Buffalo Slots and Bison Stampede eInstant Together at Last as Aristocrat Acquires NeoGames

Australian gambling giant Aristocrat Leisure expanded its capabilities and footprint with the completion of the acquisition of NeoGroup Ltd (aka NeoGames). The acquisition will allow Aristocrat to enter the iLottery sector, which is expanding rapidly in the US even as iGaming legislation efforts have stalled.

Aristocrat is famous for its retail games, including the Buffalo series of slots that can be found on virtually every casino’s gaming floor. In 2022, the company launched Anaxi, its online real-money division, aiming to duplicate that success at online casinos. It has leveraged some of its most popular brands for that purpose. US online casino players can now play digital versions of famous Aristocrat slots such as Buffalo, Miss Kitty, Timberwolf, and 5 Dragons.

With the acquisition complete, Aristocrat Leisure will combine NeoGames and Anaxi into a single unit called Aristocrat Interactive.

Moti Malul, CEO of NeoGames, will lead the combined company and report to Aristocrat Leisure CEO Trevor Crocker. Crocker said that acquiring NeoGames will help the company achieve its ambition of becoming a leading iGaming platform. He added:

We’re thrilled to welcome NeoGames to Aristocrat. The acquisition of NeoGames and its leading global online RMG [real-money gambling] platform adds to our increasing organic capabilities and will ensure that we deliver on our strategy by providing a portfolio of end-to-end solutions.

Aristocrat Gains Technology and Content Solutions

Aristocrat Interactive will give the parent company a bigger footprint as a technology provider in iGaming and iLottery. NeoGames is already a supplier for Caesars Digital. However, Aristocrat has also acquired its subsidiaries, Aspire Global, BtoBet, and Pariplay.

Aspire Global is a technology provider that offers services such as player account management, customer relationship management, and payments and compliance. According to its site, Aspire operates in 20 US states and provides complete technology solutions for PlayLive! Casino in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Pariplay is a content aggregator licensed in Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It recently partnered with Rush Street Interactive, the parent of BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse. It has also struck deals with Hard Rock Bet and Tipico in New Jersey. According to its website, Pariplay’s content is live with seven operators in the US and Canada. The company has deals with eight more and plans to partner with 16 additional operators in 2024.

The third subsidiary, BtoBet, is a sportsbook platform and player account management provider. The company has over 30 partners in Africa, Europe, and Latin America. It hasn’t yet entered the US market but has contact with US operators through deals with FanDuel and Caesars in Brazil.

iLottery Could Provide Growth for iGaming Companies

While boosting Aristocrat’s iGaming capabilities is a plus, the most important feature of the deal is that it paves the way for Aristocrat to enter the iLottery space. NeoGames is best known as a lottery technology provider and developer of eInstant games. These products have seen their popularity in the US grow exponentially over the past decade, particularly in states that lack online casinos.

NeoGames struck its latest US lottery partnership in March. It signed on with the Georgia Lottery to launch its premium eInstants, making the Peach State the fifth state to offer the company’s games. Its lottery games are also available in these states:

  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania (coming soon)
  • Virginia

In addition, the company is a co-owner of NeoPollard Interactive, which has an even bigger footprint. Most recently, it partnered with the West Virginia Lottery to launch its first online games later this year.

The company’s eInstants could be a key to Aristocrat expansion. Mathematically, they’re the equivalent of the scratch tickets players can buy at the corner store. However, these online versions more closely resemble slots in their audio-visual presentation. In fact, one of NeoGames’ titles—Bison Stampede—bears more than a passing resemblance to Aristocrat’s Buffalo slots.

That’s especially true for NeoGames’ products, many of which offer slots-like bonus features like free spins. However, they lack the paylines that most slots use. Instead, players try to match three to five symbols anywhere in the grid. In slots, that mechanic is called “scatter pay,” but it’s more common in lottery products.

It’s no wonder that instant iLotteries are a popular alternative in states that haven’t yet legalized online casinos.

It’s a vital expansion opportunity for Aristocrat because states seem to have an easier time legalizing online lottery games than online casinos. In many cases, new legislation isn’t even needed, only an update to the lottery’s internal rules. Washington D.C., Rhode Island, West Virginia, and North Carolina are among the jurisdictions that have added online instants in recent years.

By contrast, Rhode Island—with a population of 1.1 million—is the only new online casino market since 2021. This year’s iGaming expansion efforts are all dead in the water, and hopes may be slim again in 2025. And yet, it’s probably better than an even money chance that more iLottery markets are on the way.

In most states with an iLottery, sales are growing rapidly. Unsurprisingly, the only exceptions are those with online casinos, which tend to compete with eInstants. According to Statista, US iLottery revenue in 2024 is projected to grow 9.9% to $5.74 billion. The data platform forecasts that revenue will surpass $7 billion by 2028.

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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