The Global Gaming Awards was held in Las Vegas last week and handed out 12 awards for excellence within the gambling industry. One of the lucky winners was the NYX Gaming Group, who won the category of Digital Gaming Innovation for the slot, Witch Pickings. Witch Pickings was a smash hit last year and was honoured at the awards due to its impressive graphics and procedural bonus round which offers near limitless mix and match feature combinations.
Although NYX managed to storm ahead in the gaming sector, there were 11 other awards handed out which celebrated every facet of the gambling industry, covering best online casino, best land based casino and even best software. Each of the winners was voted on by a panel of 60 independent judges who all share a background that spans the entirety of the industry.
Digital Operator of the Year went to 888 Holdings for their site 888poker.com. This was the first win for the operator, with previous years being dominated by Pokerstars, the iconic face of online poker. 888 pulled ahead this year due in part to a combination of site redesigns by 888 and well documented issues that Pokerstars experienced throughout the year.
The streak of lucky firsts continued as Unibet also picked up their first GGA for Digital Acquisition Program of The Year. This was a major success after they finished as a runner up for the Responsible Business award the year before, which was snatched up by GeoComply this year.
IGT Playspot went one further and managed to take home two awards. Its first win of the night was Casino Product of The Year, for their high quality mobile releases throughout 2016. Their second win of the night echoed their reputation for quality control as they took home the award for Land-Based Industry Supplier, an award given for their standout real casino slot machine releases throughout the year. Their in house developed Wheel of Fortune slot series, based on the popular TV game show, has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, which is a testament to their ability to adapt and survive in such a competitive industry.
Playtech ruled the online realm, taking home the award for Digital Industry Supplier. Playtech had made massive expansions throughout the year, not only by continuing their long running Age of Gods progressive jackpot slot series, but also moving into other gaming genres, such as their impressively realistic virtual tennis software.
Fellow software developing competitor Microgaming, managed to take home the award in the Digital Product of The Year category for their malleable Quickfire platform. They also won back in 2015 for the very same software and its widespread use within the online gambling sector is only further proof of its staying power.
Other awards in the land-based casino sector included MGM resorts, who took home their third consecutive win for best Land-Based Operator of The Year, while Scientific Games took home the award for Land-Based Gaming Innovation for their SG Universe mobile gaming software.
The gambling Oscars are over for this year and there were a lot of surprise revelations that shook up a lot peoples' assumptions. With past monoliths like Pokerstars losing their leading place within the poker sector and developers like Microgaming continuing to dominate mobile gaming platforms, it's anyone's guess what next year will bring.
As the market continues to expand and more operators fight to stay innovative and ahead of the competition, what's certain is that the forecast for the industry champions of next year is a complete unknown.