In terms of the sheer number of online wagering games available, SG Digital are probably the number one provider available upon the globe, even eclipsing Microgaming. This fact does come with a caveat though – SG Digital are famed for snapping up other companies and adding their wares to the SG Digital banner. Over time, famous casino software names such as Bally, Barcrest and NextGen Gaming have been bought up by SG Digital, creating a sizeable gaming portfolio available to any online casino willing to sign a deal with these software giants.
It wasn’t always this way, though. SG Digital have had something of a unique history with countless up and downs. They have managed to survive and indeed expand as a company, and remain successful today still churning out slots and games via themselves and the subsidiary companies that they have paid out for.
SG DIgital in Brief
- Founded: 1917 (as Autotote)
- Based: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Number of Games: 600+
- Most popular games: Medusa, Rainbow Riches, Merlin’s Magic Respins
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Who are SG Digital?
You can trace SG Digital’s roots all the way back to 1917, although of course they did not make many online slots then! They were founded as ‘Autotote’ in Sydney, Australia as an automated totaliser system for horse racing. Totaliser, or ‘tote’ betting is a way of betting in which all bets on a race are pooled and then the pool is shared out between all members of the pool that selected the winning horse. Autotote eventually expanded into North America too.
Autotote continued as a tote betting company but in 2000 they bought a company called Scientific Games that had been around since 1973 as a manufacturer of instant lottery terminals. Autotote became Scientific Games in 2001. SG moved into other wagering areas and eventually sold their Autotote section in 2010.
The online wagering, lottery and sports betting section of Scientific Games was eventually branched off to become Scientific Games Interactive. In 2018 Scientific Games joined forces with the NYX Gaming Group (the owners of NextGen Gaming and the leading sports betting software brand OpenBet) – they combined NYX Gaming with Scientific Games Interactive to form a new company, SG Digital, which incorporated all the two company’s leading brands, including Bally, Barcrest, NextGen Gaming and WMS.
SG Digital still release slots but the majority of them now arrive online courtesy of one of many subsidiaries that the company owns.
What Makes SG Digital Unique?
While SG Digital are not the only company that buys other brands and runs them as subsidiaries (for example, Playtech own Virtue Fusion, Eyecon, YoYo Games, BTS and Quickspin, while Microgaming owns or has deals with Pulse 8, All41, Fortune Factory, Stormcraft Studios and Triple Edge) they quickly snap up brands with famous names:
- 2011 – Bought UK slots company Barcrest for £33 million
- 2013 – Bought US slots leaders WMS for $1.5 billion
- 2014 – Bought US slots company Bally for $5.1 billion
There is the merger with NYX Gaming to consider as well, which is a company that had bought up and merged with NextGen Gaming at an earlier date.
SG Digital now wholly relies upon its subsidiary companies when it comes to releasing new slots as it does not produce any of its own. The company tends to concentrate more on lotteries and sports betting.
What Could SG Digital Do Better?
The parent company of SG Digital – Scientific Games – posted revenues of $3.36 billion in 2018. We could make suggestions of what they could do better, but the likelihood is no one would take any notice of us!
Three of the Best – SG Digital Games
Originally a NextGen Gaming title, this 2013 game has been re-jigged and rebranded as an SG Digital title.
The Medusa of legend was a woman so hideously ugly anyone who saw her would instantly turn to stone. The Medusa in this game is much better looking but still has the common Medusa motif of having snakes for hair!
This popular game may look dated now but in 2013 it was quite the rage as a very good example of a video slot ported online.
As well as jackpot prize players could play in the hope of winning free spins and all the extra goodness which that entailed.
The online slotting world is absolutely awash with Irish-themed titles, but Rainbow Riches is the most successful by far.
Despite being a very simplistic game (and originally a Barcrest release that was given a SG Digital makeover in 2018) Rainbow Riches has seen the kind of popularity not usually seen with online slots, unless that slot is Fluffy Favourites.
It also probably holds the record for the number of sequels of a slot (nine at the time of writing) plus there’s a Slingo version of the game. The slot also has its own online casino site, although that site is run by Gamesys and has nothing to do with SG Digital.
Merlin’s Magic Respins
Another classic slot, this game was originally released by NextGen Gaming on 2014 and then given the SG Digital treatment in 2018. This was one of the first-ever online slots ever released that had four rows as opposed to the traditional three. It had all the usual features though, including stacked wilds.
It also had the ‘Super Bet’ feature which too was pretty unique at the time. Here players could choose to pay more than usual per spin in the hope of triggering a increasing number of features and winning greater jackpot amounts.
A. Yes! All of NetEnt’s connect has, since the beginning of October 2020, been available via SG Digital’s OpenGaming platform. This means that for the first time NetEnt’s content is available to online casino players in the USA and Canada
A. Several! Barcrest, Bally Technologies, WMS and NYX Gaming are now all part of the SG Digital network. It also owns stakes in several lottery-based companies.
A. Openbet is a software company that produces online sports book front ends and back ends. Among its clients are Paddy Power, Betfair and William Hill.
The Bottom Line
Despite years of previous success, SG Digital seems to have largely abandoned the online casino scene of late. Since 2019 the company have been working on a product called ‘Open Market’ which is a one-stop sportsbook content marketplace and is based around the acquisition of OpenBet. They also lean heavily on their online lottery content.
Perhaps this attitude will change in the near future but at the moment if you want to play an SG Digital slots game, then you’re going to have to dive into the company’s past portfolio.