Eastern Europe is one of the hotbeds of igaming, be that in the creative brains that come out of the region or the individual markets and their entertainment-hungry players.

In the culminating part of a CasinoBeats special, and ahead of SBC Summit Tbilisi on June 25-26, we task a range of prominent industry suppliers with giving us the lowdown on their most recent activity.

Thunderkick’s Chief Commercial Officer Svante Sahlström, Viktoriia Vashukevich, Head of Account Management at 3 Oaks Gaming and Altenar’s Sales Manager Vagelis Bairlis continue to offer their insights.

CasinoBeats: What are the player trends you have noticed in these areas? Are they similar across borders or do each have their idiosyncrasies? How do your products cater to that?

Svante Sahlström, Chief Commercial Officer at Thunderkick

Svante Sahlström: We wouldn’t want to be giving the game away too much here but suffice to say we are aware that certain games are more popular in certain markets. We do our research beforehand and make sure we are aware of local preferences.

That’s where good account management comes in. You can have the best games in the world, but studios like us need to have knowledgeable account managers who know what their clients want. Through data driven analysis, we can provide the best fit for individual markets. That way our partners get the most out of the products we provide.

Viktoriia Vashukevich: The philosophy of ‘keeping it easy’ has been embraced by many individuals worldwide for more than a decade, and this is influencing the expectations from the key focal point of slots – the gameplay.

It is very important not to overcomplicate the process, including the math, and instead keep it clear and transparent for the player. Also, we can clearly see that visuals are much more important to players than they were three of four years ago.

They are receiving an endless stream of visual content across different forms of entertainment including social media, and makes game creation even more demanding. However, it is extremely rewarding when we see a greater volume of players immerse themselves in our content following the hard work we put in behind the scenes.

To ensure each game is of a high quality, the narrative must be considered as a critical element. Every game should tell the player an interesting and exciting story, showcasing impressive and robust visuals, accompanied by a captivating soundtrack. This is pretty much the set of rules we are trying to follow when designing new titles.

Vagelis Bairlis, Altenar’s Sales Manager

Vagelis Bairlis: The player trends per country/territory are usually determined by the sports of preference for the players of the area, therefore we can easily conclude that everything in Eastern Europe is following the European logic and is mainly moving around football.

The big differences can be found when we move from Europe to America or Asia, and I wouldn’t say there is a huge distinction between people in Eastern European countries.

What differs usually from country to country is the preference of secondary sports (Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Ice Hockey, Handball etc) but also the style of betting (smaller tendency to big accumulators, heavy bonus utilisation, big activity on live betting).

CB: Explain the importance of regional events like SBC Summit Tbilisi in gaining traction in new markets.

Viktoriia Vashukevich, Head of Account Management at 3 Oaks Gaming

VV: Nothing can be discovered remotely. There is no better way to get to know the market than to talk to delegates, exhibit what you have, and ask what they require. None of the analytical resources will give you more insight than a personal meeting with people who operate in the market.

Understanding the culture of the country in which you plan to conduct business is paramount. Culture permeates every aspect of interaction, encompassing communication preferences, information sharing norms, and societal nuances.

Navigating cultural gaps is vital, and thorough preparation is key. Engaging in local events such as the SBC Summit Tbilisi can provide invaluable insights and facilitate progress in bridging these gaps effectively.

VB: Regional events like SBC Summit Tbilisi are vital for entering new markets and then remaining significant in those regions. They offer networking opportunities with local stakeholders, insights into market trends and regulations, and a platform to showcase brands.

These events help build credibility, identify potential partners, and stay updated on market dynamics. Additionally, educational sessions provide valuable knowledge for adapting strategies to the specific region. Overall, participation in such events is essential for gaining traction and maintaining success in new markets.

SS: Tbilisi sits in the centre of a geographical area that is important to Thunderkick. We’ve just done a partnership deal with Relum, who are based in nearby Armenia, and we know that the area holds multiple opportunities for us. Regional shows like SBC Tbilisi are an opportunity to check in with existing partners like them, but also to speak to operators who might benefit form some of the games in our portfolio.