Charts
Image: Shutterstock

Stian Enger Pettersen, Head of Casino at EveryMatrix, offers insights into the firm’s year-long project Slot Trumps, an initiative which aims to provide statistics for a range of global online casino markets.

In the last 12 months we have launched ‘Slot Trumps’, one of our biggest in-house data projects to date, delving into 16 years of intelligence within SlotMatrix, the world’s largest content aggregation platform with more than 27,800 games from more than 355 third-party vendors including our own Armadillo Studios.

Stian Enger Pettersen
Image: EveryMatrix

Our main objective was to both identify the world’s hottest online casino markets and showcase to the wider industry what key player behaviour trends exist today within these must-target territories.

For each market we analysed as many games as we can depending on each territory’s maturity, for example, there is more content available in an established market such as Greece (1,865 games), compared to Nigeria (250) that may be rapidly growing, but has still to adopt as much content. 

Each set of data was analysed across 90-days, looking at most common game themes, features, volatility, average bet/sessions/bets per session and the top retention feature followed by a recommended game for each country.

The results have been eye-opening, particularly when comparing well-established European markets that are increasingly facing more frequent, complex regulatory changes with emerging LatAm countries that are experiencing accelerated regulation, and African markets that are witnessing rapid technology advances but remain hampered by wider infrastructure issues.

‘Thrill-seeking’ Brazilians

‘Thrill-seekers’ – those that prefer medium-to-high volatility games – represent a large player segment in Brazil with 56% of the most-played games in our findings featuring these volatility levels. While Brazilian players place fewer bets per session than most of our Slot Trumps markets, they spend above the €1 average per bet and are in the middle of the pack when it comes to number of sessions, and all this despite the market being in the early stages of regulation. This provides huge potential for brands who employ the optimum strategies and tools to create the most compelling customer experiences. 

Brazilian casino players interact with challenges, tournaments and other competitions more than any other, therefore crafting effective personalised strategies, and including a combination of these engagement features and the games they enjoy most is central to creating the ultimate gaming experience. This includes multiple layers of configurable jackpot tools, tiered challenges, tournaments, prize wheels and more.

LatAm casino potential is even greater than many thought

We looked at Brazil, Colombia and the newest LatAm market to open, Peru, with data revealing that players there register the second highest average game sessions within our market list (9.5 sessions per player per 90 days across the top 20 games), the highest average bets per session (136) and almost double the average (€1.94) bet within our SlotMatrix network.

Players there also place 30% more bets than Romanian slot fans, our second highest bettors in our series so far. Regulated igaming in Peru looks to be just as, if not more competitive than Brazil so we fully expect the opportunity to be significant. Within 30 days of the enabling laws coming into force, 145 operators pitched for a licence according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur).

The impact of regular regulatory changes

European markets from the UK and the Netherlands to Germany and Greece – the latter two analysed for Slot Trumps – are coming under increasing pressure to comply with a raft of frequent regulatory updates. From tweaks to bonuses, marketing and advertising rules to stake limits and additional safer gambling checks, it’s not an easy time for operators to manage this uncertainty and constant change.

In 2022 the Greek government increased the maximum stake limit on all slot games to €20 reversing its 2020 guidance of €2. It also doubled the jackpot value on games of chance and slots from €70,000 to a €140,000 cap, while slot spin speeds were increased from three seconds to two. 

When we examined the Greek market using our SlotMatrix data we uncovered the impact regulatory changes have had and how, despite conditions improving for players and the industry, player behaviour is still conditioned by regulatory requirements.

For example, Greek players cannot access “Buy” features. The maximum bet cap influences in-game bonus features as well as average bet levels of €0.79 per spin. This comes while only 20% of the 20 most played games have an average bet of more than €1.

In contrast, Greek players’ inability to access certain bonus features means more traditional mechanics thrive. A total of 60% of the top 20 games within the SlotMatrix Greece network contain free spins. This is while only 20% offer jackpots and 15% offer game-specific bonus features that enable players to access bonus rounds. 

Localisation and understanding local players cannot be understated

In our experience, as the largest aggregator in the industry, localised content makes a huge difference in markets both with complex regulations, while it is also the foundation for new and emerging countries such as Peru.

Players gravitate not only towards games that resonate with their cultural preferences, but also specific game features that allow them to have more fun or access more gameplay.

In Germany the regulatory environment draws players towards specific games due to the max bet cap which influences the average bet on slots. This leads to an average bet level of €0.52 per spin, 50% less than the global average within our SlotMatrix network.

This can also be correlated with the game mechanics they prefer. Traditional features, such as in-game free spins, reign supreme with 85% of the top 20 games in the SlotMatrix network offering this option. When spins don’t count towards the limits imposed by regulation, they offer a way to keep players engaged for longer.

Be prepared to change course

Newly regulating markets have a habit of taking unpredictable routes at any given moment. Following a settling-in period, governments and regulators tend to adjust. There could be changes to marketing, stake and deposit limits and spin speeds to name just a few.

For Peru, players may prefer medium volatility games today, but this is likely to shift as the market matures and allows more slots and providers to launch thousands more games and features. For instance, players may turn their attention to higher volatility slots as we’ve seen in Brazil given their preferences for bonus and buy features.

Get and stay ahead by focusing on features and adding gamification

What we’ve learned from this campaign is that while well run aggregation is essential to succeed in these markets, to gain that extra edge, focusing on game features that make the biggest impact and adding advanced gamification tools are key to retaining, up and cross-selling and growing your audiences.

For example, adding the ‘Buy Feature’ in games in Peru boosts the average bet by approximately 70%, highlighting Peruvian players’ appetite for games with such options in terms of bonus features. Meanwhile in Germany because other bonus features are limited by regulation, Free Spins are the predominant bonus feature providing players with extended gameplay.

Equally, in LatAm for example, closing the gap between sports bettors and slot fans is vital. Once you’ve built your carefully curated, localised content with proven gamification solutions, why not go after Peru’s many sports fans? Popular gamification tools that we know bridge the gap between punters and players include tiered challenges, free spins campaigns and customisable jackpots can be highly effective.

For sports bettors the most relatable feature is tournaments where they can compete against one another across verticals for prizes over any selected period. Tournaments are available across our productivity platform CasinoEngine and the entire SlotMatrix network of games. If you add our BonusEngine solution into the mix, operators can not only fully customise sports and casino tournaments with real-time leaderboards, but also employ our entire suite of gamification solutions.

Click here to discover all our Slot Trumps data form the world’s hottest online casino markets

Highest to lowest average bets

Romania €2.59

Peru €1.94

Brazil €1.04

Greece €0.79

Germany €0.52

Colombia €0.34

Nigeria €0.14

Highest to lowest average sessions

Nigeria 14

Peru 9.5

Greece 6.2

Brazil 5.11

Germany 4.8

Romania 4.1

Colombia 3.63

Highest to lowest average bets per session

Peru 136

Romania 109

Colombia 75

Greece 73.8

Nigeria 69

Germany 59

Brazil 49.59