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How BetGames aims to stand out with the launch of debut Crash Game, Skyward

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How BetGames aims to stand out with the launch of debut Crash Game, Skyward
Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

With the rise in popularity of Crash Games and the genre’s deceptively simple, yet engaging gameplay, BetGames made its debut on the scene with the launch of Skyward. BetGames CEO Andreas Koeberl has been pleased with the game’s performance so far, and here, he details some of the game’s intricacies, how it stands out in a busy sky full of similar games and where he sees the growth in this currently red hot sector.

 

Skyward is the latest game from BetGames’ ever-expanding roster of engaging titles. Can you give us an overview of what players and operators can expect from it?

Skyward is our first crash game and we’re really excited about it because it’s just the perfect complement and addition to our growing Instant Games vertical that we launched early last year.

We all know the popularity of the crash sector, we know it’s a hot trend and players love it so we set to work on finding the best way to integrate that into our portfolio and put our stamp on it.

We see a massive overlap in terms of what our players play, so Skyward serves as an amazing acquisition tool for us because it allows us to put game launchers and their thumbnails, into different categories – casino, slots, instant games, crash games – and drive net new players towards BetGames on an operators’ lobby.

That’s amazing for us and that comes naturally for the operators as well as a benefit because they can use the crash game, which is a low-margin game, to upsell to our other BetGames products, which usually comes with a margin of more than double. So it makes a lot of sense for operators as well. This is backed up by the early performance since launch which has been extremely encouraging.

 

Crash games are among the most popular types of content in today’s markets and there is much competition from suppliers – what sets Skyward apart in a crowded field?

As with all our products, we try to add a unique touch. Skyward is a game where we haven’t reinvented the wheel, as we have done with some of our previous innovative endeavours, but we have stamped our indelible mark in a few areas.

So first off, it’s probably one of the quickest crash games on the market in terms of play duration and how quickly the plane rises throughout the stages, which makes it extremely engaging.

We also combined a few very popular features like Auto Play and Auto Bet into one UI element. It makes the player experience that much slicker. Fewer clicks are immensely important for such a fast-paced game.

But the true USPs are twofold: one of the main differentiators is the bonus engine which is something that the market currently lacks. We give bonuses and extra plays to value players who take risks and play continuously. The crash game category has a big issue in most developing markets where there’s a lot of bonus abuse due to the super quick nature and players betting on 1.1x or 1.01 X to just turn their bonuses into cash.

What we do is give players bonuses based on their gameplay, but instead of just randomly throwing cash at them, we look at the player behaviour and you can reward those that, for example, have a risk profile not cashing out before 2X,3X and have placed a certain number of bets, then they get a reward while bonus abusers don’t benefit.

That’s something that some of our major partners asked us to look into when we did the market research earlier this year and was an important element of the design for them, so, we made sure we incorporated that.

And the last thing that is really exciting is what we refer to as ultimate localisation. We have fully bespoke, branded animations that we can tailor the game with. It’s not just putting a logo on a plane, it’s the entire game itself. Each is unique, can have individual animation per partner, and is developed to an exact design.  We launched one already last week and have several more almost ready to go live in the coming weeks.

 

Many might not have expected BetGames, with its heritage in live-based titles to expand into this sector – what has driven you to move into this area?

We’re catering to the player – it’s really that simple. BetGames is the go-to gateway between sports and gaming. We are a non-traditional live dealer provider and our player is different from the £50 roulette variety. We help partners convert and nurture recreational punters into casino or better games players. We see this massive overlap within our player profile with rapid play genres like slots and crash, rather than live casino and that overlaps a lot with the slots category, crash games and instant games.

That’s also why we dedicated an entire vertical last year to this topic with a couple of titles out now along with Skyward because players simply demand it. We’re evolving what we do to match the evolution of player taste, moving with the shift in the market.

When you look at what’s going on, this vertical of what we call instant games is something that is booming. We see the key areas our partners focus on and where they invest their marketing, and it’s all about slots, instant games, crash games, et cetera. These are the major growth areas but live casino and live entertainment are still there. We are a live supplier by heart and will always be, but we can’t ignore global market trends and those of our distinct BetGames players and what they want. Again, our mission is to convert sports-savvy players organically. This requires more than one category of games. Twain Sport was one piece of that puzzle, and Skyward is another.

 

How have you leveraged your expertise in crafting unique and ground-breaking experiences to develop Skyward?

It’s quite interesting how many challenges such a project brings because crash games are deceptively complicated. At first glance, they’re simple, like having an old Atari-style plane going into the air but the core elements, for example, cashing out, can be quite tricky to perfect.

It’s not like a slot that is front-end driven where you basically have your own game. This is a so-called common draw game, so all players play the same session and will see the same result. This makes it quite tricky to implement because you have to think about a player sitting in rural Brazil with a 3G network, and you have to ensure that when they press cash out they get their money and not an error because of a delay caused by the network connection. It’s these kinds of challenges that can be tricky to solve because you cannot just do so via the front end for various reasons.

