In a first CasinoBeats roundtable we challenged industry professionals on all things platform integration, from issues faced, to a content overload and the necessity to ensure a consistent level of human interaction.
Continue on to hear the views of Jane Ryan, Nektan COO, Amir Gharani, Greentube’s head of games integration and Ruben Loeches, R Franco Group CMO.
CasinoBeats: Casinos and sportsbooks are being bombarded with fresh content on a weekly basis. What is being done at a platform level to make the on-boarding of that content easier?
Jane Ryan: For most operators, using an aggregator for the on-boarding of fresh content helps to cut down the overhead, hassle and time to market. It also allows the operator to focus on player marketing and retention rather than managing multiple supplier integrations.
The downside is sometimes a compromise in promotional tools, so it’s important to select a full-service aggregation platform that allows a wide range of promotions, including free spins, across the library of games.
It’s interesting that you use the word “bombarded” – yes, there are a lot of game studios and games in the market, but choice is a good thing for operators and players as long as they’re working with a supplier who can help you segment the games, and understand what fits for specific casino brands and player segments.
“It’s no longer good enough to focus solely on front-end innovation if you want to stay competitive”
We also like to champion the smaller niche studios and allow operators to build their own
games onto our RGS, to ensure operators have some differentiation. As an analogy we’d say our competitors are more like Sky TV with key suppliers and blockbuster games, and we’re more Netflix with selected blockbusters, indie studios and niche content.
Amir Gharani: It’s no longer good enough to focus solely on front-end innovation if you want to stay competitive in today’s market. In conjunction with offering a quality and diverse portfolio, platforms need to provide a seamless integration process that is both cost and speed efficient.
We’ve recently launched nJoin, a pioneering B2B platform, which allows our operator partners to roll out our extensive catalogue of games in a matter of days with minimal effort on their side.
CB: Can platforms play a greater role when it comes to compliance?
AG: Without a doubt. Regulation is heading in a direction that expands way beyond the traditional silos. It’s important that platforms keep abreast of incoming changes to legislation and compliance requirements, as operators will inevitably need to adapt our systems to their relevant markets.
Ruben Loeches: Yes – and this is something we excel at better than anyone else. While our Iris Platform is the driving force behind our multi-channel solution, our Iris Vault is for compliance, which is an independent layer compatible with any gambling provider or platform, is key to all of our partners’ needs.
In its essence, it works as a black box that captures and registers transactions of all gambling operations. The Vault is hosted in a unique virtual machine to ensure no transfer of data and includes a data capture tool, a data warehouse for all gambling transactions and full traceability of data for a sustained period.
This gives us a huge advantage compared to legacy platforms when it comes to integrating in newly regulating markets, particularly in Europe and LatAM, as we’re able to provide for all of our partner’s regulatory needs as a bolt-on to our existing platform.
“Regulation is heading in a direction that expands way beyond the traditional silos”
CB: Would it not be easier for operators to take all their content from a handful of aggregators, rather than individual suppliers as is often the case in Asia. What is the business case for multiple integrations?
JR: If you’re an operator looking to boost your casino offering in an efficient way, content
aggregation platforms offer the best option. One simple integration opens the door to a diverse range of new content that appeals to a wider audience.
We understand that sometimes operators will want the flexibility to take some suppliers direct at a point in time, but generally if the add-on platform features are innovative and easy to use, and the commercials are viable, then most operators don’t see the need to.
AG: Both come with advantages and challenges, the answer is dependent on the operator’s strategy and agility. While partnering with aggregators offers quick access to a vast library of games with less integration endpoints, with individual suppliers there’s greater opportunity to develop exclusive games and bespoke content.
We’ve found that when the on-boarding process is as quick and simple as it should be, offering transparency as well as quality, then the additional integration is actually seen to provide greater flexibility.
“To succeed in any new market, success comes from utilisation of local knowledge”
RL: In my view, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is never the best strategy. A handful of aggregators covering various themes and appealing to all types of players is key to providing operators with the tools to provide a bespoke, successful offering across all areas.
Only by knowing how players source their games, how and when they play them, and what they look for in their jackpots, can operators truly succeed across each individual country. This is especially the case in LatAm, where operators eyeing the market have Europe-focused core products, which creates a struggle to work to the requirements of players and regulators.
To succeed there, it has become more important than ever to work with those with a know how of the local area to adapt products and games to be suitable from the off, which can only be achieved with flexibility of supply.
Will increased platform functionality do away with the need for account managers or will there always be a need for human interaction?
JR: I’m a big fan of automation where possible and instant chat tools have fundamentally changed the way we work, but let’s not forget we’re in the entertainment industry and human interaction is key between both operators and players, and operators and suppliers.
“A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is never the best strategy”
Technology is fantastic for the dissemination of information (such as game specs, asset packs and roadmaps) and for mass and/or instant communication, but good old human interaction is vital for strategy and customer support. Customer service is an important topic for me which is why I spend an evening in our call centre whenever I can.
RL: There is of course the argument that technology will supplant the role of human account managers, and to a certain extent that may be true – none more so when it comes to compliance facing activities. In my view however, there will always be the need for a human element to the account manager role for international operations.
To succeed in any new market, success comes from utilisation of local knowledge. A human will always provide for this better than any automated function, and while I don’t have a crystal ball to hand – I certainly wouldn’t bet on it changing anytime soon.