Light & Wonder and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment announced an extension to their partnership, adapting popular retail slots featuring Warner Bros. characters for online casino play.
The first game will be Willy Wonka: World of Wonka, based on the popular book and 1971 movie. The retail slot features a progressive jackpot and many elements from the movie, including characters, music, and clips. Light & Wonder did not say whether a progressive jackpot will be available for the online version.
Willy Wonka: World of Wonka has been successful at retail casinos. It has become one of the most famous movie-based slots. The online version will be available in the US, UK, and Europe. Light & Wonder plans to release additional Willy Wonka-themed slots in the future.
The developer will also add other popular titles based on Warner Bros. intellectual property. One example is The Wizard of Oz: Road to Emerald City. The Wizard of Oz is another classic movie with multiple slot adaptations at retail casinos. It is currently unavailable online for real money play, though a play money version for social casinos exists.
Dylan Slaney, CEO iGaming at Light & Wonder, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership. He added that it marks an opportunity to present their omnichannel vision of delivering engaging branded content across various platforms.
Light & Wonder Continues iGaming Expansion
The partnership marks another step in the iGaming expansion strategy by Light & Wonder. Since 2021, the company sold off its OpenBet sportsbook for $800 million and lottery business for $5.8 billion to focus on its casino business, specifically online gaming.
As part of its strategy, Light & Wonder made a series of acquisitions to position itself as a leader in the industry. That included game developer Lighting Box, live dealer developer Authentic Gaming, game supplier Playzido, and loyalty solution provider House Advantage.
Furthermore, in May 2023, Light & Wonder announced its formal offer of $422 million to acquire the remaining 17% that it doesn’t own of social casino developer SciPlay. SciPlay started as a division of Light & Wonder, but it was spun off as a separate company in 2019.
Developers Continue To Bring Retail Games Online
Bringing brick-and-mortar casino favorites like Willy Wonka and The Wizard of Oz slots online shows the importance of the growing online casino segment in the U.S.
Light & Wonder and Warner Bros. follow another industry giant, Aristocrat Leisure, with the intent to capture online casino market share with digital versions of iconic retail games.
At the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Oct 2022, Aristocrat Leisure announced its plan to bring some of its most popular retail titles online. Aristocrat said it would do that through its new iGaming division, Anaxi. The most anticipated games include the iconic Buffalo slot, Miss Kitty slot, and Timberwolf slot.
Since the beginning of the year, Anaxi has announced multiple deals. Some of the best online casinos like BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel now offer Aristocrat’s slots to online players in the U.S. While players have seen some titles, arguably the most popular one is yet to be available. That is Buffalo, which Aristocrat values at over $1 billion. But that surely will come soon.