is technically a UK-based organization, IGT actually has a .au website, fully dedicated to specifically serving the local market, with a game offering and technology geared towards local currencies and tastes. While we don’t have exact numbers in terms of revenues for the Australian market per se, we can tell you recent global numbers were quoted at $4.69 billion net revenue, $56 million net income, and total assets totaling a whopping $15.11 billion across its numerous enterprises.
Another global leader that has gained a decent market share in the Australian pokies scene is Bally Technologies, which came, left, and returned again in 2010. The company now has local offices in Sydney which sell and service its award-winning machines.
Of course, these are not the only ones. There are others like Konami, WMS Gaming, and Aruze Gaming to name but a few, each taking a piece of the pie as well.
The online pokies developers
The question of market share in terms of online pokies developers is somewhat more difficult to ascertain than the land-based machines. And it’s pretty clear as to why. That is, it is reasonably uncomplicated to figure out how many pokies machines from a certain developer can be found on the casino floors, and then work from there. Online pokies, however, are far trickier for a number of reasons. For example, there are hundreds if not thousands of online casino operators out there. And the majority of them are not publically traded companies, so they do not have to report to anyone. Even if they do, they don’t tend to release numbers in terms of market share, and even less likely on a regional basis or per software developer. That means the best one can do in determining online pokies developers’ market share in Australia is to make an educated guess based on a number of relevant parameters and gut. For us, these are some of the ones that stood out.
Microgaming. When it comes to online slots, pretty much everyone in the world has heard of Microgaming software. This company, after all, was the absolute pioneer in the online casino domain, followed by the mobile frontier, and has been holding its leadership position ever since. At the moment it has more than 500 original pokies machines in its repertoire, making it probably the biggest around, and provides casino software to over 400 sites. That means, that pretty much anyone who plays online pokies comes into contract with Microgaming slots. As for the exact market share, we can’t really say either locally in Australia or across the world. That’s because as a privately held company, Microgaming guards these figures quite vigorously. However, due to its depth and breadth, it is considered one of the largest players in the field. That being said, keep in mind, here in Australia, some claim Microgaming titles have seen their day, due to a number of logistical reasons mainly, and other pokies developers are on the rise, quickly gaining their share.
iSoftbet. There are, by all accounts, a number of Australian-friendly online casinos powered by the iSoftbet games and software. More than that, if you were to ask many locals, the impression you’d likely get is that iSoftbet is steadily gaining foot on the national pokies scene, with top sites and their players explicitly preferring its offering. While iSoftbet is relatively new to this space, it is backed by some serious entrepreneurs and programmers, who know what they’re doing in terms of pokies development and reaching players with engaging titles like Forest Mania, Cherry Trio, Ways of the Dragon, Alice Adventure, Happy Birds, and Cash Camel –and as excitingly, the locally-themed Aussie Adventure pokies machine! All of this is why we are starting to see more and more explicitly dedicated iSoftbet sites around here.
Quickspin. When it comes to casino software, usually the attention goes to the parent company, especially when yours is none other than the extreme casino powerhouse Playtech. However, here in Australia, while Playtech games still show strong returns, the daughter company Quickspin (acquired from its Swedish developers in 2015) seems to be making a stronger impression and increasingly large mark on the local market thanks to its highly creative visually compelling games. That being said, as Quickspin is actually a part of Playtech, its specific numbers are not available, so we can’t say precisely what’s its share. What we can say, however, is that Playtech as a whole continues to be a massive company, that globally generated a net income of €129.8 million in 2018 alone.
Evolution Gaming. Evolution Gaming is actually much more about the streamed, live casino games than it is about pokies games. But since the casinos where its software is featured also have a strong pokies offering, and its games are attractive to local players, it’s fair to say that Evolution Gaming is part of this equation as well, and as such, is often listed on Australian pokies review sites as well.
MrSlotty. Another pokies developer on the rise in Australia is MrSlotty. While it is not considered a powerhouse on the international realm, it is starting to gain recognition Down Under thanks to its super engaging 40+ full HD pokies games like Vegas After Party, Troll Faces, and Panda MEME.
BetSoft – Since Australians love cinematic and 3D slots, it is no wonder that BetSoft has emerged to take a nice piece of the market share in recent years. Its stunning, animated games are a truly unique gem, and a much sought after commodity by our more discerning pokies players.
Net Entertainment – Then of needless to say there is Net Entertainment, or as we more commonly know it NetEnt, pokies. This company’s games have continued to be a popular commodity amongst Australian players for over 20 years now. And there is no reason to assume this will change any time soon, as the company continues to come out with alluring, cutting edge games. And, it happens to be the developer behind the progressive Arabian Nights game, which found its way into the local gambling history books, when an Australian player won what is probably the biggest windfall for a local – a $6.9 million jackpot.
These obviously are not all of the pokies developers operating here in Australia. But they are the ones with enough traction to be worthy of a mention. Others you may add to the list include Rival Gaming and RTG.
A bit about the place of pokies in the Australian economy
When it comes to determining pokies developers’ market share in Australia, it is interesting to also look at the game’s overall place in the local economy. And like many things, this is up for debate. Well sort of.
That is there is no denying that pokies play a significant role in the local economy, especially in terms of their tax contribution. So much so that a 2018 report issued by the Centre for International Economics had pokies’ contribution to the Australian economy listed at $8.32 billion, with some $5.5 billion of that being tax income (from the operators, not the players). And an increase in tax dollars is expected in the coming years.
On the other hand, other reports demonstrate that Australian gambling is on a slight decline – though relative to most other regions, our gambling frequency and spend still rank rather high. Either way, whether the number is slightly up or slightly down, as the favorite gambling game of Australians, the bottom line is that pokies still hold a rather large market share.
So as we have seen, there are a number of significant players in terms of pokies developers’ market share in Australia.
In terms of offline poker machines – i.e. the types of games you find in the casinos – the local manufacturers, we are proud to say, still hold a substantial market share, particularly pokies giant Aristocrat Leisure.
As for online pokies, we have no such local developer to brag of per se, but there are plenty of worthy competitors on the market, each capturing Australians’ fancy in their own particular way. More than that, while most of the developers with a strong local presence have been in the game for quite some time, there is always room for change. Fuelled by innovation, and an underdog’s drive, smaller companies have a way of creeping up and capturing market share, just like that. This, of course, means the answer as to which developer will lead in the years to come is really anyone’s guess.