Gaming technology giant Playtech has held its inaugural Outlook Event in London, discussing what it believes will be the key trends and challenges facing the industry during the coming year.

Emphasising regulation, technology and customer demands as key pillars for the wider industry, real-time player engagement and gamification become two key areas upon which the gaming organisation addressed in great detail.

Regarding the first of those topics, Tony Evans, Playtech’s VP of product strategy, detailed one such launch, which will not only be a valuable marketing tool but will also further the organisation’s responsible gambling efforts. “In terms of real-time player engagement, we are creating an engagement platform and this will be a key focus for 2019,” said Evans.

“The engagement platform in part is some existing features we already have available to us, but we are expanding it out, and I’ll give a tangible example as to why this is so beneficial.

“Most players that you acquire… only play once”

“Across the industry as a whole – and this doesn’t necessarily sit within one vertical – most players that you acquire, these are end users, into a betting or gaming environment, only play once.

“They come in, they are driven through an acquisition offer of some kind, or through cross-sell from the sportsbook, or from a retail outlet and they are driven to the product, and they play, and have in many cases a losing experience, and they leave.

“They are very promiscuous beings, they are very much driven by bonus offers, etc.

“We wanted to combat this problem, and it’s an industry problem, and the way that we can do it using our technology is to understand, not only the best point to intervene when a player is playing within that first session, but also intervene consistently across all the product verticals that we offer.

“We are very conscious to be a responsible technology provider”

“So rather than the industry trend today that is relying heavily on offline communication for player conversion, for retention, we want to provide a technology that you can intervene across every vertical, even when you are in a game, at the opportune moment.

“We want to do it in a data-driven way.”

“We are very aware of the environment, and we are very conscious to be a responsible technology provider,” Evans added.

Aiming to use real-time intervention on a responsible gambling basis too, Evans stressed the role of behaviour analytics company Bet Buddy, which is integrated into its core player management system, and can predict harmful behaviour of players across any vertical.

“How does one encourage a person to act responsibly?”

Talk of responsible gambling continued throughout each subject presented, but it was perhaps when discussing gamification in great detail, and the increasing role such features are set to play, when the necessity to optimise its wider usage became a little clearer.

Evans went on to explain: “One of our partners in the Nordic regions uses gamification firmly from a responsible gaming angle.

“They actually use gamification to encourage and incentivise players to review terms and conditions, to set their deposit limits, to set their self-exclusion limits, their timers.

“And this is another really important part of the proposition, because if you think about it, how does one encourage a person to act responsibly? How does one encourage a user to make sure that they complete a responsible gambling questionnaire?

“You can’t just offer them a bonus because that’s irresponsible, so gamification can give you incentives beyond traditional betting and gaming type incentives.”

“It’s to be big trend in general during the next year, and ongoing.”

Offered by Finland’s Veikkaus, it gives users a series of badges, awards or points, ranked on leaderboard, building upon the idea of social proofing.