UFC-Branded Slots: Games Global Strikes Content Licensing Deal, Further Committing to US Strategy

The first slots featuring official UFC branding will start appearing in the US in July courtesy of Games Global. UFC announced a three-year deal with the British content provider to develop casino games featuring UFC themes and imagery. Games Global expects to carry out an “exclusive” soft launch later this month but won’t roll the games out for the general public until later this summer.

The deal could be an important step for both companies. Games Global is a newcomer to the US iGaming market and is looking to expand. Meanwhile, the UFC has been looking for ways to reach new audiences. In a news announcement, Tracey Bleczinski, Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products at UFC, said:

At UFC, we’re always looking for innovative ways to engage with our passionate fanbase around the world. This exciting new partnership with Games Global allows us to do just that by bringing the intensity and energy of the Octagon to life through unique UFC-themed slot titles. We believe that these games will be a hit with fight fans everywhere, and we are proud to be working with Games Global, a leading provider and distributor of iGaming content, to deliver this world-class entertainment experience.

It will be the first time the UFC itself features in casino games, but not the first time its fighters have. UFC star Amanda Nunes lent her likeness to The Lioness, a slot by Armadillo Studios, available at casinos like BetMGM and DraftKings through aggregator EveryMatrix. However, although that game suggests a connection to the MMA organization with Octagon-shaped bonus symbols and familiar-looking gloves, it’s not an officially licensed UFC product.

Deal Allows UFC to Enter Legal Online Casinos

The deal with Games Global isn’t the first partnership between the UFC and a gambling company. However, it differs from previous deals in targeting the regulated, real-money US market.

Previous UFC collaborations have been with operators that don’t have a legal real-money product in the US. Instead, they targeted US audiences using play-money social casinos affiliated with offshore cryptocasinos that don’t officially accept US customers.

One of these was UFC’s US partnership with Roobet.fun. That social casino shares a similar name and parent company with crypto casino Roobet.com. The latter is illegal to use in the US but has sponsored several UFC fighters, including Charles Oliveira, Alex Pereira, Brandon Moreno, and Marlon “Chito” Vera, allowing it to gain exposure with that audience.

UFC’s partnership with Stake.com is similar. As another cryptocasino, it is likewise illegal to use in the US. That deal encompasses both the cryptocasino and its sister social site, Stake.us, which is legal in over 40 US states.

The UFC also indirectly provides visibility to another offshore operator, BetOnline, which illegally targets US customers. It does so through its streaming platform, UFC Fight Pass.

US Fight Pass subscribers have access to Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) events. LFA is a development league for young fighters, many of whom transition to the UFC. BetOnline sponsors LFA and features on fight cards, social media, and in the octagon at some events. It also offers promotions that intersect with LFA events.

The partnership with Games Global will allow the UFC to reach real-money casino audiences in US states where online casinos are legal.

Branding Deals Key for Suppliers in US Market

Partnering with the UFC could be a major boost for a newcomer like Games Global in the US. For European developers hoping to make headway into the growing US iGaming market, branded content has proven to be one way of standing out from the crowd.

Probably the best example is White Hat Studios, which has found success with mainstream movie and television-branded content. The company has expanded at a lightning pace thanks to slots like the Goonies, Peaky Blinders, and Ted. Its content is available in all seven iGaming states, a feat only matched by gaming giant IGT.

The target audience for UFC-themed products may be different from White Hat’s. If anything, though, there’s a more direct tie-in with gambling due to the possibility of betting on fights and the league’s Las Vegas ties. More of its events have taken place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena than any other venue, and UFC plans to break new ground with its 306th installment to be hosted at the Las Vegas Sphere on September 14.

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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