International Game Technology (IGT) will enjoy 10 more years of exclusivity over the real money gaming rights to Wheel of Fortune, one of the most valuable brands in casino games. The company announced on June 5 that it had signed a new licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Television, which owns the famous game show and its associated intellectual property. IGT will also enjoy the non-exclusive rights to create Wheel of Fortune content for play-money social casinos.
It’s a good time for IGT to be extending that relationship. Earlier this year, BetMGM launched its Wheel of Fortune Casino in New Jersey. It’s the first US online casino to focus on a particular line of games. That’s a testament to the brand’s power in the US.
IGT made the first retail Wheel of Fortune slot machine in 1997. Over time, the brand has become an increasingly important part of IGT’s catalog. It now has 53 products featuring the brand, including roughly a dozen online slots titles available in the US market.
In another recent first, Wheel of Fortune Triple Gold: Gold Spin became the first omnichannel wide-area progressive game in the US. That means that this online slot shares a progressive jackpot pool with $1 denomination Wheel of Fortune slots at retail casinos throughout New Jersey.
IGT’s real money gaming rights to the brand don’t end with slots. It also has exclusivity over Wheel of Fortune lottery products, retail and online. The only area in which its rights are non-exclusive is for simulated gambling products without real money stakes.
Why No Wheel of Fortune Live Dealer Products?
In principle, IGT’s casino rights would allow it to make other sorts of games using the brand, not only slots. So far, it hasn’t, which is somewhat surprising given the resemblance of the game show’s wheel to the large money wheels that often feature prominently on casino floors.
The closest it has come to such a product is 2006’s Wheel of Fortune Special Edition Super Spin, a retail slots game where up to nine players share a single, physical bonus wheel.
One seemingly natural fit for the Wheel of Fortune brand would be in the live dealer online casino space. However, IGT has yet to develop those capabilities and Wheel of Fortune Casino is one of the few New Jersey iGaming sites without a live dealer section.
And yet, it must be an idea the company has considered. Evolution, the leading supplier of live dealer games in the US, has numerous money wheel games in its portfolio. Some of these have board game or game show tie-ins, like Deal or No Deal and Monopoly.
IGT hasn’t announced any plans along these lines. But it’s something to watch out for now that it has ten more years to come up with a plan.