Review of the Gambling News in 2021
By Simon Wright Jan four, 2022
At the time of writing this piece and our assessment of the gambling news for the previous twelve months, 2021 is now in the rear view mirror so to speak, as we have entered a new year in the kind of 2022. So let us take a look at what created the headlines here on Casinomeister for the duration of the past 12 months of 2021, a year that seems to have flown by.
Regrettably like 2020 before it, 2021 continued to be impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic, with this as soon as once more causing the cancellation and postponement of numerous market shows and events.
For players residing in the UK, 2021 also proved to be a year where the regulator of the gambling market in the nation, the UKGC, continue to look out for players collective interests. So if for example you enjoyed using the autoplay facility when whiling away some of your time on an on the internet slot machine, you can thank the Gambling Commission for its removal!
Effectively it wouldn’t be January with out the annual Casinomeister Awards shortlist becoming released at the start of the month, with the subsequent winners being unveiled just prior to the conference season commenced in early February. Wait a minute, conferences? Sadly the ICE Show at the London Excel, followed by the London Affiliate Conference had been cancelled due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.
Of course with the UK in January 2021 becoming in the midst of a national lockdown, this  left the organisers Clarion Gaming no option but to cancel stated shows.
2019’s Casinomeister ‘Best Casino’ award winner All British Casino have been when again in the running to choose up the most coveted of coveted casino awards, becoming joined on the shortlist by Bitstarz, Unibet and the ‘Casino of the Decade’ just gone in the form of Videoslots.
As with the ICE and LAC shows, there was also a ‘no show’ when it came to the annual Casinomeister meet up at Waxy O’Connors in Leicester Square.  So the annual Casinomeister meet, which 1st started way back in 2008 at the Atlas Pub close to the old and no longer with us Earls Court venue exactly where the ICE employed to be held, hit the buffers and its 13 year continuous run was unceremoniously stopped. Thanks a lot Covid!
Nonetheless, there was alas no stopping the unveiling of the annual Casinomeister Awards, which saw All British Casino beat off some robust competitors and win for the second year running the ‘Best Casino’ award. Other notable winners included the Betsson Group who picked up the ‘Best Casino Group’ award.
The month of March saw the UK Gambling Commission after once more bare their teeth, this time sharpening them on Casumo who had been once once more in the sights of the UKGC when it comes to enforcing regulatory action.
The operator were hit with a £6m fine as a result of the UKGC identifying that Casumo’s Social Duty procedures fell quick of what is necessary of preserving their UK licence.
This fine followed that of one meted out back in 2018, whereby Casumo had been ordered to spend a £5.85m penalty package.
The other large story of the month was Football Index’s UKGC licence becoming suspended amid issues of the continued viability of the site.
The month of April began with the news that the bet365 supremo Denise Coates was after once more the highest earning individual in the UK, taking property a cool £469m in the course of the previous year. The news considerably to the chagrin of components of the mainstream media, caused a debate after again about the gambling market and betting firms profiting from issue gambling.
While the independent bookmaker Betfred lost a High Court battle with their buyer Andy Green, with the court ordering Betfred to payout £1.7m in withheld winnings.
May possibly 2021
Casinomeister kicked off their new series of interviews with casino game studios and on the 14th May  Mike Bauerlein from Triple Edge Studios was in the hot seat, answering our questions which we place to him.
May possibly 2021 also saw Microgaming celebrating their 20th year based out of the Isle of Man, which also saw the casino game studio make 20 separate charitable donations in recognition of their time headquartered on the island.
Other prominent news in the course of the month also saw the accountable gambling app and registered charity BetBlocker, receive a donation from Novomatic’s Interactive Division Greentube.
The 10th June saw Casinomeister celebrating its 23rd birthday, with Bryan Bailey commenting: “It is challenging to fathom that an concept that was initiated for the duration of a lunch at Oscars in San Diego became what it is these days. To me it’s not only a enterprise, but a service and a gathering of like-minded individuals – numerous of whom I have grown close to.”
