Vygerdas Jonikas, CPO of BetGames.TV, examines entertainment levels across gaming verticals, low-stakes enjoyment and the current pace of player protection regulation.

CasinoBeats: The past few months have certainly been challenging for some verticals, how have BetGames.TV found business in the live dealer sector?

Vygerdas Jonikas: We’ve worked hard in recent years to be as flexible and adaptable as we can be as both a partner and live dealer betting game supplier. Fortunately, this has allowed us to work through the recent challenging environment with much success in the context of our own vertical, but particularly in comparison to other verticals.

Sports betting’s shut down was disastrous for some operators, and the lockdown had its own impact on the retail sector. With some of our partners operating vast retail estates and prominent sportsbook brands, we saw it as our duty to service them with alternative revenue streams, and fortunately our products have proven true use cases to cross-sell sports bettors into.

To this end, yes, it has been challenging for us, but we’ve also proved our worth as a dynamic, adaptable supplier well capable at recuperating lost income for our partners and helping their digital transitions.

CB: What is it about your content that draws certain demographics and player types in?

VJ: Sports bettors struggled initially to find alternative content that appealed during lockdown. Virtuals seemed an obvious transition, but being RNG-based, many saw it as too pure a form of gambling, as was the same with slots and non-live table games.

Intrinsic to this entertainment is shielding players from the emotional stress of high stakes gaming and repetitive deposits”

Our live dealer games do build on the concept of casino gambling and table games betting, but they’re new entities in themselves that we’ve built from scratch. They’re designed to engage players and bring them into the entertainment. They can back a real-life action, as they would when punting on sports, and there’s no reliance on an RNG.

At their core, they promote a gaming experience that fosters longevity at lower stakes, driving average gameplay times and enjoyment in the process.

CB: Low-stake enjoyment seems to be at the heart of what you do. How does that trade off work with driving revenue?

VJ: It’s a simple concept to us. If we entertain players, they’ll come back for more. Intrinsic to this entertainment is shielding players from the emotional stress of high stakes gaming and repetitive deposits. We just want to deliver a comfortable environment for players to gamble live for a sustained length of time with an amount they’re happy with. Fortunately, we’ve found that this drives impressive revenue over long periods and continues to benefit partners worldwide.

CB: Do you believe that other gaming verticals aren’t offering this same definition of entertainment?

VJ: In some respects, probably not. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about RTP and what it means to players. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to protect them and has, in many cases, been miscommunicated as to what the mechanic actually is. Too often, games are designed and marketed to showcase the major payouts, not the day-to-day reality of small wins, and therefore, published RTPs can sometimes lead players to gamble irresponsibly, chasing jackpots, rather than for the love of the game.

RTP and volatility are two key factors in players deciding which games to play”

Over time, players realise this issue and lose their faith in the industry, sometimes permanently. This is to the detriment of the whole market, particularly when we see the vicious cycles that some players enter to chase these mega wins. The hidden mathematics of margin, and how games are marketed to players, needs to be given more thought, so players remain entertained and engaged for longer.

CB: Do you see a fix for these margin issues? How should games be retailed to customers?

VJ: I’ve no issue with suppliers demonstrating RTP to operators in the way they do, and the way we always have done. However, what we also need to do is explain what the principle of each game is, and this is more complicated than just margin. This could cover the maths, the logic, risk of loss and various other implications.

The operator can then monitor player activity in the context of these specific game parameters. It’s fairly primitive to look at just profit and loss to judge the gaming activity of an individual player, and we need to factor emotion into the formula more. If we can all work together to derive a healthy level of betting activity that encompasses rational data and emotional implications, then the whole industry will be better off.

CB: Do you think regulators are also looking at this?

VJ: Looking at the current pace of player protection regulation, I’d be surprised if they aren’t. RTP and volatility are two key factors in players deciding which games to play. It’s fair to say that true RTP only really applies to operator models covering thousands of players, not individual players looking to beat the house and its published, arguably misleading edge.

If regulators deem that this is irresponsible or reckless, then they may well act. So as an industry, we firstly need to decide what content we want to provide, and at BetGames.TV that will always favour low-stake, extended session games, but if suppliers choose another route, it’s important that they rethink casino margins and how they apply to players in reality. While I can’t propose an instant fix, I certainly urge that the marketing of margins must be discussed with players as the first priority, not just the balance sheet.