Light & Wonder

Light & Wonder Review ➤ A century of legacy ✚ hundreds of games to enjoy. What is this rebranding of Scientific Games up to? Find the best casinos here.
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Karri profile image Karri Last Updated 2024-04-13

Light & Wonder might be a fresh brand, but it’s far from being a new gaming studio. The roots of this company reach deep into the history of online casino gaming, and even further into land-based casinos. But before we dive into that history, let’s look at the facts around the current brand.

The story of the brand begins in 2022, when it rebranded from Scientific Games. The latter is a well known company. The reason for the name change was simple, the company sold many of its assets and concentrated on the casino gaming industry.

Today the company consists of many studios, big and small alike. The main company itself is more of a platform, providing gaming services across a variety of jurisdictions and related fields of gaming.

History of the Brand

The history of casino gaming companies are often hard to track down. Especially as they are changing hands often, with parts and pieces sometimes sold to other companies. As such, it’s hard to say who can keep what legacy.

However, we can at least say that Light & Wonder does share roots and some sort of lineage, even with the name change and other changes over the years. Today the company is based in the USA, but their roots can in one form or another be traced back to 1917 and a company called Autote established in Australia.

This company produced totalizators, which were betting devices used in sports betting. By 1953 the company had opened up offices in the USA, also expanding its systems to include lottery and slot machines. Autotote changed hands in 1979, and in 1989 it was bought by United Tote, which however was broken up by 1991.

Things continued as normal until 2000, when the company bought Scientific Games, then invested in instant lottery machines. This led to a name change in 2001, the whole conglomerate adopting the Scientific Games brand as their own. The latter company itself was originally founded in 1973.

In the following decades the company went on an acquisition spree. They bought lottery providers EssNet and The Global Draw, as well as land-based operations such as Barcrest. WMS Industries was bought in 2013, followed by Bally Technologies a year later. DEQ Systems and Spicerack Media a few years later. Around this time the company also launched a branch concentrating on social gaming. NYX was perhaps the biggest step into online gaming, when it was bought in 2017.

This raked up a lot of debt for the company, and they ended up selling their lottery and sports betting operations to a holding group. Thus getting rid of the business that they had originally started with some hundred years ago. Together with this they sold the Scientific Games brand and renamed into Light & Wonder. At the same time they still found funds to purchase live gaming operations, though these seem to have been abandoned later on.

And that’s where we are today, a betting company turned into a multinational slots provider. Let’s see what sort of operations the company runs today next.

Online Casino Gaming

The platform that the company operates providers casino games across a vast field of casino gaming. Not only do they have their own dedicated studios, but they also have plenty of partners on that platform, offering even more games for interested online casinos and casino players.

In total, there are several hundred titles to choose from. The vast majority of these are online slots, but there are a considerable number of table games, scratch cards, and other types of games in the mix too.

As the company has been in the online business for decades, it comes as no surprise that they have managed to sign deals with hundreds of online casinos. Their products are available from their own platform, but likewise via other connected studios. In fact, it is quite hard to find an online casino where you couldn’t get your hands on Light & Wonder games.

The Platform Itself

The platform that the company offers comes with over four thousand games, mostly from their partners, which so far number over sixt studios from small to big. More importantly, it is either licensed or certified in over 30 different jurisdictions. These cover everything from Canada to the USA, as well as most European licenses, including the UK.

The different software tools and solutions allow pretty much everything one needs to run an online casino. This includes payment methods, all sorts of 3rd party tools and integrations, player account management, data handling tools, and everything else that a player in the end doesn’t really have to consider at all. Save for the promotions and bonuses, which also seem to offer plenty of marketing opportunities. Interestingly enough, custom game development is also part of the deal.

Land-Based Operations

It does seem like the land based solutions, which consists of slots and table games, is as much a part of the repertoire as their online slots. Or perhaps even more so. You are likely to find much the same games as are available online in land-based casinos, although it is not clear to which they are developed first for.

Light & Wonder has an impressive array of cabinets available, and they likewise seem to have quite a portfolio of patents registered for these solutions. We assume similar solutions as are offered to online casinos are available for their traditional casino clients. 

Important Studios

Light & Wonder itself is the parent company under which the smaller studios function. These studios are the ones responsible for most of the online slots, and other casino games, available. Of these the former NYX Gaming is by far the most important. And of course, with decades and decades of history behind the whole company, there are plenty of games that don’t fall under any of these individual studios.