Ironing this particular issue out saw us benefit greatly from our experience as an engineering organisation.

I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of our BetGames legacy that has helped us to build such a game and to solve its technical challenges – what happens if the player loses the connection for half a second and the plane flies away? Do I lose the game? Do I get my stake back? How do I solve these issues? That was the key thing, and all the creative features and bonus features stemmed from our heritage in developing hugely successful live products, and we leveraged that insight with the development of Skyward.

 

Is this type of content something we can expect BetGames to explore more thoroughly going forward?

Yes and no! There is a full roster of crash game ideas we have on file, but I wouldn’t say for sure that any of those will definitely see the light of day. We may develop another, but we’ve absolutely got our focus on the instant games vertical that we have been exploring recently and which continues to perform quite well for us.

We’ve also got another non-crash, trademark, unique BetGames title on the drawing board, something that will offer rapid play for low stakes and has never been seen before so we’re excited to bring that to the market too.

Back to crash games though, I’m not sure how many different varieties you can produce without just cannibalising your existing content but titles of a similar, instant, rapid-play nature, certainly. We’ll be able to reveal more nearer the time.

 

BetGames has proved itself as a supplier of choice for tier-one operators how will your expansion into a wider product base support this?

I think that comes naturally. If you look at what our industry peers are doing, they’re putting big investments into slots, because the market shifts and when the big players go into that direction, that tells you a lot about what’s going on in the market.

We will always try to add our unique touch to everything we do, and we’ll always be able to offer our partners something special that no one else can. Skyward comes with a few unique tweaks that we think the market still lacks. The next instant game we’ll build has also never been seen before so we’re able to position ourselves in such a way that our offering is attractive to the big brands who crave diversity in their lobby to differentiate themselves and provide the choice that players are after. Everything we do is part of our vision to be the go-to gateway between sports and gaming.

Asia

Paving the Way for Regulated iGaming market: Will India See the Rise?

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Paving the Way for Regulated iGaming market: Will India See the Rise?
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

By Dr Aruna Sharma, Practitioner Development Economist & Retd Secretary GoI

 

Could you provide insights into the current market potential for iGaming in India, and what key challenges do you anticipate the industry facing in the near future?

The popularity of online gaming as a form of entertainment in India has surged with the widespread availability of inexpensive smartphones and affordable internet access. Global investors, developers, and other industry stakeholders are keenly watching the growth story of the Indian online gaming industry which has witnessed a 28% CAGR between FY20-23 and holds a market valuation of ₹16,428 crores.

However, instead of direct contribution in the economic growth story of India the online gaming industry is contributing in terms of increasing revenue (direct and indirect tax) collection (year-on-year). Additionally, the sector has attracted budding tech developers and entrepreneurs by providing them employment opportunities and fueling innovation to keep up with the rising demand for AI and other such immersive gaming experiences.

After some crucial and elucidative changes in the regulatory and taxation policies by the government in 2023, one can hope that 2024 for iGaming will thin the clouds that are shadowing accelerated growth of iGaming in India. 2024 holds promise for iGaming in India. While full regulation may take time, positive court ruling and increased focus on non-RMG segments could cause a casual gaming boom, potentially unlocking a multi-billion dollar market. However, regulatory uncertainty and potentially high tax rates remain a hurdle for attracting investments and interest of other stakeholders in this growing market and industry.

 

What are the main challenges facing Indian iGaming and how different are these challenges within the different regions of India?

  • The government is focusing on reducing threats like false information, mental health problems, money laundering, and financial losses for users by bringing rules and regulations such as the IT Rules, establishing SROs and SRBs.
  • Adequate regulation, that is conducive to doing business, is needed, first of all, to protect the Indian players. Because in the current situation, Indians are being abused by countless nefarious parties. Checking and curbing the illegal gaming platforms and enhancing mechanisms to ensure increased user awareness and behaviour while indulging in online gaming.
  • A pressing concern that requires governments urgent attention is to put in place parameters that differentiate between games of skill and chance for taxation.
  • As a fallout of high and retrospective taxation the industry is facing job losses, advertising and spending cuts and reduced investments in research and innovations.

Additionally, policy and regulatory compliance for the platforms have become increasingly complex with both center and state governments legislating on the same subjects and multiple ministries regulating the industry.

 

Delve into the necessity for a regulatory framework that is both balanced and adaptable.

Unregulated framework where user base is large leads to spread of iGaming in gray market with all its vices. By regulating the iGaming industry, the government can unlock other positive outcomes, such as increased tax revenues, economic growth via attracting more foreign investment, job creation, and better consumer protection. A thorough regulatory framework will enable transparent parameters to distinguish and license the game of skill accordingly and rest will fall under game of chance.

