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.”
Behind The Popularity of Online Casino Games in Europe
In recent times, Europe’s gaming landscape has experienced a notable increase in the popularity of online games, significantly altering the gaming dynamics across the continent. Online casino games have gained increased interest due to their accessibility, wide selection of game offerings and integration of cutting edge technologies. Online platforms which provide games combine classic casino gameplay with cutting edge digital elements to attract players of all backgrounds.
Trends in European Online Gaming
Due to affordable smartphones with Internet access, Europe’s online gaming market is experiencing exponential growth. This evolution has led to a diverse range of gaming experiences, from casual to complex titles, enhanced by the freemium model which offers free gameplay with optional in-game purchases. This approach has resulted in an expanded player base and more inclusive gaming community.
Europe’s gaming environment is greatly benefited by its cutting edge technological infrastructure. Fast internet and advanced gaming devices give gamers access to an experience they will find truly immersive.
European game development is distinguished by its creative prowess, leading to the creation of several globally acclaimed games. During the early part of 2023, Europe’s gaming market was dominated by several bestsellers, including “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” and “Far Cry 6” by Ubisoft. These games demonstrate the creativity and appeal that European developers bring to global gaming.
The gaming landscape has been profoundly impacted by the shining esports sector. Esports events draw substantial crowds, effectively transforming gaming into a sport enjoyed by spectators. Investments in esports infrastructure and the attraction of sponsorships have been key drivers in the growth of the gaming sector. Gaming has transformed from an individual passion into an engaging community activity, providing shared experiences among gaming communities.
Innovations in Online Casino Gaming
The European online casino landscape is continually evolving, driven by technological advancements and the introduction of unique game offerings. These innovations are not just about enhancing visuals or gameplay, they also focus on creating a more engaging, personalized and interactive gaming experience.
One trend worth noting is the increasing convergence between augmented and virtual reality technologies. Immersive technologies transport players into realistic casino environments that recreate an experience similar to being physically present at a casino. Live dealer games represent another significant innovation, offering both convenience and authenticity of live action for players to interact with dealers and opponents in real time.
Artificial Intelligence algorithms monitor player behavior and preferences to provide customized game recommendations and experiences to each individual player. This personalization not only enhances player engagement, but also helps in responsible gaming initiatives by monitoring player habits and offering support when unusual patterns are detected.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies provide additional security and anonymity when conducting transactions, offering enhanced protection and anonymity when conducting business. This technology ensures players of the security and integrity of their financial interactions, creating trust within the platform.
These technological innovations are creating a new era in European online gaming. Games also cater to players’ varying preferences and offer them a safe, exciting and tailored gaming experience. This evolution is central to the growing appeal of online casinos in the European gaming market.
Player Experience and Community
Online casino gaming in Europe has quickly become an essential hub of vibrant communities. These platforms enhance player engagement by fostering a sense of belonging and interaction among players. With the chat features and multiplayer games, players can connect, exchange information and form new relationships. Socializing transforms an activity from a solitary pursuit into a communal experience.
Community plays an essential part in online casinos, with players joining forums and social media groups on Twitter or Instagram to discuss strategies, share wins and offer support. These interactions create a supportive environment, enhancing the overall gaming experience. Tournaments and leaderboards add an exciting element, encouraging participants to engage more deeply with the community.
These platforms have become vibrant social ecosystems where players not only play games together, but also connect and expand alongside one another. This communal dimension has become a core element of their appeal, elevating online casino games from mere entertainment to an integral part of the gaming community’s social landscape.
The Future of Online Gaming in Europe
Projections for the European online casino gaming sector suggest a trajectory of rapid growth. Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies promise to transform gaming experiences by creating engaging environments. Social gaming promises to play an increasingly significant role, with community driven features and multiplayer formats providing more engagement. Integrating blockchain technology could revolutionize security and trust in online transactions. Online casino gaming will remain an influential presence in European gaming culture quickly adapting to technological advances and shifting player preferences.
Aspire Global Facing Pair of Legal Battles
Prominent online gaming software and platform provider Aspire Global has been named as the defendant in a pair of court cases that could potentially result in it being ordered to pay compensation totaling up to €101 million ($109 million).
In the first complaint, Aspire Global is being sued in the United Kingdom by the founders of sports betting software, solutions and services provider BtoBet, Alessandro Fried and Igor Lestar, for €36 million ($39 million). This pair inked a deal in 2020 to sell their company to the Malta-based defendant in exchange for an upfront payment of some €20 million ($21.6 million) as well as an earn-out consideration tied to future earnings before tax.
However, Fried and Lestar through their Sousa Enterprises Limited and Eltsar Limited entities are alleging Aspire Global, which was last year acquired by NeoGames as part of a deal worth some €402.3 million ($423.5 million), violated the terms of this share purchase agreement by spending too little and not charging enough so as to deliberately decrease revenues and the subsequent earn-out sum.
The complex case with its many intricacies is not expected to go to trial before 2025 but could well result in Aspire Global being ordered to pay more than the €36 million headline figure. The financial implications are even more concerning as the defendant’s NeoGames parent is currently in the process of being acquired by Aristocrat in an arrangement valued at north of €1 billion.
In the United States and Aspire Global has also been separately named as the offender in an action brought by Ebet Incorporated, which is the operator of the Karamba, Griffon Casino, Hopa, Generation VIP, Scratch2Cash, Gogawi, Dansk 777 and Bet Target iGaming brands. This Nevada action is seeking some €65 million ($70 million) embracing compensatory damages, punitive fines and other financial penalties to be proven at trial and moreover names AG Communications and other affiliated entities as defendants.
