Joonas karhu, chief business officer at Bojoko, discusses some of the pros and cons of pay n play casinos and looks at whether they will ever make their way to highly regulated markets 

In recent months, pay and play casinos have become hugely popular with players in Scandinavian markets such as Denmark and Norway as well as Germany. 

This is because they allow players to deposit and play at an online casino without having to go through the often-laborious process of creating an account and waiting for their ID to be verified. 

Instead of having to create an account, they can play almost instantaneously simply by making a deposit via their online bank account. 

Trustly, the company behind this state-of-the-art technology, then collects personal information from the player’s bank account and shares it with the operator for ID and KYC purposes. 

This streamlines the registration and verification process, meaning players can deposit and wager without delay – traditionally, this delay can mean they do not deposit and play despite signing up. 

This is certainly the case in the UK market where online gambling operators are now required to fully KYC players before they are allowed to deposit and start playing. 

“Pay and play casinos are not without their challenges”

While operators are working hard to complete ID and KYC processes as quickly as possible, they simply can’t compete with the instantaneous nature of PNP. 

The challenges of pay and play casinos: 

But pay and play casinos are not without their challenges, particularly when it comes to operators acquiring and retaining players through marketing, bonuses and other incentives. 

Because the player does not have to provide an email address or telephone number, contacting them directly with personalised offers is tough and requires extra work. 

That being said, it is easy for operators to obtain this information at a later date, usually by incentivising the player to provide contact details in exchange for bonus cash, free spins, etc. 

Indeed, the convenience of being able to on-board players instantly more than outweighs the additional work required to obtain personal information used for marketing activity. 

The use of screen scraping: 

A bigger concern with pay and play casinos is the potential use of screen scraping as a way of obtaining the player’s information via their bank account. 

“For pay and play casinos to truly enter the mainstream … the technology needs to be tweaked a little.”

Screen scraping works by the online payment provider asking the user which bank they are with, recording their log-in credentials and then using them of access their online bank account. 

It does this by impersonating the user and then extracting the required data which is then passed on to the operator, in this case the pay and play casino. 

This data is usually held unencrypted, or at least must be accessible in an unencrypted format, in order for the screen scraping to take place and for data to be passed on to the operator. 

This presents substantial risk around the security of the information being held, although to date there have been no leaks reported across all industries using screen scraping. 

Indeed, for pay and play casinos to truly enter the mainstream, and to be made available to players in regulated markets such as the UK, the technology needs to be tweaked a little. 

This is certainly true when it comes to screen scraping as it will likely fall foul of the rules and requirements in highly regulated markets such as the UK and Spain. 

I truly believe that pay and play is one of the greatest advancements this sector has made in recent years”

Pay and play is the future: 

That being said, there is a huge opportunity on the table for a platform provider or online casino operator to take the principals of pay and play and create a product suitable for regulated markets. 

I believe this can be achieved by diligently navigating regulatory frameworks and by analysing what makes pay and play so seamless when it comes to onboarding and verifying players. 

The global online casino industry talks a lot about innovation and I truly believe that pay and play is one of the greatest advancements this sector has made in recent years. 

In some respects, it is a little too advanced as regulators have yet to figure out how to apply their frameworks and requirements in a way that allows for this innovation while still protecting players. 

But with input from both sides – regulators and providers/operators – a solution can undoubtedly be reached to allow players in all markets, regulated or otherwise, to benefit from PNP. 

At a time when consumers have such a huge range of entertainment options available literally at their fingertips, the user experience is absolutely paramount to engagement. 

Pay and play provides the most seamless access to online casino sites and games and for operators to continue to drive growth it really is the only way forwards.