- Legal States
Fiona Simmons December 7, 2022 5 min read
Fiona Hickey: We Journey Into the US to Diversify and Complement
Push Gaming’s Director of New Business and Markets, Fiona Hickey, reflects on G2E Las Vegas 2022 and how the major event provided a stage for the studio to continue its drive toward debuting in the US.
You’ve recently returned from the big G2E show in Las Vegas where Push continues preparing for its entry into the US. How is your work progressing?
Anyone who enters newly regulated markets know that it’s quite a lengthy process, including compliance, legal and commercial as well as the product side of things. The US is no different in this respect – it’s an even greater challenge being made up of so many individual markets. Our initial launch into the US is via New Jersey, which will be then closely followed by Michigan.
We’ve had some fantastic, constructive meetings with our partners that we’re launching with in New Jersey. While we were at G2E and progressed the plans we have with them, what our roadmap will look like, and how we think their players will receive our games – it was all incredibly positive.
It’s been valuable to have these face-to-face meetings and it’s always great to be stateside whenever we have the opportunity – it also allows us to hear from operators and the other suppliers who are already active in the US and gain some insight from them too.
As more states open up and those already active continue to grow, we’re seeing stronger numbers which bode fantastically well for someone like Push who plans to be there very shortly, making our mark in some very vibrant territories.
From what you’ve witnessed, how has the US market evolved? What have you noticed in the last few months, particularly during your time speaking to partners at G2E?
We’ve seen the various online casino markets continue to grow. New Jersey has been the predominant region for a long time and now states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have begun to mirror that progress. It’s been great to see operators who are in those markets become more settled and develop, passing on their learnings in terms of what’s working.
Their experience and insight are invaluable to us, especially around what the players are looking for and how they’re evolving in their tastes and preferences; that kind of data is invaluable.
This kind of due diligence is vital to us as we prepare to move into the space and begin to work on achieving the return on investment that is so important. It’s going to take time to build and get things the way we want them, of course, but we’re confident we’ve invested our time and resources wisely so we can meet the challenges head-on.
Moreover, the week we had around G2E was extremely beneficial and also a lot of fun. The organizers in Vegas always put on a phenomenal show and I think this year was one of its busiest, particularly being back to the pre-Covid environment as well. We can see that attendees are very happy to meet in person and get an understanding of what their peers and their competitors are doing.
And in terms of what content suppliers are bringing to the table, how has that changed with the influx of European studios?
The best way I can describe it is that we’ve seen new favorites make their way into what a player’s top 20 is. There are a lot of established providers in that market, all very well-known from the land-based sector for many years, so it’s natural that they continue to do well online and have a dedicated player base.
Then you have the Europeans that have entered the market, delivered their content and they’re beginning to gain traction. When you look at the top games of the operators that we’re partnering with, many of those US stalwarts appear heavily. However, you’ve also got some studios in there that have much more European heritage in their slots, and it’s pleasing to see – it’s refreshing to witness that gradual change in the different styles of games being played.
We’re not talking about players completely changing what they’re playing, they’re just adding some new favorites into that mix as well and I think that that’s where Push will really complement the landscape.
Our games are quite different from what the average US player is used to, and I really believe we can bring something fresh. I think it’s only a positive thing for players to have more choices, with more entertaining games offering different mechanics, visuals, and themes that they may already be used to.
We’re not entering the market to replace anything, we aim to value and diversity, complementing what’s already there. Our confidence is shared by operators too – they feel that what we offer as a studio in terms of the quality and the longevity of our games. We’re really excited about how we can complement the offering that they already have and will really speak to the players.
Finally, do you have any update on an expected timeline for your debut in the US?
We still have our gaze firmly fixed on H1 2023 and we’re very much moving full steam ahead both from the technical and compliance requirements we have internally. We’re continuing to work very closely with the partner that we’re going to launch with in New Jersey and Michigan and they’re super excited to unveil our games.
We’re determined to be live in one of the two states next year and we’re genuinely excited about it. There’s a lot of exciting partnerships and games that are coming out specifically for the US launch so please look out for further news in the new year!