January 4, 2024Lauren

Welcome back! It's going to be a huge year, starting with our first news digest of 2024! This week, we're discussing:

- Bill Miller's round-up of 2023 at the American Gaming Association
- Wazdan's new casino partnership with PlayStar NJ
- MGM Resort's $360k ICRG donation
- And our slot game of the week is Lightning Box's Smash Nudge Skillstar!

Catch up with all the latest US iGaming news right here.

News and Analysis

Bill Miller Shares AGA Achievements in 2023

Rounding up 2023, AGA CEO and President Bill Miller highlighted the organization's work in fighting illegal gambling, leading responsibly, shaping conversations through research, advancing priorities in Washington, and gathering gaming leaders. 

Of particular interest to gaming executives is the research undertaken by the AGA in 2023, which revealed the organization to be a heavyweight in this respect as it leveraged resources and produced reports detailing the gaming contributes $330 billion to the US economy, supporting 1.8m jobs and generating $53 billion in taxes. Additional research into social attitudes also showed that 71% of Americans now recognize the positive economic contributions made by the gambling industry. 

Miller also focused on achievements for responsible gambling, stating the AGA had strengthened its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, developed an anti-human trafficking guide in gaming, and launched a new effort to bring together a responsible gambling initiative that can keep pace with the ever-changing industry.

Wazdan Hits PlayStar Casino Lobby

Wazdan has made further strides into the New Jersey market after going live at PlayStar Casino. The popular developer, already present at DraftKings, BetRivers, and Tipico Casinos, is distributed via Light & Wonder's aggregation division. The available Wazdan games include the smash hit 9 Coins, Sun of Fortune, Power of Gods: Hades, and the studio's in-house mechanics, including Hold Jackpot.

The Chief Commercial Officer for Wazdan said, "Our growth in New Jersey has been extremely positive for us, and we're delighted to be partnering with our latest operator in the state. Our engaging, immersive content has proven to be a hit with players and we're looking forward to delivering even further great experiences to end users." 

MGM Donates $360K to ICRG

MGM Resorts rounded up 2023 by donating $360,000 to the International Center of Responsible Gaming. The funds will be used for two projects that will help understand, prevent, and address gambling addiction and problem gambling. 

ICRG President Arthur Paikowsky said, "We salute MGM Resorts for supporting our research that will answer the many questions we have about the impact of gender on gambling disorder and address the health risks of casino employees."

While we also salute any contributions from gambling operators made towards improving responsible gambling research and treatment, we're also left wondering if US operators are doing enough. In 2022, MGM Resorts netted over $6.475 billion in profit, making this donation a drop in sea, at under 0.0055% of that figure. It also pales in comparison to Bally’s record-breaking $1 million donation two months ago.

Game of the WeekSmash Nudge Skillstar by Lightning Box, RTP: 96% (ranges)

Smash Nudge Skillstar is a 5x4 reel slot that comes with 40 lines, top prizes of 5,044x the bet, Skillstar Mini-Game, Wild Nuges, Multipliers, and Free Spins! Let's dive straight in and talk about how to win.

Set at a retro roller skating rink, this game is packed with action, and awards wins for matching 3+ symbols from left to right on any of the 40 fixed lines. There are two Wild Symbols: the Trophy, which is the regular wild, and the Wild Nudge, which always lands stacked and can expand across entire reels and move left or right (nudging).

Smash Nudge Skillstar Slot Gameplay

Star Symbols are the scatters and 3-5 triggers 8-20 Free Spins. During the round, an extra multiplier reel is added, which can randomly dish out 2-10x multipliers on each spin, seriously increasing the prize potential. That's not all; before you enter the Free Spins round, you can play the Skillstar Mini-Game, which doesn't offer any prizes but is great fun. The aim here is simple: avoid collisions with other players while skating and preserve your lives (you have three).

Ready to play? Then, it's time to get your game on with this arcade-styled number. It's available from $0.40 a spin at these Lightning Box Casinos.

That's it from us for this week, folks. It's great to be back, and we hope you've all had a great festive break. We'll bring you more of the latest iGaming headlines from the USA next week.

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