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OKTO ready to answer industry’s cashless question, once and for all

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OKTO bags three prestigious nominations in SBC Awards
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Introducing a software-based solution carefully tailored to Britain’s retail gaming sector, Simon Dorsen, director of gaming at OKTO – joined by Gambling Business Group (GBG) CEO Peter Hannibal – explains how the financially licensed company has leveraged GBG’s new EFT protocol to provide operators with a cashless system that allows players to use, move and collect their funds instantly – whether it’s on a gaming machine, at the bar, or in their local high street shops.

International fintech provider OKTO is ready to give Britain’s retail gaming sectors a much needed post-lockdown boost by offering the definitive solution to the longstanding challenge of cashless payments.

While there remains competition to provide the sector-wide cashless solution the industry requires, OKTO’s director of gaming Simon Dorsen, an 18-year veteran of the gaming industry, believes the company’s strict financial licenses, vast technological expertise, and unrivalled wallet universality all put OKTO’s secure and complete cashless solution ahead of the pack.

“Cashless and digital payments in the UK is the norm now and today’s consumers demand the digitisation of payments across the economy, and in gaming as well. We have tailored our wallet towards the unique requirements of gaming, but we’re not just a gaming wallet,” explained Dorsen. “Money in the OKTO ecosystem can be moved or spent anywhere that accepts digital payments, whether it’s pubs, bingo clubs or high street shops – and our licenses, upholding the strictest of security standards, mean that any funds with us are always fully protected. The fact that we are financially licensed is very important, as it means both merchants and users can be confident that OKTO is backed by central banks across Europe.”

In addition to its licenses and software-based solution, a recently developed Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) protocol, made publicly available by Gambling Business Group (GBG), has given OKTO an advantage over the industry’s false-starts at a cashless solution. Without the need for any additional hardware or upfront costs, the protocol makes it possible for OKTO to bring any digital gaming machine into its payments ecosystem – finally putting the retail gaming sector on a level playing field with the rest of Britain’s high street economy.

“We are thrilled to be working on established industry protocol which is fully supported by the principle manufacturers of digital machines in pubs and AGC’s. It enables our truly cashless solution to allow users to go up to a gaming machine in the pub, press a button to use OKTO, and deposit funds to start playing. When they cashout, they get the money back in their cashless wallet instantly. Additionally, we are able to onboard pubs as merchants, so if the users want to immediately spend on food and drink in the pub, they can; either through their OKTO.WALLET app or, in the near future, from their OKTO debit card that is linked to the wallet.”

Indeed, much like increasingly popular neo-banks such as Monzo and Revolut, OKTO allows users to move and use their funds instantly, as they wish, putting the power directly in the user’s hands. It’s not just a “one-use” wallet, as users can extend the wallet usage beyond gaming machines and into the wider economy. This is not only ideal for giving players the most frictionless experience possible, but also for allowing operators to easily move, manage and count their digital cashboxes, detailed Dorsen.

“Because the transactions are instant within our ecosystem, you can dramatically move to a settlement time that is instant,” he continued. “We can automate and move towards an instant settlement process. Compared to the traditional cash dependent system, this will allow operators to reimagine the way they operate.”

GBG CEO Peter Hannibal, whose open EFT protocol allows payment providers to ‘talk’ to any connected digital gaming machines, believes that OKTO’s entry into the retail gaming sectors has come at the perfect time. Not only has the protocol made it so much easier from a technical perspective, but with Covid-19 creating a sentiment of fear around the use of cash, the increasing trend of cashless payments is affecting all sectors of the industry more than ever.

“During lockdown we learned that bingo customers were concerned about using cash after the clubs reopened,” Hannibal explained. “The operation of traditional bingo has always been dependent upon coins and cash, but that clearly needs to change, and companies like OKTO will enable them to do that. Products like OKTO’s cashless solution have the potential to transform many gambling activities including bingo – and there’s an existential need for it now, even if there wasn’t before.”

Importantly, OKTO also provides a range of social responsibility tools to players through the fintech provider’s app, incorporating a strict age verification process, self-exclusion, betting limits, and profit and loss calculator tools that further enhance consumers’ protection. In addition, there is a section embedded in the app with national problem gambling helplines.

Hannibal summarised that OKTO’s solution presents a rare opportunity for the industry; a situation in which everyone’s a winner. The player gets more choice, the regulator gets responsible gaming tools in the players’ hands, and the operator gets a boost to business efficiency when it’s most needed. And with no upfront costs, it’s a boost that Dorsen believes operators will welcome.

“I have noticed a real change in operator’s mindsets over the past 18 months. There was a tipping point last year, even before COVID-19 came along, where operators realised that they need to learn about and adopt new cashless solutions. Now, naturally, we are seeing the consumer shift, and because of COVID-19 all demographics are becoming more comfortable using cashless payments,” said Dorsen. “The current economic circumstances are requiring operators to focus on efficiencies more than ever, and because our software based solution connects directly to the GBG/EFT protocol, we can provide fast deployment without any upfront capital expenditure. There’s not a big financial hurdle to implementing our cashless solution, so we think that operators will be eager to finally unlock the benefits they’ve been hearing about for so long, and we’re ready to show them exactly how our end-to-end cashless solution can help their business.”

