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Casino dashboard: March 2023

| By Kevin Dale
It’s sticky smiles at Easter and the Power Of Love this Valentine’s Day but some theme combos manage two bites at that seasonal apple. Kevin Dale of Egamingmonitor discusses how a theme overlay mixed with seasonal events can contribute to game success plus, of course, the global casino charts.

Starburst still tops the charts but it’s under pressure from Sweet Bonanza (Pragmatic Play) rather than Book Of Dead (Play’n GO) currently. As candy-themed games hit the mark at Easter, Sweet Bonanza is now our favourite for April’s top spot.

Even when armed with oodles of data, analysts tend to be quite cautious in nature, especially when making predictions in that complex soup of variables that lead to game success. So, true to form, we are not taking bets on the Easter charts, and yet, the more you probe the numbers, the better your forecasts or “gut feelings” become.

Themes play a massive role in chart success – not as much as distribution reach, but arguably on a par with maths models or game mechanics. They can often tip the balance, especially when a seasonal overlay is applied. All other things being equal – and they nearly are between Sweet Bonanza and Starburst – it might just come down to a seasonal swing toward the sweet tooth.

Here’s a bit more colour to the same idea, somewhat anecdotal perhaps, but still grounded in numbers. The golden oldie Immortal Romance (Microgaming) has been in the top 20 for most months over the last two years. It always performs well during Halloween, gets nudged out for a few weeks by Christmas titles, but come Valentine’s Day, the game is back! That magic combination of romance and horror gives it two bites at the seasonal apple and a thematic cadence to its success.

Top 20 games by distribution

While we are on the romance theme, we don’t publish a Valentine’s chart as such but do give a nod to the amorous studio directors out there.  

Romantic romps still charming us from yesteryear were Lucky Valentine (Red Tiger), Heartburst (Eyecon), and Lucky Lady’s Charm (Novomatic). Love Joker from Play’n GO performed nicely too but it was unusual that these seasonal masters didn’t treat us to a new release this year. Perhaps, like Bgaming, they’re keeping their powder dry for Easter.

Romantic variations that performed nicely (as per our Christmas analysis) included a couple of top performer “editions” from Spinomenal, including Book Of Aphrodite. Meanwhile, Heart’s Desire by Betsoft Gaming offered us a passionate backdrop to some classic symbols.

The big new Valentine’s release this year emerged from the Yggdrasil stable, where Reel Life Games treated us to the Power Of Love. This strong brand plus some popping and expanding wilds designed, they say, to “fill up our love meters” (oo’ er madam), was lush and bountiful in reach. If you prefer a more prudish or Victorian adaptation of the theme, you can of course try KA Gaming’s release Romance In England, where a bowler-hatted gent courts an HRH lookalike, treating her, it seems, to a chaperoned cup of tea, atop a big red bus!

On the deals front, Lady Luck Games continues to extend its reach through new platforms or aggregators, this month adding Hub88 and thus maintaining its busiest studio spot over the last six months.

Biggest studio dealmakers

Meanwhile, the platform Slotegrator takes the top aggregator spot, having ramped up its content sourcing with three new deals in February alone: Aviatrix, Gaming Corps and Panga Games.

Biggest aggregator dealmakers

And a final thought for Easter …

Some studios this week will be finalising their launch plans for the creations they hope will hit that sweet spot, while others are frantically reskinning Easter versions of existing titles. Having added many to the database in advance of their launch, you can be assured a bonanza of sticky smiles around the corner.

In contrast, there is just one dentist-themed game on the market, albeit a bit long in the tooth now, as it was launched back in 2014. So, maybe it’s not only time but the responsible thing too, to launch one in May, coinciding with the tooth fairy’s next visit?

*Please note these are live charts that update every month so please ensure the month of February 2023 is selected in the drop-downs to match the analysis

**The interactive games chart at the top excludes live games and table games. Game rankings are determined by the number of game appearances on the casino homepages of more than 2,200 casino sites. To access many other charts including game rankings, live and table games, positions on subpages or to filter game performance by game theme, game feature, market or operator, please get in touch with our partner, Egamingmonitor.com. Egamingmonitor covers 45,000 games, 1,400 suppliers and 2,200+ operators. 

***Data on deals by month was collected from April 2020 onwards and the rolling chart reflects current dealmaking performance, i.e. how many deals were signed over the last six months. Note that only deals either a) on company websites or b) in the gaming press or c) reported to us by studios and aggregators, are collated. Deals between studios & aggregators (and aggregators & operators) from all time are available via Egamingmonitor.com.

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