British gambling operator 888 Holdings has this week announced its entered into a partnership with Sports Illustrated to launch a US-facing sportsbook and casino for the brand.
Under the agreement, Sports Illustrated has given 888 Holdings, the operator of 888 Casino and numerous other brands, exclusive rights to its branding, with Sports Illustrated (SI) parent Authentic Brands Group receiving the license fee.
According to Yahoo Finance, the sportsbook, named SI Sportbook, will launch in Colorado in the second half of this year. The service will launch in other US states after, allowing 888 Holdings to offers sports betting to millions of fans in the US.
Jamie Salter, the Founder, Chairman, and CEO at Authentic Brands Group, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to announce that Sports Illustrated is entering the online sports betting and iGaming space.
“Sports wagering represents a large and high-growth market, allowing us to diversify the brand’s revenue streams and engage directly with our sports consumers, broadening the reach of the brand.”
Salter added: “888 is one of the leaders in online betting and gaming globally and has outstanding technology, products and marketing capabilities, and we are excited to partner with them to offer an innovative product experience for sports fans.”
Itai Pazner, the CEO at 888 Holdings, said: “We are delighted to announce this strategic partnership, enabling us to accelerate our investment into the US, which represents one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company.
“Sports Illustrated is an iconic sports media brand, with high awareness and consumer loyalty. This agreement provides us access to millions of engaged sports fans across the US, giving us a high-volume and cost-effective customer acquisition channel, and great content to engage sports fans.”
Pazner added: “We are excited about the potential to deliver our cutting-edge, proprietary sportsbook platform into the market, providing Sports Illustrated fans with a first-class betting and gaming experience.”
Also this week, leading game developer Yggdrasil has launched its latest slot, Suncatcher GigaBlox, after the release of Crazy Mix last week.
The brand new space-themed online slot is the latest game from Yggdrasil to use its GigaBlox engine, guaranteeing a giant symbol on every spin and both way paylines.
Suncatcher GigaBlox uses a 5×3 layout with 10 paylines, and the game has an RTP of 96%. The game comes with several special features, including Wild Respins, where wild symbols expand to fill an entire reel and trigger a respin.
Wild symbols remain sticky on the reels during the respin, and if 15 reel sports are filled with wild symbols, a respin is triggered along with a cash prize of 500x the player’s bet. Finally, the game also features a Golden Bet feature which gives players three times the chance to land a wild symbol.
Suncatcher GigaBlox is the fourth GigaBlox game, following the release of Lucky Neko, Hades, and Gator Gold. The mechanic is one of four GEMs offered by Yggdrasil, all of which are available to YG Masters partners and their games.
Stuart McCarthy, the Head of Product and Programs at Yggdrasil, said in a statement: “We’re worked extremely hard to incorporate our GigaBlox mechanic into products that appeal to all fans and we’re very pleased to launch Suncatcher GigaBlox.
“A low-volatility game for players who enjoy smooth gameplay, it’s an immersive journey through the stars in search of huge wilds and even bigger symbols.”
McCarthy continued: “Our GEM offering has been extremely popular since the launch and as well as additional proprietary titles, we are excited to see the introduction of YG Masters titles featuring our mechanics later this year.”
Meanwhile, developer Blueprint Gaming has announced the launch of its Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch slot, an enhanced version of the studio’s critically acclaimed video slot.
Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch includes a brand new free spins round. During the feature, landing four scatter and wild fisherman symbols awards The Big Catch, which upgrades the value of the smallest fish symbol to the next size and awards five free spins.
According to European Gaming, collecting enough fisherman symbols in the free spins round will increase the worth of all fish symbols to 50x the player’s bet, giving players a chance to make big wins.
Alongside the above mechanics, Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch includes all of the traditional mechanics and features of the base game, giving long-term players a familiar but new experience.
The Big Catch is the latest variation of Blueprint Gaming’s Fishin’ Frenzy slot, and it follows the release of the Prize Lines, MegaWays, and Power 4 Slots versions too. Blueprint Gaming has also confirmed that new variations of the classic slot will launch later this year.
Jo Purvis, the Director of Key Accounts and Marketing UK at Blueprint Gaming, said in a statement: “Fishin’ Frenzy fans are sure to love the new free spins round that we’ve developed, which delivers bigger wins from the deep blue sea.
“The Fishin’ Frenzy franchise remains hugely popular and introducing new variations of this casino classic is highly beneficial to operators, breathing new life into a proven theme that increases player engagement. We’re looking forward to evolving the fan favourite with new releases that players will fall hook, line and sinker for!”
The release of Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch follows the launch of new slots King Of The West, Eye Of Horus MegaWays, Diamond Mine MegaWays Jackpot King, Crypt Of The Dead, Divine Links, Eye Of Dead, and numerous others.