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PlayUSA Q&A With Andy Whitworth, CEO At White Hat Studios

PlayUSA interviewed Andy Whitworth, CEO at White Hat Studios, to learn more about the company’s ambitions in the US market.

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Photo by Nemanja Cosovic/Shutterstock
Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
6 mins read

White Hat Studios has become one of North America’s most prominent software providers and was the first to enter all seven regulated US online casino states. It’s one of only two casino content suppliers (IGT is the other one) available in all seven iGaming states:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Delaware
  3. Michigan
  4. New Jersey
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Rhode Island
  7. West Virginia

White Hat Studios’ announcements of new operator and commercial gaming partnerships have become so frequent that they’ve arrived a few times a month. So far, White Hat Studios have teamed up with more than 50 operators, including partnerships with renowned brands like BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel.

To find out more about the company’s success and future moves, PlayUSA spoke to Andy Whitworth, CEO at White Hat Studios.

US gambling market has White Hat Studios’ undivided attention

White Hat’s history is relatively short, from 2021, when its parent company, White Hat Gaming, purchased Blueprint Gaming.

More precisely, White Hat Studios was established by acquiring an RGS, brand, and gaming catalog from Blueprint Gaming, one of Europe’s major online casino content providers.

That allowed the firm to establish White Hat Studios at the beginning of 2022 and offer leading content from Blueprint, Reel Time, Merkur and Lucksome Studios to players in the US market.

Given your rapid expansion across the US, what has brought WHS its current success?

“When White Hat Studios was established, there was a clear mindset to enter the market at a rapid pace to capture as much market share as possible and become a key supplier.

Our strategy was to make our mark by bringing the best European content to the US, offering unique games and jackpots. We have achieved this by focusing only on the US market, meaning it has our undivided attention.

We believe it comes down to three key factors.

Firstly, people; we hired a team with US experience from a commercial and technical delivery point of view.

Secondly, speed to market; we have the tech and integration expertise to enter faster than any supplier has managed previously, which we have demonstrated by going live in all seven iGaming states with 57 operator deployments in less than two years.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we entered the market with USPs of bringing some of the best European content into the US for the first time, focusing on linked games progressive jackpots, ‘Jackpot Royale,’ and branded IP content, for which we use the tag line ‘House of Brands.'”

How did you become one of the leaders in a competitive US market and remain on top?

“We foster symbiotic and close partnerships with leading casino brands. Of course, commercial relationships are key, and I might be biased but I believe we have the best team in the industry. But ultimately, it comes down to product and innovation.

We believe we offer a wide variety by launching multiple new games each month. We engage with operators and players by offering choices. Each month, we strive to offer unique online slot games, new jackpot games, branded IP titles and innovations such as ‘Blackjack Player choice,’ which was the first blackjack game to offer players six different selectable side bets.

Our ambitious mindset keeps us at the top of the rankings each month. As well as introducing a regular flow of new games, the addition of gameplay-enhancing features such as ‘Win Spins’ and the popular Jackpot Royale system, contribute to nurturing customer loyalty.

Evolution is key to remaining an industry leader, and we are committed to bolstering our portfolio with blockbuster titles and state-of-the-art features to make it a valuable commodity to both players and operators.”

How do you strategize to remain on top in existing markets?

“We are currently ranked 6th in the Eilers & Krejcik Gaming report rankings in North America. We believe that we will crack the top five in the coming months, then the question is, how do we reel in the big three?

We have been working hard in the background with our in-house studio localizing new content, so it is targeted to what resonates with US players most.

We are excited by our H2 content roadmap. It’s our strongest yet with an increased throughput.

We have doubled down on our ‘House of Brands’ IP game offering, which will see multiple new brands launching in the second part of this year. We will continue to do what has made us successful with regard to games, but we also watch industry trends carefully.

Currently, coin combo games are performing very well. As a result, we are going to market with our range of these games, which sees ‘Peaky Blinders 2’ launch first in Q4 with these mechanics incorporated.

Our aim is to provide all game types, so a huge focus has been put on creating games in areas where we don’t have a presence currently, such as steppers, adding our White Hat Studios innovative tweaks to them.”

What are some of the brightest moments for WHS since entering the US online casino market?

“Becoming the first provider to enter all seven regulated US states is our proudest achievement, and other noticeable highlights include hitting 100k active players in a single day and establishing a strong presence in the country by partnering with 96% of the entire US iGaming market.

There have been so many highlights, but I was especially proud of the team winning both the SBC and EGR North America Rising Star awards in 2023. It was great recognition for all the hours everyone has worked.

We still get excited every month when our new games feature in the Eilers online new game rankings, when new clients go live, and when we hit new income records each month.

The team has done an amazing job, and the overall brightest moments are when the whole team gets together to celebrate. Our culture has a real family feel to it which is amazing.”

What partnerships are you most excited about or proud of?

“We have partnered with all the leading tier-one US operators, including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, Rush Street, etc.

However, our philosophy is to treat all operators the same, so for us, it doesn’t matter if you are a T1 or a T3, we will support you in exactly the same way. We have achieved some amazing results and share of wallets with some of the non-Tier 1s, which rival their larger counterparts with performance on our games.”

When new markets emerge, how do you plan your expansion, and what do your future moves depend on?

“In the coming year, it is crucial we remain aware of regulatory updates to ensure our games and tech are ready to enter new markets as soon as possible. We monitor and track all bill submissions, and it is a key objective for the team that we launch on day one in any new state that regulates in the future.

Securing licenses in new states will provide a huge commercial advantage for those that launch on day one. We have seen the power of our content being live on day one for the first time with Rhode Island.

We are the clear market-leading supplier in this state and have been for three months in a row since it went live. In more established states such as New Jersey, it is much more challenging to gain market share as a new entrant to the US.

We are very excited for the next state to be announced and we have a feeling it will be Arkansas or Illinois.”

Can you reveal some of your content upcoming launches in digital markets in 2024?

“Fans of White Hat Studios’ games have a lot to look forward to. As mentioned, our H2 roadmap is our best content to date. Our big, branded games coming soon are ‘Black Mirror,’ ‘The Flintstones,’ ‘Lost Boys’ and a new ‘Goonies Megaways’ title.

We have some really big US classic themed titles in ‘Big Hits Blazinator’ and ‘7’s Fire Blitz.’ We also have a new version in Q3 of our number one game ‘Almighty Buffalo Megaways,’ with its latest version ‘Almighty Buffalo King.’

In total, we have 19 new general releases plus a few secrets that I can’t announce yet.”

What can you tell us about the company’s strategy going forward and future plans?

“Our strategy is pretty straightforward. We will enter into every US state that regulates and will consider expanding into more jurisdictions outside of the US when the time is right.

We will continue to focus on having commercial excellence, and game quality, and expanding our in-house games teams to make sure we continue on our growth trajectory, gaining market share in line with our target of 10%. 

We have product innovations in place and have a new exciting product to launch in Q1 next year, plus we will continue to invest in the right branded content to attract player acquisitions for our operator partners.”

Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
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Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

View all posts by Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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