Although NetEnt was founded in 1996, the history of the company goes way back. In the 70’s one of Scandinavia’s leading off-line casino operators, known as Cherry, had to change its entire business model. This was the result of a ban on slot machines in Sweden. Consequently, the foundation of Cherry’s business disappeared within a month with an extensive reorganization as the next step.
In 1984, though, Cherry acquired a number of former operating Swedish gaming companies. These acquisitions were financed with newly issued shares, the basis for a newly created group.
Between 1986 and 1991, the company provided slot machines to casinos in a number of East European countries. But in 1992 the board resolves to streamline operations and slim down or close down in Eastern Europe.
It was in this same period the internet came about and Pontus Lindwall realized there was another way for Cherry to grow. Cherry could get involved in the iGaming industry. Even though the ‘world wide web’ in those days was far from what it is today, it could be the way to go. far away from the idea to be the number one communication tool all over the world. Personal computers were already widespread but limited in capacity and applications.
In 1996 Pontus Lindwall started Net Entertainment of which the name was changed into NetEnt in May 2015. Lindwall convinced Cherry and Kinnevik, one of the largest listed investment companies in Europe, to invest in the company. Two companies agreed to invest 75 million SEK, these days around 8,5 million euros, towards the development of NetEnt. The result, a successful internet gaming practice as this leading software supplier in iGaming found its way through what can be called a fast growing and dynamic industry, becoming one of the pioneers in the industry with a strong history in casino gaming.
Although a fast-growing market, it wasn’t always easy with the internet taking a while to become accepted as a reliable channel for consumption. The capacity of hard disks grew fast, internet connections came available everywhere and the internet speed increased day by day. Consumers, however, were hesitating in buying products and services through the internet because of the lack of safe payment environments. Banks and other financial service providers were looking for it. They worked together with companies convinced that if this problem was solved, the internet would be one big worldwide market for all kinds of products and services.
No sooner said than done, several safe payment environments became available to the internet. This resulted in an unexpected growth in the online gaming market. This despite the fact that many governments were prohibiting online gambling in order to protect their national land-based casinos and lotteries.
On the other hand, it has to be told that among the many online casinos that popped up, a significant number were unreliable, based in countries where control and regulation were completely absent.
In that same period, Malta was one of the countries being in an early stage of regulating online gambling sites, now offering a regulated market with a strong supervision on the interests of both, the operators and their online casinos, providers, as well as the consumers.
Other countries followed and today there is a huge regulated market with a large number of reliable operators offering a wide range of casino games to the players and sophisticated tools for governance, payment transactions, and data protection.
“The history of NetEnt goes way back, but I believe the bright future of world’s leading casino software provider will go even further.”
In 2016, NetEnt was celebrating its 20th anniversary, an exciting 20 years with lots of successes, but success didn’t come straight away. It was in 1996 that NetEnt started as Net Entertainment with one office in Stockholm, 3 employees, 2 servers, 1 yearly transaction, and 1 customer. It took NetEnt 7 years to make a profit, but little did NetEnt know what success could be found just around the corner.
Three years later, in 2006, NetEnt opened a second office in Malta after the company received a casino license granted by the Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA). A logical step with Malta as the first country to regulate gambling websites in a strict environment in order to bring operators and consumers the control so desperately needed.
Later on, more offices have been opened in Gothenburg, Gibraltar, Kiev, Krakow, and New Jersey. With the business going so well, it was in 2007 that NetEnt (still called Net Entertainment) went public in 2007, listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.
By 2017, NetEnt employs over 900 employees, has developed 200+ high-quality casino games and mobile casino games (NetEnt Touch®). They also went from 2 servers to an impressive 3500 servers. Around 175 customers are now offering the entire games suite or a selection of the most popular NetEnt Games.
NetEnt mobile games, Touch®
NetEnt had a slow start, but as the iGaming industry grew so did NetEnt. The company has always been a pioneer and the NetEnt Games have always been at the top of the market. No matter how many software companies are trying to compete with the Swedish/Maltese giant, they remain on top!
New devices conquered the world. Therefore, it’s not unusual these days to see people play online casino games on a smartphone. It’s known that 50% of NetEnt’s customers play the games on their tablet or smartphone.
NetEnt is a pioneer when it comes to the development of online casino games. The same goes for their mobile casino games. This rather new product of which the first game was launched in 2011 is now one of their key products with 40% of NetEnt’s revenues coming from the NetEnt Touch® games at the end of 2016.
It’s hard to realize it’s more than five years ago that Gonzo’s Quest Touch® was released. It is NetEnt’s first mobile game ever and remains a perfect example of innovation. Nowadays, NetEnt turned around 100 games into mobile games. New video slots are launched as Touch® games on the same day the desktop comes out.
The end of an era
When the company’s future becomes a chapter of its own in the history of the company, it’s a sign that a company has been around for a while. It was in 2016 that NetEnt said goodbye to what once was part of the company’s future.
There was a time that a series of video slots with a Wild, Scatter, and a Bonus Game was offering online casino players innovation and excitement. Just to be overtaken by a new generation of video slots 8 years later. This sad story fits the Wonders video slots. Th series consisted of Icy Wonders™, Tiki Wonders™, and Geisha Wonders™. Together they shared two progressive jackpots. They left the NetEnt stage, but live on in Divine Fortune™. This is due to the fact the jackpots were transferred to this more modern game. What can I say, game technology moves on and so does NetEnt.
Today NetEnt is seen as the leading developer of online casino games, live casino games, and mobile casino games. Dozens of successful NetEnt casino operators are offering their casino games. They are using NetEnt’s gaming networks in order to bring their players the best casino experience possible.
NetEnt is unique in the market. They don’t have any casino operation of their own, nor any interests in such operations. They have a focus strategy on casino games, responsible for the company’s success so far.
The past was all about expanding their casino games portfolio, as well as investing in live games and mobile games. I’m 100% sure NetEnt will keep on surprising the iGaming industry. They will hang on to the high quality. I’m sure new slot innovations will remain a focus including intriguing bonus games. Their passion for iGaming remains forever, the key to previous successes and tomorrow’s inventions.
NetEnt was founded in 1996 as Net Entertainment, although the roots of the company go back as early as 1963 when AB Restaurang Rouletter was established by Bill Lindwall and Rolf Lundström. Then in 1968, a partnership was signed with AB Roulett konsult & Spelautomater with Per Hamberg and Lars Kling as the owners. In 1972, the company changed to Cherry. Bill Lindwall’s son, Pontus Lindwall, was the one who eventually founded Net Entertainment in 1996, soon becoming a pioneer when online gaming started to take off in the mid-1990s. Pontus Lindwall is still one of the Members of the Board.
NetEnt was not the first online game provider but they have created games of high quality and high RTP's (Return to Player) for players. This might be the reason why the company has such a successful history amoung players and operators.
Pontus Lindwall, born in 1965 founded Net Entertainment in 1996. Pontus Lindwall is employed by Betsson and the Cherry Group since 1991 and is also a board member of Mostphotos AB and Solporten Fastighets AB. Pontus Lindwall was elected Board Member of NetEnt in 2011.
The current Members of the Board are; Fredrik Erbing, Peter Hamberg, Pontus Lindwall, Maria Redin, Lisa Gunnarsson, Christoffer Lundström and Jonathan Pettemerides.
The company was called Net Entertainment when founded in 1996, but it was in May 2015 that the company’s name was officially changed in NetEnt.