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Global Online Gambling Market Report 2022: Featuring William Hill, Flutter Entertainment, 888 Holdings, Bet365 & Others

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Global Online Gambling Market Report 2022: Featuring William Hill, Flutter Entertainment, 888 Holdings, Bet365 & Others
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The “Global Online Gambling Market – Forecasts from 2022 to 2027” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets offering.

The global online gambling market was valued at US$65.316 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.11% over the forecast period to reach a total market size of US$128.154 billion in 2027.

The growing popularity of betting across different regions around the globe is significantly driving the global online gambling market. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), around 2,800 sites were active online and offered games and activities, such as poker, lottery, and bingo, as of 2018.

The growing adoption of smartphones, coupled with rapid penetration of better internet connectivity across various regions/countries, is supporting easy access to various online gambling platforms. With companies offering freemium models to their customers, the number of people engaged in various types of online gambling is rising at a considerable rate which, in turn, is boosting the growth of the global online gambling market.

An increasing number of cost-effective mobile applications to play different online gambling games on smartphones is also contributing to the market growth of online gambling worldwide. The ease of sports betting using a portable connected device such as a smartphone, laptop, and tablet has increased the number of players in the online gambling industry.

Moreover, the proliferation of sports betting along with other online gambling ads is further attracting people to try online gambling, thus positively impacting the market growth during the forecast period. Online agencies, third-party ad servers, and networks and exchanges are used for advertising gambling websites of various companies. Online gambling service providers enter into agreements with individual customers or players to offer betting services for real money, attracting more and more gamers.

The online gambling industry has a vast range of regulatory frameworks in place, which attributes mainly to the market size, the number of participants, and the level of illegal gambling. Legislation for online gambling ranges from licensed markets that are fully open to commercial operators to explicitly prohibited and banned. Tax rates, online penetration, and other regulatory requirements vary widely across geographic regions. As legislation continues to evolve, the regulated markets have a severe impact of increasing costs and barriers to entry which includes consumer protection initiatives and rising gambling taxes. By far, the United Kingdom is the largest regulated online gambling market for many online operators. Other sizeable regulated markets include Sweden, Spain, Italy, and Australia.

However, many countries prohibit the online gambling industry, which is hampering the growth of the global online gambling market. Countries, where online gambling is illegal, include Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), North Korea, India, and Qatar. In Russia, online gambling is completely banned except for interactive gambling, which includes simulators of slot machines, card games, and casino games. Moreover, countries, where online gambling is allowed have restricted and stringent regulations, which further erodes the growth of this overall online gambling market.

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IESF and Sidewalk Entertainment Partner to Promote a New Variety of Esports

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IESF and Sidewalk Entertainment Partner to Promote a New Variety of Esports
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The International Esports Federation (IESF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sidewalk Entertainment, an artificial intelligence (AI) tech company. IESF and Sidewalk will work together to promote a new variety of esports, which utilizes the physical movement of athletes.

Together, IESF and Sidewalk will use STEPIN, a random dance challenge service that uses real time motion-tracking AI technology created by Sidewalk. Using the platform, the two organizations will bring together esports and dancing by providing opportunities to learn, practice and battle. All users will have the opportunity to see the reply of their skeletal joints. IESF and Sidewalk will also collaborate on a special activity using STEPIN at the upcoming World Esports Championships Finals in Bali, Indonesia.

This partnership will help explore new developments in esports, combining dance and interactive social media experiences, as well as international STEPIN tournaments. It will also contribute to uniting the World Esports Family by connecting K-pop and esports fans worldwide.

IESF Secretary General Boban Totovski said: “IESF is thrilled to work together with Sidewalk Entertainment to bring something new to the esports ecosystem. We are pleased to be taking part in a new digital content culture of K-pop dance and working towards our mission of serving as an exchange platform and network for esports stakeholders and securing valuable partnerships within the World Esports Family.”

Sidewalk Entertainment Kibong Kook said “We are so glad to be in partnership with IESF and bring a new joy to K-pop and esports fans around the world. The K-pop industry and esports industry both are growing rapidly in the global market. We will link both industries with the AI technology of STEPIN to create a new chapter of esports industry.”

IESF recently held the World Esports Summit, which brought together over 200 stakeholders from the World Esports Family and the broader esports ecosystem to discuss key issues in esports and the future of responsible esports worldwide. IESF is constantly evolving to best serve its members and secure the future of responsible esports.

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Pragmatic Play games are the latest addition to the Quantum Gaming platform

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Pragmatic Play games are the latest addition to the Quantum Gaming platform
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Quantum Gaming has entered a new partnership with Pragmatic Play, the leading multi-product provider to the iGaming industry.

With a diverse portfolio tailored and regulated for the mobile industry, Pragmatic Play is focused on delivering engaging, evocative gaming experiences for players in regulated markets all over the globe.

All of its games are designed for optimal player engagement on mobile and desktop, providing a broad choice of immersive products, headlined by multi-award-winning Gates of Olympus™ and Wolf Gold™.

Pragmatic Play’s reputation is founded on dependability, an established track record of reliability, agile delivery, and the flexibility to modify games to the specific needs of each operator. It regularly monitors and measures game performance in order to deliver the finest gaming experience to players worldwide.

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