Let’s have a look at the individual Light & Wonder studios:

  • NextGen Gaming

NYX acquired NextGen Gaming sometime around 2011, with the company originally established in 1999. This is by far the biggest of the individual studios, responsible for over half of the portfolio offered by Light & Wonder. They have produced slots, scratch cards, and table games aplenty.

  • OpenBet

The original company was a sports betting platform, established in 1996. The sports betting functions were sold outside Light & Wonder in 2021. However, some online casino games were still retained with this brand. These however were rather simple classic slots, most of which are no longer available. Most likely these can only be found today in land-based casinos.

  • Side City

A Canadian casino game developer established in 1999, acquired by NYX in 2015. They still have a dozen or so slots available online. Though it also seems that they are no longer publishing new games. Most likely the team is nowadays working under a different brand name.

  • Betdigital

Another fairly large studio, established in 2011 and acquired by NYX in 2016. Like Side City, some slots still remain active, but no new releases have been launched under this brand in quite a few years.

  • Game360

Relatively little known brand established in 2011 and acquired by NYX in 2015. Like the above studios, they too have not released any new slots under this brand since 2018. Originally an Italian company.

  • NYX

Only a single title can be found in the catalog, called Aladdin's legacy. Before this the company ever only released a handful of slots, and worked more as a parent company grouping for all the above studios. A job that is now taken care of by Light & Wonder.

Conclusion on Light & Wonder Studios

Whilst the company does hold several studios, it’s quite clear that all but NextGen Gaming have since closed their doors as independent brands. Furthermore, even Nextgen seems to be slowly overtaken by Light & Wonder as the publisher and the brand. The studios might still be functional, but it’s clear that they all work under a single brand now.

All of this is the product of constant acquisitions, restructuring and rebranding. However, it’s clear that new games are still being produced and released at a constant pace. Albeit, not quite as fast as used to be the case. For additional information, check out our exclusive interview.

Branded Games

Something that Light & Wonder is quite active with are branded slots. This doesn’t quite seem to extend to the online space though. These games are mostly available in the terminals, situated in land-based casinos and other gaming locations. The reasons for these are unknown to us, but if we’d have to guess it’s due to the global nature of online casino gaming, whereas these licenses are most likely for local markets such as the USA.

Nevertheless the brands that they have worked with are quite impressive. These include everything from movies to celebrities, board games, to singers. The following is a list of themes found in different slots: Battleship, Beetlejuice, Bruce Lee, Cirque Du Soleil, Cluedo, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, James Bond, James Dean, Johnny Cash, King Kong, Michael Jackon, Monopoly, Rocky, Slingo, Squid Game, Tetris, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, Wonder Woman, and many others.

Let’s hope this collection will eventually find its way online, as it’s one of the most impressive ones when it comes to branded content. And definitely something that already has a well established fanbase.

Social Gaming

SciPlay is the social gaming division of Light & Wonder. Officially this brand has existed since 1999, though there’s not much mention when they really started working with online slots. There isn’t really all that information to go by. What we do know is that they operate in a handful of countries, offering a handful of games. These are all free to play games, but drawing heavy inspiration from casino games. USA, India, and Turkey seem to be the main markets.

In essence, casino games that you can enjoy with play money. These include Monopoly slot, Fortune Wheel, Bingo Showdown and assorted slots. The staff numbers nearly one thousand, so supposedly these games are quite popular. However, there’s little information to go about when it comes to what sort of operations they really run. And to be honest, for a real money gamer these sorts of games are of little interest.


Light & Wonder in its previous iteration controlled much of the sports betting market in North America and the UK. After hundreds of millions if not billions in acquisitions and sales, they have pivoted to a completely different style of operations.

This is quite interesting, as seemingly all that money used resulted not in the success the company sought, but instead forced them to completely change the style of operations they do. Still, this seems to have been a benefit.

The core of what Light & Wonder offers is their worldwide presence. Rather than aiming to produce online slots for consumers, they have changed their business to become a central platform that online casinos can use to access and offer everything that is hot in the world of iGaming. Of course, they do still release the occasional hit like Squid Game - One Lucky Day, Golden Fire Link Dragon Song, or Coin Combo Explosion Jackpot Festival. We still do see more or less monthly releases, but that is far less what the company was once capable of.

The core business seems to be in the land-based casinos. And it ties in with the above worldwide presence. There’s hardly a corner in the world where you wouldn’t be able to find slots and terminals from the company. Perhaps not the most interesting slot producers, but definitely one of the big players when it comes to presence of one kind or another in casinos, online and land.

External links:





Sciplay homepage

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