Focus on Aristocrat: After first-year boom, Anaxi expects online offerings to grow more in ’24

January 19, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
January 19, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

Anaxi generated a virtual stampede of achievements in its first 15 months, partnering with several top iGaming operators and launching titles in six countries, including the United States.

That sets the stage for even more additions in 2024, said Joshua Morris, head of iGaming Content and Strategy for Anaxi, the real-money online gambling and customer experience business under Aristocrat Leisure Limited.

Buffalo and Buffalo Gold slots entered the iGaming market late in 2023, and “we’ve got a lot of casino-floor favorites to bring into the market in the year ahead,” Morris said.

Anaxi, founded in late 2022, had no online games operating anywhere at the start of 2023. It now offers online slot games in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In December, it introduced Mobile On-Premise technology for the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma, enabling players on tribal land to access Class II games using mobile devices. The company also has online slot games in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands and Spain. Its digital wallet, which works with Anaxi’s Playermax app solution or any third-party app provider, debuted in the first half of 2023. Caesars Sportsbook and Casino, BetMGM, FanDuel, and Penn Entertainment are among the operators offering its games.

“It’s been an incredible first year,” Morris said. “We’re happy with the progress, but it’s still very much early days for us.”

Several more of Aristocrat’s most popular in-casino slot titles will become available for online play, including additional Buffalo games, a Timberwolf version of Cash Express Luxury Line, Jackpot Carnival, Mo’ Mummy, Fu Dai Lian Lian, Lucky 88, and Mighty Cash.

“Once those key franchises are on the market, we’ll bring on more games from within each franchise over the next couple of years,” Morris said. “We want to make sure to offer the full breadth of the product.” Anaxi’s online game portfolio already tops 200, including Aristocrat titles and games developed by Roxor Gaming Limited, which Aristocrat acquired in early 2023. Roxor games are primarily in Canada, England and Europe.

Morris said Anaxi emphasizes the quality of its online games rather than the number of offerings.

“You have a very different user interface in iGaming vs. a land-based cabinet, just in terms of the overall size and scale of the experience,” he said. “We’ve stayed as true to the original title as possible in terms of the gaming experience, the art, the graphics, and the player’s overall journey.” The iGaming team works closely with the team behind the land-based version to ensure that a phone user’s experience of playing Buffalo Gold, for example, is as close as possible to that of playing a giant slot in a traditional casino. In some cases, that can include tweaks to the mobile game’s math model to offset its lack of a linked progressive jackpot.

“That attention to detail is fundamental to bringing the biggest brands to life in a way that is entertaining and engaging players through a mobile phone,” Morris said. He added that Anaxi’s first online progressive jackpot will be launched this year as part of a Timberwolf Cash Express game.

Morris said North American online players show “a huge amount of loyalty” to popular land-based slots, whether the titles come from Aristocrat or other manufacturers. He noted that regulations governing U.S. iGaming tend to link land-based and online operators, while Europe has more providers whose primary focus is online casinos. “At Anaxi, we are excited about the opportunity from both the European and North American perspectives, because we feel we have brands that resonate in both markets,” he said.

He said online casino games offer land-based casinos an opportunity to interact more closely with the customers, such as offering daily personalized free-play offers based on their activity. “There is a strong complementary relationship between the two channels,” he said. “We’ll get closer to players through digital. We’ll see better player engagement and better player experiences by combining land and digital product offerings. The better we understand players, the more we can do to innovate and to entertain.”

Mark Gruetze is a veteran journalist from suburban Pittsburgh who covers casino gaming issues and personalities.