Web3 technologies are being utilised by online casinos to produce gaming experiences that are more immersive, engaging and inclusive, introducing new rewards as well such as NFTs.

Brian Christner, Chief Online Gaming at Grand Casino Baden, has spoken to CasinoBeats ahead of his appearance on a web3 panel at SBC Summit Barcelona later this year, taking place on September 19-21 at the Fira Barcelona Montjuïc.

In preparation for his appearance on the panel titled ‘Web3 rewarding the games of Skill’, Christner was asked about web3 features that Grand Casino Baden has integrated into its offering, how the year has gone so far for the operator and the future of NFTs in the online casino industry.

Brian Christner, Chief Online Gaming at Grand Casino Baden

CasinoBeats: Thank you for taking the time to talk to CasinoBeats. How has 2023 gone so far for you and for Grand Casino Baden? 

Brian Christner: 2023 is developing positively for Grand Casino Baden and the Stadt Casino Baden Group. We continue to see solid growth for both our land-based and online casino. This year, we’ve made a strong commitment to implement our omnichannel customer experience between our land-based casino Grand Casino Baden and jackpots.ch with our newly developed integration.

AI has also been an important topic for our organisation. We have several initiatives running AI across several departments to improve processes, automate repetitive tasks, and become much more efficient with our resources. 

We also launched the first-ever crash game in Switzerland. Gamanza Games, which is also part of our Stadt Casino Group launched their first crash game, called Air Racer into the Swiss market which is seeing much interest and was a major milestone for our group to enter the games market.

CB: It has been over four years since Grand Casino Baden launched its online casino jackpots.ch. How has the online casino developed since its inception? 

BC: We have a unique position in the Swiss market being the first regulated casino in Switzerland. Obviously, we’ve learned a considerable amount during the last four years and were fortunate enough to leverage our land-based experience to develop our omnichannel platform based on our successful land-based CRM program with jackpots.ch.

Our platform was developed in collaboration with Gamanza. Developing our platform from the very beginning allowed us to build USPs for the Swiss market like omnichannel, gamification, and unique bonus offerings.

From a games perspective, the games we offer in Switzerland have improved considerably since the beginning. Starting with just one game provider and under 100 games, we are now at over 1000 games and close to 30 providers in the Swiss market providing Swiss players with an exciting entertainment offering. 

CB: What tools/services does Grand Casino Baden have in place to support people that are suffering from gambling harm?

BC: In the area of prevention, which we are constantly striving to improve, players have access to information about our social concept and can use self-regulation tools. These tools include, among others, the possibility of freely setting loss and/or deposit limits for a certain period. It is also possible to set a gambling pause (cool off), for all gaming categories or by selecting certain gaming categories for a defined period. Players also have the opportunity to take a self-assessment test.

To identify potentially vulnerable players, as part of our social concept, we have defined criteria and thresholds. To achieve this, we collaborate with Careplay gambling addiction specialists and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. If one or more of these criteria are met, we will initiate further clarifications. For certain investigations, called intensive, we contact the player subject to the inspection and ask them to provide financial clarifications. In some cases, the investigation ends with the player being banned from gambling.

On our website, numerous addresses are available, whether for anonymous consultation services for addiction or debt counselling. Players can ask our team to call them back at any time if they have any questions or concerns about their gambling behaviour.

CB: You will be attending our SBC Summit Barcelona event later this year in September and will be speaking on a panel as well. What are you looking forward to most about the event?

BC: I’m looking forward to meeting and collaborating with industry experts. I find events like SBC Summit Barcelona are important for our industry to be able to share knowledge across different markets and customers. Additionally, the speakers and expert panels provide a great platform to deep dive into various topics and the ability to speak with these professionals directly, which has enormous value.

Personally, I’m a big supporter of the igaming community and helping the industry move forward, which SBC Summit Barcelona enables.

CB: Your panel at the event will examine web3 and rewarding games of skill. What utilisation of web3 in the online casino space has caught your attention and why? 

BC: There are some really exciting use cases developing in the web3 and online casino space. For example, Red Tiger launched the NFT Megaways slot with Crypto Punks as the game’s symbols, one of the first movers in the space to incorporate NFTs into games. Now, we are seeing NFTs as player profiles and NFT collectables being part of gamification elements.

The real power of web3 is connecting the offline world to online. Through memberships, events, identity verification and prize mechanisms, web3 helps us bridge the gap and bring both worlds closer together. 

CB: What web3 features have been incorporated into Grand Casino Baden and jackpots.ch to create a more immersive, engaging and inclusive experience?

BC: Switzerland is fortunate enough to be at the centre of crypto and web3. Being so close to the heart of web3 has enabled us to incorporate a lot of these learnings directly into our products. 

For example, in 2021, we launched our very own jackpots.ch NFT collection for players as collectables and giveaways. During COVID, we built our own metaverse immersive experience for our land-based casino, allowing players to use VR goggles to navigate through our casino, get game briefings from our casino hosts, and play games to still let players experience our casino.

This year, we are incorporating our web3 learnings into our omnichannel and gamification project.

CB: Looking at the reward aspect, can you see more online casinos bringing in NFT games in the near future? Or do you think we’re still a couple of years away due to the demand for traditional games?

BC: Yes, I can see NFTs becoming integrated more into games in the future. Players might be able to win NFT symbols directly from the game as a reward would be one use case.

The real art of NFTs is not the NFT itself, but the actual interface between the player and the NFT. The challenge for NFTs at the moment is still the user experience for non-tech-savvy people. In order for NFTs to be widely adopted, the player experience has to be substantially improved, abstracting away all the complexities of NFTs for the players.

Within the next 12-18 months, we will see AI and web3 allow us to develop an entirely different level of user experience for our players. Soon, we will develop games completely with AI, if not already. Once we are able to interface players in a clean way with AI, players can build their very own graphics and gaming experience utilising AI and saving this experience or certain gameplay as an NFT. The use cases of AI and NFTs will exponentially grow in the coming months.

CB: Finally, what’s to come from Grand Casino Baden in the rest of 2023? 

BC: By the end of the year, we will be deploying our jackpots.ch loyalty program. We strongly believe this will be a game changer for the Swiss market and for our players. Finally, our Gamanza games team has an exciting roadmap of arcade-style online casino games which will also be a first for Switzerland and will be available before the end of the year.

SBC Summit Barcelona banner

SBC Summit Barcelona, taking place from September 19-21 at Fira de Barcelona Montjuïc, will bring together 15,000 delegates, offering them a platform to delve into the cutting-edge via a dedicated ‘Casino & iGaming Zone.’