Scientific Games’ Digital Content Expansion Strategy Rolls on With Acquisition of ELK Studios

  • Scientific Games did not make public the terms of its takeover of ELK Studios
  • The deal follows SG’s recent takeovers of Authentic Gaming and slot developer Lightning Box
  • SG said acquisition will enable it to take ELK’s “top-ranked” content into the US and Canada
  • ELK exec said working with SG in the past showed it can take ELK’s games “to the next level”
  • SG sold its lotteries business and sports betting arm for $6.05bn and $1bn cash, respectively
Gaming mouse on a Swedish flag
Scientific Games’ takeover of Sweden-based digital content developer ELK Studios is in line with its aggressive iGaming growth strategy. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Expansion strategy in overdrive

Las Vegas-based Scientific Games Corporation (SG) is ending 2021 with its bullish iGaming expansion strategy in overdrive after acquiring Sweden-based games developer ELK Studios.

Stock market news source Seeking Alpha took to Twitter with news of SG’s December 1 ELK takeover, the terms of which were not made public:

SG’s acquisition of ELK reinforces the supplier giant’s content-led strategic vision, which CEO and president Barry Cottle recently stated was to become “the leading cross-platform global game company.”

The move to add multi-award winning digital content studio to SG’s rapidly expanding content creation-led ecosystem dovetails with the recent takeovers of live casino solutions provider Authentic Gaming and slot developer Lightning Box.

SG taking ELK into US, Canada

Besides digitally weaponizing its own iGaming arsenal, SG said in a news release that the acquisition will enable it to take ELK’s “top-ranked” content into US and Canadian markets.

Scientific Games said the Stockholm-based studio will continue to work autonomously to create new titles, while bolting-on the US gaming firm’s resources, which include “commercial scale, market expansion, support in U.S. and Canada, game IP and data analytics tools.”

Established in 2013, ELK has become one of the leading providers in the online casino industry by delivering high standard content with a mobile-first focus. ELK won Game of the Year 2017 with their evergreen slot Wild Toro. As one of the fastest growing tech companies in Sweden, ELK’s other notable hit releases include Katmandu and Cygnus.

Cottle said the Stockholm studio was “packed with talent” and a great fit for his firm. The CEO added that fusing ELK’s games with SG’s OpenGaming ecosystem “offers exciting distribution opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.”

Immersive player engagement

CEO of iGaming at SG Dylan Slaney also singled out his brand’s OpenGaming platform in relation to ELK. Slaney said that, over the years, ELK’s games have “performed brilliantly” on the platform.

“infectious” passion for creating games of eye-catching quality

Citing the studio’s “infectious” passion for creating games of eye-catching quality, Slaney added that ELK will play a key role in helping his firm provide players with “even more immersive and engaging experiences.”

ELK CEO Filip Säfbeck was equally complimentary about SG’s capabilities. Säfbeck said that working on the OpenGaming platform had shown his firm that SG can take its games “to the next level.”

In what will be music to seasoned players’ ears, the Swedish CEO said the SG takeover will give it the base to launch more “exciting” new slots worldwide for its online casino partners.

Splashing the cash

Part of SG’s strategy for digital growth is to reign in debt and free up capital. While neither party in the deal divulged the amount of dollars or kronor involved, SG is certainly not short of the former right now.

In September, Scientific Games announced the sale of its UK-based OpenBet sports betting business to Endeavor Group Holdings for $1bn in cash and $200m in stock. Then, at the tail-end of October, SG went one bigger after agreeing to sell its worldwide lotteries business to Canadian investment manager Brookfield in what Cottle dubbed a “transformative” $6.05bn deal.

After the Wednesday deal, Cottle reiterated SG’s ongoing “commitment to make targeted, value enhancing investments.”