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Making a lasting mark in a new territory

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Making a lasting mark in a new territory
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We talk to Michael Bauer, CFO/CGO at Greentube, to discover the key elements to a successful entry into a new market.

What has to be taken into consideration before entering a new market?

Michael Bauer: The first aspect to consider is whether or not our games already have traction in a particular region, this can be in either social casino, or the land-based environment. If we see that this is indeed the case, then the decision-making process is a much easier one as clearly, this is a positive sign as to our potential within that jurisdiction.

Secondly, we have to take into consideration the market itself. How big is it, what is the overall population, how does that break down into demographic groups and what is the average income? All of these questions are pertinent. We also have to look at how the market is shaped by regulation, for example is it reasonable from a taxation perspective and in terms of products and content, or are there any major restrictions in place? All of these factors are in play when we are deciding whether or not a market is attractive to us.

By way of examples, looking at the Czech Republic and German markets, they have heavy restrictions in place on the product. Germany has a €1 limit on stakes and five seconds between spins, while in the Czech Republic, you also have maximum win limits. This can make products less attractive for players and from a supplier perspective an amended product, which is less scalable and attractive.

How important is it to utilise local expertise within a market?

It is usually very important, because markets are all different to one another in certain respects and this means a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be successfully rolled out across multiple jurisdictions. This is true for both suppliers and operators, and arguably even more crucial for the latter. Operators must have a detailed knowledge of local marketing networks, compliance aspects of regulation and local player tastes and preferences. Local expertise is an integral part of the growth journey towards being an important player in a market, there is the potential for an operator to buy their way to success through marketing, but it is a costly approach.

Are the current conditions in Germany an illustration of potential difficulties of entering a new territory?

Germany is the best current example of potential difficulties when entering a new market due to regulation. It is the first regulated market I have seen that has created an environment that is particularly unattractive for players, causing channelisation rates which are only around 20%. In addition, the regulators have struggled to issue licences. As things stand at present, what the regulation is creating does not lead to the desired outcome – the channelisation of the player base into a safe, regulated environment.

Is there an expectation for both operators and suppliers to enter every regulated region?

To a certain extent, yes. Our bigger, global customers are asking us to join them when entering new markets. We experienced this in both Argentina and Ontario, as well as other smaller regions. The issue here is that a market may not necessarily be attractive enough for us as we have too many other opportunities to tackle at the same time. When we are dealing with a smaller jurisdiction, the cost of entry and resources may be better funnelled towards the bigger openings.

Certain operators may seek to launch games on as global a basis, but this is a trend that is becoming less prevalent, which is down to different regulations and operators utilising various platforms in certain regions.

How long does it take to know whether you have been successful in a market? How is that success measured?

When a new region opens up and the regulations in place are crafted carefully, such as in the Netherlands for example, operators who gain a licence are able to ramp up quickly. We have also seen in Switzerland that markets can become very interesting, very quickly. Our measure of success is market share, where we receive feedback from operators on the success of our games. The other aspect is the GGR we are generating in a region and the number of players we are reaching. It may be that a certain jurisdiction has a weak currency, or low local purchasing power, but where there are many people playing our games. Colombia is an example of this, where the currency is not as strong as the European markets we operate in for example but we have a large player base, and can also be regarded as a success. Germany is a less than ideal example, because players are leaving the regulated market, and we cannot supply the black market.

Do you have any particular examples of successful or non-successful market entries?

The starting point of a successful entry for us is usually predicated on being first to market. We achieved that in Switzerland and the Netherlands, where on day one of regulation our games were available to play. In itself, this is a success because it’s normally very tricky to be that fast. Secondly, after a certain time you look at how big your market share is. Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland and also Norway are good examples here, as we quickly gained market share through the latter with state-owned Monopoly holder Norsk Tipping. You also have high hopes of certain jurisdictions that don’t come to fruition, which despite best intentions and plenty of hard work can be out of our hands due to regulations requiring amendments of games and stakes.

Interviews

Q&A/Twitch bans gambling streamers w/ Michael Pedersen CCO at Livespins

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What do you think of Twitch’s decision to ban casino sites from being streamed on its platform? 

