The power of influencers and a desire for “fast money” from crypto gamblers were key topics of conversation at the CasinoBeats Summit

Taking place in the hustle and bustle of the Summit’s first day, the ‘Navigating niche – mainstream opinion on alternative games’ panel questioned whether game formats like crash, plinko and mine are beginning to break into the mainstream. 

Moderated by Rhino Entertainment CEO, Ross Parkhill, the panel kicked off by looking into the dawn of these formats, with cryptocurrency casinos providing the birthplace for several niche game styles. 

As the COO for crypto operator 500 Casino, panellist Christoffer Andersson explained that fast-paced demands from cryptocurrency gamblers had a big part to play in establishing many niche game formats.  

“There’s a big difference when it comes to regulated, fiat money gambling to unregulated crypto gambling, we have a much younger audience that want fast money straight away, and they want to understand the game straight away,” he said. “That’s why I think niche games are performing so well for us.” 

With alternative formats thriving in the crypto space, it didn’t take long for regulated operators to take note, creating a rapidly growing demand for new and innovative genres. 

Michael Cini, Owner of ELA Games, noted that he took alternative game formats seriously “from the very beginning”, telling the audience that ELA’s first office was an old abandoned arcade from which the firm drew inspiration from. 

Cini explained: “One game was one of those claw machines, and one of us had the brilliant idea of, ‘why don’t we turn that into an online game?’ – which is when we came up with Cash Crab. 

“From the very start, we found niche games to be an important part of us for creativity reasons,” he continued. 

“They’re predictable, provably fair and trustable. That resonates with the player.”

Daniel Giuffra, Brand Manager at CasinoGrounds

While the panel went on to analyse the rise in popularity for alternative titles, Cini did underline that “there’s no questioning the dominance of slots in our industry”. 

However, this led him to suggest that although slots are still a key focus for the supplier, niche games can open developers up to “endless possibilities”. 

Daniel Giuffra, Brand Manager from CasinoGrounds, was also present to provide a casino streaming perspective and explain why niche games can not only provide an alternative to slots, but enhance them as well. 

Giuffra also suggested niche games can create a more exciting experience for a streamer and their viewers when compared to slots, due to typically being much more fast-paced games. But, he did note that the games streamers decide to push usually depend on whatever “can go viral”. 

He said: “It doesn’t really matter if it’s the new hot slot, or the new hot, provably fair, RNG software, it really depends on what provider can create a game that is easily shared on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, all of those.” 

Arriving equipped with knowledge on Brazil’s existing gambling market, ahead of the nation’s well-awaited regulation, was Mariana Tostes, Head of Operations at FBMDS

Tostes highlighted online bingo as a standout performer in Brazil, perhaps due to the land-based alternatives’ historic presence in South America’s largest country. 

She estimated that FBMDS’ Brazilian online casino offering is made up of around 40 per cent niche games, naming online bingo and crash as examples, with the rest made up by slots. 

“players have the shortest attention span ever and it’s only getting shorter”

Daniel Giuffra, Brand Manager at CasinoGrounds

The conversation then moved to what the younger generation of players that view slot streams desire, with Andersson in no doubt that the need for players to feel “a part of something” is pushing suppliers towards multiplayer titles. 

While agreeing that multiplayer igaming is an important aspect to consider when making new games, Cini warned studios not to “go too heavy too fast on it [multiplayer] right now” due to risks of burning themselves out. 

“We know crash games and skill games are getting more popular, and I think that’s an important thing to register,” said Cini. “But you’ve also got to prepare for the future.

“You’ve got a new generation of players that aren’t used to slots, they’re used to multiplayer games with social features and I think you have to prepare yourself for that future. 

“Don’t go too fast and too heavy on it right now, don’t burn yourself out as a company, but you should start planning ahead and weighing that in.”

Later on, Andersson warned that suppliers should refrain from overcomplicating titles. He explained: “That is the reason that people are playing these games, they want to understand it straight away and they want to know how to win.” 

Responding to that notion of avoiding overcomplication, Giuffra agreed “100 per cent”, claiming that “players have the shortest attention span ever and it’s only getting shorter”. 

He continued: “We used to have the 100 spin rule,” referring to the need for bonuses to be provided within 100 spins, “now it’s the 50 spin rule. “You have to strike this very delicate balance between trying to innovate in a slot, and giving players something they already know. 

“That’s where I think these niche products stand, as they’re the same across different casinos. They’re predictable, they’re provably fair and they’re trustable. That resonates with the player.”