Regulations always bring in transparency and ensure there is no misleading advertising or non-payment of legal taxes. Additionally, regulations such as the IT Amendment Rules, 2023 have ascertained a robust grievance redressal mechanism by setting up of the SRBs and SROs.

Further a balanced and stable regulatory framework could provide assurance and confidence to the international iGaming companies in paying taxes while doing business in a regulated and transparent market, create jobs, and invest in the country and its people. Thus, comprehensive regulations, that are conducive to doing business and protect the Indian players, who are being abused by countless nefarious parties are necessary in the current iGaming landscape.

Consequently, foreign iGaming companies operating legally have consistently demanded that the Indian government establish an adequate and stable regulation and taxation regime. Instead, the government has consistently chosen to unwisely prohibit it, thus pushing this whole industry underground. Furthermore, iGaming companies face unfair persecution and baseless lawsuits from India.

 

The new 28% GST on online gaming has produced divided opinions about the industry’s future in India. How has the industry reacted to it?

Industry initially panicked at the 28% tax, fearing slow growth and reduced investments. The partial relief, clarification on the regulatory compliances have brought cautious optimism. Smaller firms remain anxious, fearing the high rate still discourages players and favors larger businesses. Long-term impact depends on pending Supreme Court judgment on game classification and potential tweaks to the tax structure.

The applicability of a flat 28% tax on the total value of bets placed in online gaming, irrespective of whether they are games of skill or chance has upset the applecart that was moving smoothly with the evolution of agreed principles among SROs and the oversight by SRB with clear distinction of the regulatory body between Games of Skill (permissible games) with that of Games of Chance.

The matter is now being reviewed by a Group of Ministers (GoMs) comprising of officials from ministries such as the Home, Finance, MeitY, etc. to reconsider the GST and how to counter episodes of money laundering and other such scams and frauds.

 

Finally, what can we expect from Indian iGaming as a whole this year, if you were to sum it up in three key points?

It is expected that 2024 will set pace by bringing in clarity in rule making, consistency of rules, inculcating a more stable policy environment that enables India to not miss the bus of becoming a hub for developers. The iGaming industry is expected to tighten its grip for filling the digital divide, enabling learning of cognitive skills and enhance conscious citizen messaging to further tap into the positive side of iGaming.

Additionally, iGaming industry should leverage technologies like blockchain to further the purpose of transparency and tracking of digital payment as a technical solution and for permanent storage of records to curb money laundering. Alongside formulation of regulatory policies, a stricter implementation of policies such as IT Rules (establishing SRBs), mandatory KYC, and compliance with Advertisement Standard Council in India (ASCI) norms for iGaming industry need to be inculcated in ensuring safe and secure gaming platforms.

The future of the gaming industry holds promise of growth, however, there is still a hazard that due to absent market regulation and destructive policies, international iGaming companies shun India, sending an unwelcoming signal to many other potential foreign investors.

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Interviews

Software is complex and success hard to achieve, Q&A w/ Max Francis Founder of Black Cow Technology

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Software is complex and success hard to achieve, Q&A w/ Max Francis Founder of Black Cow Technology
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Online gambling operators continually engage with different software projects but the rate of failure remains incredibly high. This is usually due to time pressures placed on the project. To learn more about software development, and some of the pitfalls operators need to be aware of, we spoke to Max Francis, founder of Black Cow Technology and 25 year veteran of software development. Max also talks about Agile and Rapid Application Development, and how by adopting these approaches, and working with a specialist software developer, operators can hugely increase the chances of success of any software project.

 

What are some of the main challenges operators and suppliers face when it comes to software development?

Software development is about solving a problem and the very nature of this means that we don’t know how long it will take. This is one of the biggest challenges operators and suppliers face when it comes to software projects. They struggle to understand that software development is a creative process and that we are trying to solve a problem we haven’t tackled before and we simply don’t know how long it will take to do this. This doesn’t reconcile with the date-based mentality of most organisations when it comes to deadlines and completion. This often sees projects rushed and hurried to meet an arbitrary deadline and this usually results in the project falling short of the mark or failing completely. It’s much less painful for all involved if there is a universal, upfront understanding that we can never know how long a software project will actually take.

 

What do companies need to consider if they are to complete software projects successfully – on time, on budget and in a way that effectively solves the issue?

Operators and suppliers need to make business commitments of their own and they need to be able to rely on the software provider they are working with on the project. To be able to do that, both sides need to accept the project is going to vary and evolve over time, and that they will have to trade off three crucial dimensions if it is to be delivered successfully:  features, quality and timescales. It is impossible to secure all three and at least one will have to give. So, if a project needs to go live by a certain date, that might be fine, but functionality can’t be fixed for that date. If the project needs certain functionality, then you can’t set timescales. If certain functionality is absolutely required by a certain date then the quality will have to give. Most projects try for all three – features, timescales and quality; and this is why they fail.