Twitch’s decision to ban remote licensed online casino sites from being streamed from its platform has made waves right across the industry. But at Livespins, we have long expected this moment to come, and what is now certain is that gambling on mainstream media platforms is, and likely always will be, volatile. That is why it is important for the industry to control the space and provide a healthy, highly engaging and, most importantly, sustainable solution. The opportunity that sits at the intersection of gambling and streaming is far too big for us not to.

 

How has this situation come about? Has the writing been on the wall for a while?

The ban comes in the wake of a campaign to oust gambling from the platform after top-tier streamer ItsSlicker admitted to having a gambling problem. It’s fair to say some sort of ban was already in the works with recent events likely to have forced Twitch to act sooner rather than later. For us, the writing has been on the wall for some time now.

You just have to look at the surging popularity of slot streaming, the increased competition among streamers and the lengthens they have been going to grow and retain their following to see things would have to change. Many streamers were opting to play with increasingly large and unsustainable bet amounts as well as partaking in sometimes offensive studio behaviour to generate clips and moments that would gather attention online – behaviour that was also starting to gather the attention of industry insiders, watchdogs, and regulators.

More worryingly, to afford these large bet sizes and increased hours spent gambling, many streamers were becoming sponsored in one way or another and not disclosing this arrangement to their audiences. This meant they were essentially misleading their viewers to think that their gambling was being done with their own funds when the reality was very different. Add into the mix the recent ban on the use of gambling links and ads within Twitch streams and it was clear to us that the house of cards was about to come tumbling down.

 

What impact will the ban have on online casino brands, slot studios and of course slot streamers? 

It is going to take a little time for the true impact of the ban to be understood. Twitch has been a touch ambiguous when it comes to exactly who the ban applies to – online casino brands that hold a licence in the US, or from another reputable jurisdiction, can continue to use the platform while the ban appears to only apply to online casinos and not sportsbook, etc. Streamers that have built their brands on slot streaming will also be heavily impacted for obvious reasons. I think it’s fair to say Twitch will be off limits for most operators, slot studios and streamers for quite some time, if indefinitely.

 

Does this spell the end of the relationship between streaming and online gambling? 

Not at all. Livespins was founded on the insight that a significant player segment clearly loves the slots streaming concept and the opportunity to engage with a community of like-minded individuals, the authenticity of streamers over more rigid live dealers and the overall organic nature of the streaming entertainment experience. We wanted to retain all of those features but leave behind the unsustainable behaviour that we have seen on Twitch. Our platform does just that – it integrates directly into the online casino game lobby with our team of superstar streamers playing slots from our roster of approved studio partners.

 

How does Livespins allow casinos, studios, and streamers to leverage the tremendous popularity of slot streaming? 

We bring all three parties together in one powerful, responsible, compliant solution. For licenced operators, the Livespins stream takes place directly within their casino and allows them to generate revenues from the bet behinds that players can make via our unique system. For studios, they gain high levels of exposure among players but in an environment where said players can wager directly on the action happening in the game. We also pay studios to be on the platform, opening up an additional line of revenue. For streamers, we provide a platform for them to be able to do what they love while earning a living and the security that comes with being an employee and part of a big team.

But let’s not also forget viewers and players. Livespins allows them to not only watch the explosive action taking place across the reels, but also get involved in a direct way by betting behind each spin. This creates a group bet and a shared experience, but with each player able to select their own bet amount and number of spins. They can also interact with the streamer and each other throughout, as well as add reactions and emojis. This takes the foundation of what they could experience on Twitch and supercharges it.

 

How does it do this in a responsible way? 

Livespins brings the streaming entertainment we know to be so popular and puts it in the hands of the operator – those that are working diligently to create safe and sustainable play for their customers and who have the tools to do so. From the very beginning, we at Livespins have also worked relentlessly to deliver pure sustainable entertainment to players all over the globe. Our streamers are recruited by us, vetted and trained for months on content and responsible gambling. And, we ensure moderators 24/7 making sure we are building a healthy community.

 

What does the future have in store for slot streaming? 

