It’s certainly been an eventful period of late for Spribe, with the igaming developer lauding a pair of key certifications amid ambitious plans to stamp its authority on the sector throughout the year.
Approvals received from the Malta Gaming Authority and UK Gambling Commission have been met with much fanfare internally, however, the latter comes amid much public scrutiny and follows the regulator introducing a wave of enhanced protections for online slots.
With this in mind, David Natroshvili, managing partner of Spribe, begins by looking at how the future enactment of regulation will affect games development, and how suppliers can pro-actively rise to meet the challenge.
“Of course, for game publishers this is a big challenge, but I believe this will lead to innovation, since studios must get creative to provide good player experiences under these new conditions. When the rules of the game change, strategies adjust,” he says.
Continuing, he touches upon if he sees recent measures concerning slots having a much wider impact across the industry, and if similar such rules could become commonplace across further jurisdictions.
“I always welcome fair regulation with the goal to reduce problem gaming. In this regard, some of the changes that are being introduced in the UK market, for example banning celebration of losses as wins, is a fair move,” Natroshvili says.
”On the other hand, limits on bets, deposits or wins, in my opinion is not a well-thought move. It will cause players to migrate into unregulated markets.
“As with every industry, igaming reflects the economic situation”
“I don’t necessarily think that these changes will be copied by other jurisdictions. For most countries land based and online gaming is an industry that generates a significant amount of tax revenue, and they will be much more careful with further regulation.”
Earlier this month, the UKGC detailed a raft of strict measures that must be implemented by operators, with an aim of strengthening protections and controls for those who gamble through online slots games.
These include the introduction of limits on spin speeds and a permanent ban on features that speed up play or celebrate losses as wins, which need to be fully implemented by online operators by October 31, 2021.
The regulator said that it had focused on slots as they “have by far the highest average losses per player of online gambling products,” and include features which, the UKGC says, increase the intensity of play and the corresponding risks to players.
Amid the mandated introduction of such a set of measures, could we be forgiven for thinking that online gaming is heading towards a more low-stake entertainment-led ecosystem?
“As with every industry, igaming reflects the economic situation: if people make more money, stakes rise. So with normal economic growth it makes sense to assume that every parameter of industry is also rising. Then comes regulation that tries to fight and restrict natural tendencies,” he says.
“If we look at history, restriction always worsens the situation for everyone – the most famous example being the century old prohibition law in the US. I believe the industry will naturally move to more high-stakes entertainment, regardless of government regulations.”
“This opens up new markets and worldwide names”
Shifting focus to a continuous topic of conversation in any online gaming conversation in recent times, and streamers become the central focus.
It could be argued that streamers have cemented themselves as an essential part of player outreach when it comes to slots in particular, Natroshvili picks up the conversation by looking at if this is an avenue that appeals to Spribe.
“Some of our partners are very successfully promoting our games through streamers, since they are popular with millennial demographics and this is exactly our target audience,” it is added.
“Our flagship game, Aviator appeals to gen Y because it’s a more social game experience with simplicity and sense of control. The thrill and uncertainty of when to cash out your winnings, what decision to make, makes very dramatic moments and this is always exciting content for streamers.”
To conclude, we bring the topic back full circle to once again look at the pair of key certifications secured by Spribe, with Natroshvili closing by suggesting that the two represent a statement of intent by the firm.
“First of all receiving MGA and UKGC licenses is a statement that means that Spribe gains full creditability as a trusted igaming supplier. It’s a major milestone for a company. This opens up new markets and worldwide names for Spribe. We are already in the process of integration with several of tier one operators,” he states.
“Spribe also holds licenses and certifications in most European regulated markets. In this regard, I believe we are the only company in our field (specialising in new types of ‘smart’ games) that is fully compliant and certified in most major jurisdictions.”