- International Game Technology (IGT) has announced the establishment of a new business segment dedicated to sports betting and iGaming.
- These two fast growing areas of the world gaming market will now comprise the ‘Digital & Betting’ business segment for IGT.
- Sports betting and iGaming previously were included as part of the ‘Global Gaming’ business segment.
The North American sports betting and iGaming sectors are poised for massive growth in the near future. Self serving politicians and bumbling state regulators threaten to ‘kill the golden goose’ but this risk notwithstanding the future looks particularly bright for sports betting. This is why International Game Technology (IGT) has announced the creation of a dedicated business segment for these areas. The gaming technology giant previously included sports betting and iGaming under their ‘Global Gaming’ segment. The new segment dedicated to iGaming and sports betting will be known as the ‘Digital & Betting’ segment.
The new segment means that beginning with the third quarter of fiscal year 2021 financial results will be reported in three separate business segments: Global Lottery, Global Gaming and Digital & Betting. The IGT press release announcing the move did indicated that iLottery related business will remain part of the Global Lottery segment. Enrico Drago has been appointed to head the new division with the title CEO, Digital & Betting. His appointment is effective immediately and he will report to IGT CEO Marco Sala. Drago’s previous role within the company was running the IGT iGaming, iLottery and sports betting businesses as Senior Vice President, PlayDigital.
Marco Sala, CEO of IGT, characterized the move as being driven by the growth prospects of iGaming and sports betting:
“IGT has established strong leadership positions and driven dynamic growth across its iGaming and sports betting businesses. With significant growth expected to continue, we have decided to establish a dedicated Digital & Betting business segment. These businesses have become strategically important to IGT as they afford us the opportunity to leverage the global reach and strong customer relationships of our Global Gaming segment. The new structure gives us more flexibility in our product and solutions portfolio and enables better appreciation of the intrinsic value of these activities.”
In theory, it means that the two biggest areas of potential growth in the worldwide gaming industry will get a greater degree of focus. The importance of sports betting and iGaming to IGT will be more clearly reflected with the new business segment as opposed to the previous setup where they were lumped in with the company’s legacy retail casino business. The move is similar to those made by other players in the sports betting industry (eg: MGM Resorts and BetMGM, Wynn Resorts and Wynn Interactive) and is clearly a good decision. Whether IGT will try to spin off the new segment into an independent public company a la Wynn Interactive remains to be seen.
The press release from IGT also gave an executive biography of the newly appointed CEO, Digital & Betting, Enrico Drago:
Prior to his appointment as CEO, Digital & Betting, Enrico Drago served as Senior Vice President of PlayDigital from July, 2018, leading a fast-growing and award-winning portfolio of digital gaming/lottery and sports betting products, platforms and services. He has also served as Vice Chairman of De Agostini S.p.A., since June, 2021. As of June 30, 2021, De Agostini S.p.A. held approximately 50.40 percent of IGT’s ordinary shares and approximately 64.98 percent of the voting rights attaching to IGT’s ordinary shares. Drago also has served as an advisor for Nina Capital, a leading European venture capital firm focused on health technology companies, since 2019. He is the son of Marco Drago, a member of IGT’s Board of Directors and the Chairperson of De Agostini S.p.A.
In 2014, Enrico Drago joined IGT as Chief Operating Officer for subsidiary Lottomatica, overseeing the Italian business strategy and operations. In 2017, he took on the role of Senior Vice President Global Interactive, Sports Betting and Licenses. Prior to joining IGT, he led teams for Inditex Italia, which he joined through a leadership program for high-potential managers. Drago was selected as the Italy Chief Operating Officer for brands Bershka, Pull & Bear, Zara Home, Oysho, Stradivarius and Massimo Dutti and appointed as Inditex Italia Managing Director in 2011. Prior to his roles with Inditex Italia, Drago worked with Puig Beauty and Fashion.
The press release also announced some logistical information for investors. IGT is planning to recast historical financials to reflect the new business segment in advance of the Q3 2021 earnings call. In addition, IGT has moved its Investor Day event to November 16, 2021 and will now hold it virtually “due to the increased restrictions and ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its Delta variant”.