In the last few years, NetEnt was above all colorful, fun, flashy and varied. Certainly, some less entertaining slot machines have been released every now and then. But most of the new releases easily managed to attract new casino players.
At the latest with Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack Hammer, it was clear to us that a successful staging, big wins and good game mechanics do not have to contradict each other. Slots like Aliens or Steam Tower were just great. With South Park, the Scandinavians set a monument for themselves in terms of humor. And even the always ridiculed starburst is still one of the most popular machines in the world. Gonzo’s Quest has a fan base that even some football clubs in the Premier League can dream of. With Hall of Gods, Arabian Nights and Mega Fortune, NetEnt launched progressive jackpot slots that actually offer the chance to win millions even with small stakes.
Between 2018 and 2020, however, the NetEnt train seems to have come to a standstill. At most, Divine Fortune was able to convince us halfway. Other slots like Wild Wild West or Jungle Spirit: Call of the Wild ™ looked at least quite good.
However, the proportion of really bad slots in the last twelve months has already reached alarming levels:
Football: Champions Cup
In keeping with the 2016 European Championship, NetEnt believed it would land the big hit with this soccer slot. The reasoning behind this is of course clever: Not only the European Championship itself will ensure a large number of users, but many sports betting providers with a casino area will try to make slots attractive to their bettors. It’s just stupid that Football: Champions Cup not only looks bad, but also completely fails in terms of game mechanics and offers a rather frustrating than a good bonus feature.
The competition for slot machines with a football motif is really not that great. At most, the equally not good machines Football Star from Microgaming and Football World Cup from Novomatic can be found in many online casinos.
Divine Fortune Megaways
Although this game has been awaited by many players, it has obviously disappointed them all! The first version was very successful, but this sequel did not come with a jackpot, no bonus rounds and also it has a few bonus symbols which are almost impossible to catch.
Finn and the Swirly Spin
Finn and the Swirly Spin is also one of NetEnt’s unfortunate experiences. This game does not offer standard payouts, but its main drawback is the lack of bonus features
Evolution takes over NetEnt and fires its workforce!
After several delays, finally, Evolution takes over NetEnt.
The deal was on the brink for weeks and now seems to have taken place. As a welcome gift, the employees in Malta receive the termination of their employment directly from the new owners.
There was already an offer in June, but the haggling over the deal dragged on for ages. Evolution Gaming is known to be the largest provider of live casino games with real dealers in the Latvian capital Riga.
Initially, sums of more than 2 billion euros were in the room for the takeover, but in the end, an agreement was reached on 19.6 million Swedish kronor, which is equivalent to 1.9 billion euros.
It’s a real mega-deal, as two absolute giants of European online gambling are merged into one entity and growing together here.
In addition, Evolution now has a quasi-monopoly in the area of live casino games. NetEnt’s live dealers came in a good second place behind Evolution itself. Providers such as Authentic Gaming only have a very small market share. Evolution now controls more than 95% of the European live dealer market share.
December 1st: the day of dismissals
On December 1, news sites reported that 300 out of a total of 325 employees in NetEnt’s Maltese office were given notice of termination. They were greeted by security at the start of work and were allowed to vacate their personal belongings by 6 p.m. on the same day.
Does that mean there are no more NetEnt slots?
No, there should still be new NetEnt games. The employees will of course not be happy about this premature “Christmas present”. However, this does not mean that in the course of this mass layoff there would no longer be any operability.
Of course, the structures will sometimes sink into chaos for a while. However, it seems that NetEnt’s employees from offices in other countries (such as Sweden) are not or hardly affected by it.
The creative department, therefore, continues to exist unchanged. Only in a few areas of marketing and account management will there be drastic changes.
This is how the stock market reacts
Both actors are Swedish companies that are traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange under the legal form of AB. After the first information about the takeover became known in June, NetEnt’s share price doubled.
The Evolution Gaming share has also made good gains recently, for example around 20% growth since mid-September.
In the early morning of December 1st, the share price fell by around 2% at the same time as the big news, but this trend did not continue as the day progressed.
Since the 300 employees were only informed today, there are currently still many question marks. The location of Evolution Gaming, which is located directly at the airport in the municipality of Luqa, is likely to remain. Evolution itself also has some employees in Malta.
The remaining NetEnt Maltese will soon be sharing an office with Evolution. It is interesting that the satisfaction of the employees of Evolution in Malta is quite high according to the rating portal Glassdoor. At NetEntertainment, on the other hand, there have been repeated negative reviews in the past.
The exact reasons and background of the mass layoffs at NetEnt are initially unclear. It is now up to the Evolution management team around co-founder and CEO Jens von Bahr to ensure clarity in this regard.
It is undisputed that it is now a gaming giant after the merger of Evolution with NetEnt, but also that there are still many game manufacturers. Several new game manufacturers have appeared on the big gambling scene in recent years, such as Big Time Gaming and Pragmatic Play.
And evolution is also likely to be under a lot of pressure. Where large sums of money are involved that are not based entirely on equity, costs have to be reduced.
We can only speculate at this point, but rumor has it that the 300 employees have fallen victim to high loans that have to be serviced as part of the NetEnt takeover.