Ebet Incorporated acquired specific business-to-consumer (B2C) assets and associated websites from Aspire Global in 2021 and simultaneously entered into a ‘white-label’ operator agreement embracing collaborative efforts on the future running of the purchased assets. The plaintiff is claiming the defendants breached these deals by manipulating their books to falsify and overstate active player data and exaggerate the health of the acquired properties.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Aspire Global is furthermore being accused by Ebet Incorporated of violating the terms of the agreements by materially failing to maintain necessary operations in Germany, falsifying records and violating industry regulations. The allegations could potentially shape the future trajectories of these companies as they also run to reputational harm, fraud, breach of contract and other unnamed violations due to be proven during the course of the trial.
Secure and Streamlined: PlaytestCloud’s launches Live Playtesting for Game Developers
Berlin-based PlaytestCloud’s newest addition lets game developers quickly and easily run live playtesting sessions thanks to its biggest feature update so far
Berlin, 5 December – PlaytestCloud, the dedicated platform for game developers to gather player feedback and insights for their mobile games, has launched the first live, moderated playtesting service built from the ground up to meet the specific needs of game companies. The new feature – simply called Live Playtesting – allows game developers to run live playtesting sessions over a secure video link with gamers drawn from a pool of more than one million pre-approved playtesters worldwide – or invite their own playtesters using the ‘Bring your own Player’ feature.
The new Live Playtesting feature is fully moderated, meaning that the developer or publisher can test directly with the players, guiding them through the playtest and asking questions as they go. All the logistics of recruiting and scheduling the sessions are handled by PlaytestCloud, including recording, transcribing and analysing the session to capture the key insights.
Testing and player feedback are crucial aspects of game development, and the ability to observe and interact with players in real time while they play is especially valuable. However, this has traditionally been costly and time-consuming to coordinate, making it inaccessible for many smaller and medium-sized developers.
PlaytestCloud’s Live Playtesting has been built from the ground up for the games industry; developers can specify what type of player they’d like to talk to and when, and PlaytestCloud takes care of logistics such as NDAs and payment for the testers and even ensure that game builds are pre-installed in a secure testing environment to make sure no time is wasted.
“Playtesting directly with your players and being able to watch exactly how they feel and react to your game in real-time is the best possible feedback tool – which is why this is possibly our biggest feature launch so far,” said Christian Ress, Co-Founder at PlaytestCloud. “Live playtesting has been our most requested feature from our customers, so when we found that there was nothing else like this available to developers, we set out to create the best possible service, fully integrating it into our platform so that it seamlessly works alongside all our existing features, from simple surveys to AI-Powered Analysis.”
Before today’s launch, PlaytestCloud has been trialling Live Playtesting with several existing customers, including UK studio Included Games:
“PlaytestCloud has been essential to our development process, and Live Playtesting itself is a game changer. The ability to just schedule and jump into a live playtest allows us to gather more insights than ever, making iteration and testing faster and more efficient. Along with that, the fact that everything happens with no work from our side and inside the platform makes it both easy to use and very, very convenient,” said Michael Heywood, Co-Founder and CEO at Included Games.
The new Live Playtesting feature is intended to be an extension of the existing PlaytestCloud platform, which is already the most comprehensive set of testing and feedback tools available to game developers. Live Playtesting is also designed to be collaborative, allowing colleagues from different teams or based in other locations to join in on live playtests and easily share the insights and post-session recordings.
Perhaps most importantly, Live Playtesting is linked to PlaytestCloud’s player panel, which has more than 1 million pre-vetted players from around the world. This means that developers can quickly set up live playtesting sessions with gamers that are specifically chosen based on demographics and game preferences, matching the right players to the game being tested.
Digitain Promotes Ani Mkrtchyan to Chief Sales Officer
Behind The Popularity of Online Casino Games in Europe
Aspire Global Facing Pair of Legal Battles
Secure and Streamlined: PlaytestCloud’s launches Live Playtesting for Game Developers
Enhancing GR8 Sportsbook with BetBuilder feature
Hacksaw Gaming Strikes Up Partnership with Betsson Spain
R Franco Digital Adds Strategy to the Slot Experience with Innovative Release Pick & Shoot
Swintt Unwraps a Festive Feast of Prizes in Santa’s Pots and Pearls
City of Dreams Mediterranean Named “Best New Luxury Casino Resort”
Ukraine’s Evolving Gambling Landscape: Insights from the Panel of European Gaming Congress in Warsaw
Bragg is attending the SiGMA Europe, Malta 2023
Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – October 30-November 5
Xtremepush Expands Brazilian Footprint with Playr.Bet Deal
EGT Installs its Gaming Equipments at Grand Palace Casino in Cameroon
Amusnet to Showcase its Top-notch Casino Solutions at SiGMA Europe 2023
South African Casino Player Celebrates Striking Wins on Various Slot Games
Interviews7 days ago
The Ryanair of content aggregation, Q&A w/ Dee Maher, CEO/QUANTA by La Royale Gaming Investments
eSports7 days ago
Data.bet confirmed as headline partner of F1-themed ICE Esports Arena and Esports Betting Conference
Asia7 days ago
India: Six People, Including Cops, Arrested After Ranchi Police Busts Illegal Gambling Den
Baltics7 days ago
Hacksaw Gaming Launches in the Baltics with Betsafe Lithuania
Industry News7 days ago
PIN-UP Global Launches New Business Line Named PIN-UP.INVESTMENTS
Latest News7 days ago
Norsk Tipping Appoints Tonje Sagstuen as Permanent CEO
Australia7 days ago
South Australia: Gambling Report Urges Primetime Ad Ban
Gaming Awards7 days ago
Lion Gaming Named Finalist in Four Categories at International Gaming Awards 2024