Having enjoyed a “superb” 2019 by leveraging advanced technology for its gaming content, online casino software and slot supplier Tom Horn Gaming started 2020 in a similar vein by unveiling a new partnership with UK-facing online casino operator MrQ.

CasinoBeats caught up with Tom Horn CEO Ondrej Lapides to discuss the firm’s strategy for growth in regulated markets, reacting to the rise of the ‘umbrella’ studio model, working on the ‘stickiness’ of new titles and making plans for 2020 – starting in London next week.

CasinoBeats: How do you reflect on 2019 as a year for Tom Horn?

Ondrej Lapides: 2019 proved to be yet another superb year for Tom Horn Gaming. Our   development team focused hard on creating new slots that brought new themes and   mechanics to the fore, leveraging some of the most advanced technology. 

New releases included Inca’s Treasure, Diamond Hill or Spinball. The reaction to these games has been extremely positive and they became the hit shortly after their release. Being a unique game combining popular pinball visuals with slot game rhythm, Spinball attracted not only our current player base but also new player demographics around the globe.

On the business side, we signed a number of strategic partnerships with leading operators and aggregators in multiple markets that we’re looking forward to capitalising on in 2020. 

Our hard work and dedication was acknowledged by industry peers with Tom Horn featured in a number of award shortlists. In May, we won two trophies at the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Awards.

This triumph was followed by one more accolade at the CEEG Awards in September and two awards at the Southern European Gaming Awards in November. A truly remarkable year for the whole team!

CB: Tom Horn has seen lots of geographic growth, entering or strengthening in Latvia, Portugal and Sweden among others. Can you outline the strategy for growth in regulated markets such as these?

OL: With the igaming market facing a rapid pace of change, it is vital for companies to keep an eye on compliance from the very beginning when targeting a new, heavily regulated market. We see regulatory compliance as the future of igaming. Brands will have to invest more into the development of their products, solutions, and services to support a required set of features and regulatory requirements set out by gambling authorities.

We want players to enjoy safe gaming experience, therefore we’ve been constantly researching and updating our products to comply with the most stringent rules for  responsible gaming to ensure that all players in as many markets as possible are protected and served equally.

In 2020, we’ll continue our efforts to treat players to new exciting yet safe gaming products in a whole raft of new markets as a geographical expansion, targeting new territories and customer segments are among our core priorities in 2020.

CB: 2019 saw lots of developers increase the number of titles produced, with some moving to an umbrella studio model, bringing smaller developers on board to boost creativity and productivity. How is Tom Horn reacting to this?

OL: Content will always be king and new high-quality games are central to the success of any game provider in the industry. With Tom Horn entering new markets, our player base has been rapidly growing and the demand for new, unique titles growing exponentially. 

A collaboration model has been around for a while and it is natural to utilise the existing infrastructure we have in place in terms of tech and regulatory connections. To offer our portfolio to a growing number of customers around the world, we are also exploring these opportunities.

CB: One way of giving new products ‘stickiness’ is innovative mechanics or gamification, with a number of developers launching new products on this front. What is it about Tom Horn titles that will give them prominence in casino lobbies?

OL: Our main focus has always been an immersive player experience. All our games are developed with this in mind. We’re passionate about creating the type of games that a greater number of players wish to play. This means we have to go through extensive research to understand all local nuances. 

We listen carefully to our customers’ and players’ feedback and implement their suggestions in  game development whenever possible. This combined with established game patterns, proven game mechanics and the latest technological innovations makes our games authentic and sought-after by players in casino lobbies.

CB: What can we expect from Tom Horn at ICE and throughout 2020?

OL: As always, ICE visitors will be treated to new titles that we’ll present on our stand N7-410. In 2020, we will continue to enhance our market reach, adding new regulated markets to our portfolio, and engage as many players as possible and focus on the newest technological innovations and their implementation in new games to ensure even more thrilling player experience.