Some might consider Twitch banning online casino from its platform as the end of slot streaming, but we see it as just the beginning. Livespins is the platform and product to allow operators, studios and streamers to unlock the massively untapped potential on the table here and to do it responsibly and compliantly. The appetite for slot streaming content is only going to increase, and we are here to help all stakeholders leverage this and provide socially-charged, highly entertaining experiences to their players.

 

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Interviews

European Gaming / Q&A – Queen’s Award for Innovation Danny Edwards, Chief Revenue Officer at Synalogik

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European Gaming / Q&A - Queen's Award for Innovation Danny Edwards, Chief Revenue Officer at Synalogik
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  • Congratulations on receiving the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Can you tell us more about the award and why you received it?

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are probably the top, and most prestigious, awards programme in the UK. There are several categories, in our case we won the Queen’s Award for Innovation.

We won the award due to our data aggregation platform, Scout®, and its contribution to fighting financial crime and helping organisations with regulatory compliance across both the public and private sector. Scout® has proven to deliver significant ROI for businesses across the gambling, insurance, banking, legal and public sector. In the gambling sector our clients include Entain Plc, Betway and Buzz Bingo.

 

  • What does receiving such an award mean to Synalogik and the team behind the business?

Along our journey we have been extremely lucky to get the support of some large multinationals and high-profile investors; however, receiving the Queen’s Award for Innovation has galvanised and given confidence to our team in different, in some ways more important, ways. We have always been driven by the desire to help and serve the wider public interest; therefore, to receive an independent award of this high calibre gives us an unmatched sense of pride that we are delivering on our mission.

With the sad news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, it is with deep regret, but great pride that we realise we are now going to be the last company to ever receive HRH Queen Elizabeth’s Award for Innovation.

 

  • What makes your Scout data aggregation platform so effective?

Scout® is unique in its capability to aggregate data from open, closed, third party and proprietary sources, allowing investigators and analysts to query data efficiently and at scale. Scout® performs data collection in a fraction of the time it takes for users to manually log in and out of multiple data sources and investigation tools, even when looking at thousands of investigation points. Countless testing indicates Scout® saves up to 85% of their time compared to manual investigations.

This ability to aggregate all these data sources means that it is capable of automating complex enhanced due diligence checks and fraud investigations something that had not been possible before. Scout®, through saving time, enables your team to investigate more cases, in greater detail, at a lower cost; however, it’s benefits go beyond just time-consumption. It also improves the effectiveness of investigations by eliminating the human error and inconsistency that occurs when trying to compile reports and find links across information available in different browser windows and formats.

Synalogik was created in 2018 by experts from law enforcement, intelligence, and legal backgrounds, who were frustrated by the amount of time it was taking to pull together information when performing investigations manually. We therefore designed Scout® to include tools that would fundamentally address each of the pain points we had with the investigation process.  Besides wanting to create a single intelligence environment with a unified interface, we added automated report generation in numerous formats, the ability to visualise links between entities, the ability to clash data and do bulk uploads, an open source intelligence tool, risk and search workflows as well as the ability to break down data sharing barriers between branches and sub-brands with the Synalogik Knowledgebase.

 

  • It is now used by 25% of the gambling industry – how does it benefit operators and what upsides does it enable them to unlock?

Scout helps operators to enhance their EDD, AML, and RG processes by combining their third-party data with open-source information (including adverse media). This means that their analysts only need to log into one platform to perform all the required checks, which is then displayed in a downloadable report and in the workbench within Scout.

We have seen from existing customers that the time taken to perform an investigation has reduced by as much as 85%, which is then allowing their analysts to focus on other business-critical tasks.

 

  • Just how important is it for operators to meet the highest possible standards when it comes to affordability, AML, etc?

It’s incredibly important. As we’ve seen recently the UKGC are handing more fines out than ever to operators for failures, particularly around AML and social responsibility. I think operators understand that they are part of an ecosystem where it benefits everyone to ensure that laundered money is kept out of their businesses and that players can play in a fun way that is sustainable for their future and the future of organisations.

 

  • How can operators prepare for any tightening of regulations in markets such as the UK? How can your platform help with this?

Tightening regulations inevitably mean that operators need to get better at spotting possible signs of criminals trying to launder money and players hiding their true financial situation. It is crucial therefore to learn more about the possible sources of data available and the insights they can give into the challenges mentioned above.

