The sharp ascent enjoyed across the aggregation scene has been clearly visible for all to see in recent times, but with this incline comes the inevitable question of are we reaching market saturation within this area?

This will be the overarching question debated on day one of next month’s SBC Summit Barcelona, where an array of avenues will be ventured down in dissecting the current aggregation scene, assessing where we go from here and everything in between.

In the conclude part of our pre-event special, Nicola Longmuir, CEO of AvatarUX and Irina Sazonova, Head of Account Management for Casino at EveryMatrix address strategies to ramp-up the aggregation game, and if this space could become a target of the ultra active M&A scene.

CasinoBeats: How much do supporting features ramp up the content aggregation game? And how important are these amid heightening competition and, perhaps more importantly, the multiple contracts held by operators?

Nicola Longmuir: There are very few content aggregators offering workable features and tools when considering platform to platform integration (other than wallet functionality). Suppliers tend to offer their own platform free spins/tournament tools alongside the product portfolio. I think there is space in the market for aggregators to develop high value promotional tools that can be offered across the content from all suppliers and to their operator network.

Combined with a wide network of operators this would be super attractive to suppliers. Operators also tend to have their own promotional tools so aggregators should focus on what’s missing in that area and work with operators to develop tools that will be used to drive volumes and retain players. 

Irina Sazonova: Supporting features are very important as aggregation currently focuses on providing not only reach to multiple studios via a single API, but also the right tools to help businesses grow.

Aside from content aggregators have to create their own value. This is where all the overarching platform features come into play. Providing supporting features is a level up for many aggregators. They must first prove they can provide robust and reliable day-to-day services while offering multiple studios of an operators’ choice, 24/7 support, simple operational features such as standardised transactions, session management or game replays, multifunctional, a user-friendly back office alongside platform gamification tools – this is how aggregators differentiate from one another. 

Another layer is compliance and the support of all additional tools, plus providing an aggregation platform across multiple jurisdictions. The provision of supporting features adopted to different jurisdictions is the icing on the cake, however being a trusted partner able to enter complex and highly-regulated markets is crucial, if not the most fundamental element to aggregation. Mature aggregators can significantly reduce regulatory burdens. 

Aggregators are supposed to make life easier for operators and this needs to be reflected in their tools. From a regulatory standpoint an aggregator should take care of all the relevant regulatory requirements, irrespective of the content provider, thus removing certain headaches and risks from the operator.

At the same time, value-adding features such as bonusing systems, platform-level jackpots, lobby and release management are there to complement the operator’s own promotional and operational processes.

CB: Acquisitions have been commonplace across the industry, is consolidation something we can expect from the aggregation space?

IS: The current trend in the market leading to acquisitions is often either the desire to expand a business into new verticals or accelerating an entrance into one or more new markets.

Consolidation in aggregation has not been as commonplace recently but the same drivers and market forces apply. Often an aggregation business forms part of a wider group and we have seen some activity with the likes of IGT and NeoGames acquiring aggregation business units. I would not be surprised if we see more consolidation in the future either to lead cross-vertical or cross-continental expansion.

NL: I think we will start to see more consolidation for sure. Agile platforms that are technical debt free, easy to integrate against, offer the best of the best content from innovative game studios and have a great global network will be attractive to larger stalwart aggregators in the industry where integrations are complex and lengthy.

Operators may also acquire aggregators as a more cost effective route to market for content. Time to market is key and agile, modern aggregators will win the race to success.

SBC Summit Barcelona banner

Sazonova and Longmuir will participate in a panel entitled ‘Debate: are aggregator reaching market saturation’ on Wednesday 20 September at 15:00-15:40. They will be joined by fellow panellists Alexandre Tomic, Founder and CEO of Alea, and Niall Thomas, CEO of Spinbet, with Consultant Liam Mulvaney on moderating duties.

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.’