As the dust settles on a spectacular CasinoBeats Summit from Malta, we have taken a reflection on the week that was and shone a light on four key takeaways from the event. 

Niche games can unlock new avenues of engagement

Fuelled by a desire for fast money and the significant marketing shift towards influencers, niche games can raise the ceiling in terms of player engagement when it comes to the igaming sector. 

During a panel at the event, Michael Cini, Owner of ELA Games, underlined that from their infancy he held alternative game formats in high regard as he revealed that the original office for ELA Games was an old abandoned arcade. 

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.” 

Daniel Giuffra, Brand Manager from CasinoGrounds also detailed that the growth of niche games can be elevated by the shortening of attention spans from casino players. 

It can also be a route to engagement in the Brazilian market which is garnering inevitable attention from igaming operators across the globe. 

Mariana Tostes, Head of Operations at FBMDS, estimated that the group’s 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. 

Trust remains integral in igaming payments 

As crypto adoption continues to grow and digital finance options are increasing efficiency in the user experience for igaming players, it is clear that trust is still a vital factor. 

While the shift for alternative payment methods in the mainstream was explored, moving humans away from ingrained habits will be a challenge especially when it comes to finances. 

According to Sean Spiteri, Head of Payment Solutions at PressEnter, humans “tend to stick to what they know”. Nonetheless, he highlighted that at the heart of any potential changes will be “simplicity and speed”.

Veiko Krünberg, CEO at XGateway, emphasised that we’re still in the early days of crypto, going on to laud the impact he believes that blockchain technology will have on igaming.

Krünberg urged operators to take note of oncoming developments and payment journeys that are steadily growing into the mainstream and being adopted by a larger number of players.

“Teething problems within the sector are improving at dramatic speed” according to Krünberg, who was keen to state his belief that the benefits of Decentralised Finance (DeFi) are going to fuel the way it is embraced by igaming players and operators. 

Learning from video games for the next level of engagement 

A pioneer in the world of first person shooters, John Romero spoke of the parallels between video games and igaming when it comes to maximising engagement. 

He drew attention to the importance of the immersive experience, urging operators and suppliers not to neglect elements like audio, which ensure that a player is enriched by the game even when it isn’t paying out big wins. 

He detailed that “in order to keep a player in the game, they need to be comfortable with the experience”, he then praised the immersive tech utilised for big titles seen across casino floors including Wizard of Oz, Rocky and Game of Thrones. 

Poker needs to play its hand of innovation 

As player attention spans wilt at a dramatic rate, one element of the gaming sector that desperately needs innovation is poker. 

Off the back of a recent “renaissance” due to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping everyone indoors and on screens, a return to normality has dealt online poker a challenging hand – with player acquisition in decline. 

Speaking at the event, Telly Bartolo, Marketing and Event Manager at Casino Malta, explained the vital nature of live tournaments, which offer much more than just a gameplay experience. 

He said: “Poker players moving from online to live tournaments are looking to travel, they’re looking to meet people form different nationalities and mingle around. It’s not all about the actual game, but it becomes about all the other things in the full experience.”