Open-source intelligence is now a mandated and key source of information for operators. Synalogik has carried out extensive research around identifying and risk assessing vulnerable individuals. In one such case found on the surface an individual who appeared to have no apparent vulnerabilities, however, through investigating more OSINT data sources, we were able to find mentions of his gambling addiction on several forums. If we had only used a limited number of data sources, this would have been missed, creating the potential for harm to the player and the operator.

Our platform is the only one that takes a data agnostic approach to aggregation of data, meaning we work with our operator clients to integrate the data sources they need to complete their risk assessments and checks to the optimal thoroughness. Being able to automate search and risk assessments over all their data sources gives them the time and tools to investigate more cases, in more detail.

In addition, it helps to improve analyst decisions – manually cross referencing and collating data from multiple datasets in different browser windows can easily lead to human error. Scout® creates standardised, in-depth, and clear reports, leaving operators and their teams free to focus on decision making.

Scout® open-source intelligence tool enables operators to create highly targeted automated searches around keywords, proximity, timeframe, and document type, eliminating false positives, and getting them to the right information in seconds.

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Interviews

Interview with nanocosmos’ CEO Oliver Lietz: How 2022’s launches of B2B interactive live streaming accelerate the iGaming and betting market to serve increased demands for better user experience

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Nanocosmos, well experienced provider of the interactive live streaming solution nanoStream Cloud for iGaming and betting platform operators, was awarded once again by the Streaming Media European Innovation Awards 2022. What is the secret?

It is a great honor to be awarded two yours in a row. Since we entered the market of interactive live streaming, we have helped to shape it. Yet our biggest secret still lies in our customer approach. We work closely with our clients to deliver a service they can rely on. Our 100% stability and 24/7 operations are key differentiators for the gaming industry.

With the a new upgrade of nanoStream Cloud that we launched this year we built on the integrated approach, but added new features for successful interactive live streaming. Our live streaming platform and API spans over a wide range of areas such as Adaptive and secure streaming, ultra-low latency to enable real-time interaction, advanced analytics, live metadata support, stream protection, 100% stability and reliability at a global scale.

What makes your streaming solution work particularly well for iGaming and betting platforms?

When it comes to live casinos and sports betting it is all about a seamless user experience. One of the major advantages that we are very proud of is that our platform is very robust and stable with 100% uptime, for all networks on a global scale. In addition you have adaptive streaming and the integrated approach – it is not about just doing one thing well, but about bringing all components under one roof. This is to make sure everything from ingest to playout, from support to player and analytics works well and supports the profitability of iGaming and betting platforms. It serves end-to-end observability and helps companies to make decisions that will shape profitability, experience and efficiency. nanoStream Cloud is all about 24/7/365 quality of service and quality of experience for the entertainment services of our clients.

With the return of in-person shows – what were the major milestones of this year’s launches that were shared and what are they aiming at?

At ICE 2022 we launched the new version of our nanoStream Player to achieve and maintain sub-second latency, yet stability for even bad networks on all devices, anywhere in the world. This fall at SBC Barcelona we show enhanced adaptive streaming service not only by making it much easier for customers to manage their live transcoded streams. In combination with the new player, nanoStream Cloud is now positioned to cover both as part of the standard package: Interactive live streaming with the possibility to achieve sub-second latency, including live transcoding and adaptive playback.

In addition  nanoStream Cloud users can now ingest using the RTMP, SRT and WHIP protocols for WebRTC ingest for improving connectivity, especially for remote ingest locations and higher bitrates and customers can benefit from added misuse protection to secure their streamed content.

What innovation do you see ahead for the iGaming and betting industry? 

There is a lot of room for innovation to be picked up by live gaming and betting operators, based on live video to share with their player audiences. Trends like „fast betting“ on sports create new ideas by operators for new types of games. 

What core challenges do you help to solve for platform operators?

We have seen continuous growth in terms of the importance and the market of interactive live streaming. It is a great opportunity to engage anyone worldwide based on live video content. We at nanocosmos aim to empower our clients to deliver video-based games and bets to their viewers with a 360 degree angle, end-to-end.

https://info.nanocosmos.de/nanostreamcloud

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