Lloyd Butler, CEO of Live5, talks about why launching in the UK market provides slot developers with the learning curve they need for successful international expansion.

The UK online casino market is often considered one of the most competitive in the world. 

It is well established with a large number of online casino brands and game developers all fighting for their share of consumer attention and, more importantly, consumer spend. 

Anyone looking to enter the fray must be prepared for this, but in many ways this is exactly why developers launch in the UK market before expanding elsewhere. 

There is no better way to develop and improve than by competing with the best and by entering the UK market, developers know they must be at the top of their game from day one. 

Below, I discuss why the UK is a key market for developers with international ambitions and what can be learned from a jurisdiction where operators and players have such high expectations. 

The best expects the best

The challenge for any new studio is to get its games integrated with a big-name operator, but once that has been achieved the learning curve only gets steeper. 

Tier one online gambling brands can be incredibly demanding when it comes to the games they launch to their players, especially if those games are bespoke and exclusive. 

One of the first operators we worked with was Sky Betting and Gaming, and the approach they required us to take when building a bespoke game set a standard that we have continued to follow. 

This means everything from the research we undertake before working on the first concept of the game, right down to the production value of the end product. 

“The developers used to meeting compliance standards are best placed for future growth”

Only in an established market such as the UK where the competition is so fierce, and player demand so high, would the expectation of an operator be so great. 

While this pushed us to our limits at the time, ultimately it has helped us create an environment where we are able to work to the best of our abilities and continue to improve each day. 

Working to tight regulations and strict rules 

The UK is a leader in regulated and licensed online gaming and by targeting that market from the get-go we have learned how to develop games within the rules set by the Gambling Commission. 

As more countries embrace regulation, and vast swathes of the global market turn from black/grey to white, the developers used to meeting compliance standards are best placed for future growth. 

This not only applies to how regulations impact game development but also the licensing process and what it takes to ensure you have everything in place to receive approvals and certifications. 

While the licensing process differs from country to country and regulator to regulator, past experience really does help ensure a smooth and seamless process. 

The confidence to expand into new markets

The experience gained by targeting the UK market, and the success that comes when you get it right, gives developers the confidence to expand into new jurisdictions. 

For us, this has meant taking a more international direction with our latest games and ensuring they appeal to players in the UK as well as market such as Canada, New Jersey and across Europe. 

“We have found that being a UK slot developer gives us kudos with operators”

It has also allowed us to foster and grow key relationships that are now proving vital as we look to extend the reach of our games, especially when it comes to securing distribution partners. 

What’s more, we have found that being a UK slot developer gives us kudos with operators in soon to regulate and newly regulated markets around the world. 

Operators in these jurisdictions want to add quality content they know players will love but that also meet the highest responsible gaming and compliance standards. 

They know that developers stocked by operators in the UK are able to deliver games that provide unrivalled entertainment and excitement but within the rules set by regulators. 

Indeed, we have seen an increase in the number of operators targeting international markets contact us regarding our games as our status in the UK market continues to grow. 

So while the UK can be a tough market to crack, once developers have found their feet and enjoyed early success, they have what it takes to expand their geographical reach into other jurisdictions. 

I really do believe developers would not be able to do this, and enjoy long-term success, had they not first launched in the UK and learned to compete with the best.