“I am humbled by the fact that Casinomeister has brought so a lot of people together, spawned friendships, romances, and in a single instance (that I know of) – a marriage. I take pride in the web site, and will always keep correct to my vision, my neighborhood, and to my buddies. It is been an wonderful ride these past 23 years, and I’m preparing to ride this out till the finish of the Internets.”
Microgaming’s progressive jackpot slot Mega Moolah! saw its jackpot being hit however once more, with a lucky player attaining a life altering win of €6,597,136.10.
The finish of June saw the Belgian gambling regulator announce that they had updated their blacklist of domain names, covering those web sites which attempt to operate in the Benelux nation with no an proper licence to do so. Also the UKGC provided an update regarding Football Index.
Euro 2020 fever was well and truly among us throughout July, with England receiving to the final at Wembley against Italy, which saw the ‘home’ side lose out on a nail biting penalty shoot out. As such we publicised a thread here on the Casinomeister forum concerning ‘Mad Euro 2020’ bets that could be had.
The Swedish operator Kindred posted powerful interim outcomes at the end of the month, with the owners of Unibet and 32Red proving that they are going from strength to strength.
Microgaming’s hotly anticipated reboot of their Thunderstruck slot in the form of Thunderstruck Wild Lightning was released.
The Australian slot game developer Lightning Box had been acquired by the US based Scientific Games, with Lightning Box’s CEO Peter Causley stating: “Joining the Scientific Games team and working even a lot more closely with them comes at the excellent time to drive forward our ambitious solution innovation plans.”
This month also saw Pragmatic Play’s Social Tournaments celebrate paying out over $1,000,000 in cash prizes, in just two years considering that its conception.
888 Holdings plc acquired all non US assets of William Hill from Caesars Entertainment for a consideration of £2.2bn, a great match for both so it would seem! Certainly Itai Pazner, the  Chief Executive Officer of 888 seemed to think so when he commented: “The acquisition of William Hill International is a transformational and hugely fascinating moment in 888’s history.”
“This transaction will create 1 of the world’s major on the internet betting and gaming groups with superior scale, exceptional brands, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth.”
888 and indeed William Hill’s online operations have certainly come in for much criticism right here on the forum at Casinomeister over the years…
The iGaming compliance specialists Rightlander announced near the finish of the month that they had partnered with BetBull  to help and help the operator improve their affiliate compliance. Rightlander’s Nicole Mitton commenting on the news, mentioned: “It’s excellent to see operators like BetBull partnering with Rightlander to make certain adherence to advertising regulations.”
“These efforts are not only noteworthy from a regulatory point of view, but are also a strong indicator that BetBull are invested in safeguarding the interests of their stakeholders, affiliates and players in regulated markets.”
The stand out huge newsworthy story of October was the news that BGO Entertainment had their licence revoked and suspended by the UK Gambling Commission. This in the end saw the operator close its doors at the end of 2021.
Fans of the John Hunter series of slot games received some very good news, with however one more John Hunter themed slot game being released.  Pragmatic Play the developer of the game had high hopes for John Hunter and the Quest for Bermuda Riches ™, with Yossi Barzely of Pragmatic Play stating:  “The John Hunter series has become a staple of our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to inject new life into it with the launch of John Hunter and the Quest for Bermuda Riches™.”
“We’re always looking for new approaches to entertain our clients with thrilling content, and the John Hunter series presents us with the best opportunity to continue an epic narrative with equally thrilling mechanics.”
The second annual Safer Gambling Week commenced at the begin of the month, which saw a number of events getting held during the week of 1st – 7 th November 2021.
Casino game studio 4ThePlayer announced that a lucky player had scooped $75,000 win playing their 90k Yeti Gigablox™ slot game.  With Andrew Porter the Chief Executive Officer CEO of 4ThePlayer commenting on the win:
“One of our signatures is entertainment coupled with actual big win prospective, so it is brilliant to see 90k Yeti Gigablox provide such a big win so quickly soon after it’s released. We hope the player enjoys their winnings!”
BGO Entertainment confirmed that in light of their UKGC licence being suspended, that they will be closing their operations permanently on 31st December.
Clarion Gaming also confirmed the postponement after once more of their annual ICE show at London Excel which was due to be held at the begin of Feb 2022.