As much money as online gambling industry companies spend on brand awareness, it can seem confusing to consumers at times. It doesn’t help that businesses keep rebranding and that sometimes, their old names stick around, but attached to new owners. Such is the case with Scientific Games (SG).
That company is now known as Light and Wonder (L&W). However, in October 2021, well before the name change, it sold off its SG Lottery operations for $6 billion. The buyer was Brookfield Business Partners, a private equity company based in Bermuda. That company is itself splitting into two entities on Mar. 15. However, Brookfield decided to keep the Scientific Games name attached to its acquisition.
On March 3, SG Lottery announced it would simply go by “Scientific Games” moving forward. Thus, the name lives on as a subsidiary of Brookfield Business Partners, while the company originally called that continues to be independent, but has a new identity.
In a press release using the SG logo, Atlanta-based SG said:
“Scientific Games lottery organization will keep the iconic Scientific Games name, and the company’s Gaming and iGaming business units are moving forward as Light & Wonder. Light & Wonder’s rebranding does not impact the company’s lottery business or 130 customers in 50 countries worldwide.”
Scientific Games comes full circle
In a way, it makes sense that the new SG Lottery owners would want the product to remain associated with its original identity. By the same token, it makes sense that L&W wanted a makeover.
SG is one of the oldest brands still active in gambling. Its original owners founded the company in 1973 as a supplier to state lotteries. For decades, they kept the branding consistent, even as SG diversified away from its core business of lottery ticket manufacturing.
According to a 2021 press release from what was then SG Lottery, the brand was a lottery industry innovator:
“Scientific Games launched the world’s first secure retail instant game in 1974, the first digital instant game in the U.S. in 2014, and is the world’s largest creator, manufacturer and services provider of instant games in the world.”
L&W sheds the trappings of its past
L&W, for its part, wants to concentrate on casino products and especially iGaming.
That’s why it sold off not only SG Lottery, but also OpenBet, its sports betting product. In September 2021, SG sold OpenBet for $1.2 billion to Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Endeavor Group Holdings.
Speaking of brands, Endeavor is best known as the owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Without those lottery and sports betting products, L&W’s “About Us” section is much shorter than it used to be:
“Scientific Games Corporation, doing business as Light & Wonder Inc., is the global leader in cross-platform games and entertainment.”
Prior to jettisoning its non-iGaming businesses, L&W had this description:
“End-to-End Gaming and Lottery Solutions: Scientific Games is a world leader in entertainment – offering dynamic games, systems and services for casino, lottery, social gaming, online gaming and sports betting.”
L&W said in its Q4 2021 earnings presentation on Mar. 1, that it would use the $7.25 billion from those sales to turn over a new page in its corporate history.
The company’s priorities for that money are, in order:
- Debt reduction
- Share buybacks
- Organic growth
- Inorganic growth
L&W, SG, Wonder … what’s in a name?
Old brands have a way of sticking around, both in reality and in consumers’ memories.
For those who look at the new L&W logo and think of Wonder Bread or even Bimbo Bakeries, you have my sympathy. Those companies have been around since 1921 and 1945, respectively.
Wonder employs nearly the name font and, of course, the same word used by L&W. Bimbo has a similar font and a wavy word encasement, while L&W adds a curve to “Wonder.”
Wonder has had its balloon font branding for a century, though, according to History of Branding.
It’s difficult to have a wholly unique brand today. Just ask the Washington Commanders.
Bally’s, Ballyhoo and L&W
Even with this month’s news about SG, the gambling industry has even more confusing brand situations – including one within L&W.
Bally Games is a brand belonging to L&W. Not Bally’s Corporation, as one might expect, although even that company has little to do with the original Bally’s.
That original company began as a manufacturer of pinball machines and the likes. These days, Bally Games’ products are retail casino slot machines, not pinball machines.
The L&W site recounts:
“Bally’s story began over 85 years ago with a wooden pinball game called Ballyhoo.”
Ballyhoo history goes all the way back to 1932, according to Pinball Castle. That’s now 90 years ago. So L&W may not have updated that web page very recently, despite paying $5.1 billion for Bally Technologies in 2014.
Bally Games appear to be the end of the road for the slot machine/pinball arm of a Chicago empire that grew to include retail casinos, fitness centers, arcade video games and theme parks.
Bally bought its first retail casino in 1979, but the “amusement games division” hasn’t been associated with those other aspects of the brand since Bally Manufacturing sold them in 1988, according to MadeInChicagoMuseum.com.
That means the “original Bally script logo has changed hands through a half-dozen different licensing deals over the past 25 years.” Meanwhile, the Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corporation was called Twin River Worldwide Holdings until late 2020, and isn’t related at all to Bally Games.
Even so, it’s possible that Bally Games slot machines are operating in a Bally’s casino. Let us know if you spot one.