 

It seems that being realistic about what can be achieved is key.

It is indeed. When it comes to it, a software development project ends up in one of three places. Good with all the features but not quick; good and quick but not with all the features; or all the features and quick, but not good. The latter approach, perhaps surprisingly, can be useful for prototyping and proof-of-concept projects but care must be taken when developing without quality. All too often, trial projects end up seeping into mainstream production and people wonder why the quality is so poor. In my experience, it’s much better to be realistic about what can actually be achieved rather than trying to run a project with blindly perceived “needs” that just can’t be met. This doesn’t mean scaling back ambitions, it just means understanding the compromises. That said, to be able to predict what can be done, we need to understand and deliver small useful chunks of what we know rather than failing to deliver based on what we want. It’s always best to be realistic, and Agile and Rapid Application Development principles help us to do this.

 

Can you tell us more about Agile and Rapid Application Development principles?

At Black Cow we have the mantra “something useful to someone, sooner”. It’s essentially about partnership-oriented iterative delivery. Satya Nadella of Microsoft put it quite nicely: “set and repeatedly meet short-term goals”. The central idea of any Agile development practice is that we don’t know what we’re going to eventually need, so expect change and collaborate to deliver for the biggest difference to the business now. Think vertical slices rather than layers: do some of it fully rather than lots of it partially. Everything flows much more easily in our projects once our partners understand that it’s ultimately about delivering to their imminent business need. For me, the most important aspect is the partnership – all parties are delivering this project. We’re not trying to ruin your day by telling you that it can’t all be done; we’re trying to help you plan! Choose the compromises before they choose themselves.

 

Can you give a few real-world examples of what these approaches look like?

So, it’s good to have a plan but make every effort to base your plans on what can actually be achieved now rather than what you ultimately want to achieve. Then you need to recognise that plans always change. It’s important to tackle small enough chunks to allow yourself a better chance of success by predictably delivering, then delivering to the imminent business need. And be sensible about what that need is. To determine this, look to solve today’s problems and not the problems you might have tomorrow (unless that is in itself today’s problem). Recognise that there will always be compromises.

Think progress and not perfection. Success comes from delivering as consistently as both sides can manage and seeking to optimise at all times. Adjust the process based on the progress you are making. Don’t believe anyone who tells you they will deliver on time – they are only saying this and can’t guarantee it. This includes the customer providing material to the software developer such as specifications and responses – this is also a form of delivery.

Finally, always treat timescale requirements with suspicion. You must ask if time really is of the essence or whether it is just a desire to get something done as quickly as possible. A real deadline means the project fails completely if it’s missed. This is usually not the case.

 

What do operators and suppliers need to look for in a software development partner? And what should the working relationship between both parties look like?

Working effectively and with the right software provider is mission-critical. The supplier and the customer need to deliver, support and commit to each other. There are no sides here, this is a partnership of equals. It’s a relationship that works best when the customer keeps the supplier focused on the requirements and the supplier keeps the customer focused on what’s technically possible. In this way both parties converge on a solution and are equally committed to the shared goal. “I’m the customer and this is what I want” doesn’t get software delivered. A more intelligent approach is needed.

Software projects are highly complex interactions between several parties with requirements that change on the fly. Projects also continue well after delivery – it’s never about providing a fixed bunch of requirements as a package and then you’re done. That’s why we ensure we take the customer on the journey with us, acting as a true partnership. This is why non-software businesses should engage good software experts for their software projects, allowing both sides to get on with what they do best and allowing the project to succeed.

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Interviews

How has 3 Oaks Gaming’s Flip to Win promotional tool set the market alight

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How has 3 Oaks Gaming’s Flip to Win promotional tool set the market alight
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

In 2023, 3 Oaks Gaming enjoyed a breakthrough year, with its powerful portfolio of slots and promotional tools resonating with players worldwide. With 2024 still in its infancy, 3 Oaks’ Flip to Win tool has proven to be one of its most successful released, with impressive stats showcased across a number of facets. We caught up with 3 Oaks Gaming’s Promo Marketing Lead, Maria Osyka, about how the tool has put the distributor on the map.

 

Promotional tools still have a hugely important place within the market. Much like a new slot game, a successful promo tool needs to be unique and stand out in a saturated environment. Numerous tools will keep being churned out with no outstanding differentiator, and this is what makes Flip to Win so distinctive – an emblem of how a tool can entice players by keeping it relevant and fast-paced.

How Flip to Win works

Flip to Win is a proprietary in-game bonus engine, guaranteeing randomly generated prizes to reward players throughout a gaming session.

A trio of cycles takes players on a rapid adventure, returning to the main game after the initial flip, repeating the sequence twice more, with the ability to enhance player retention and acquisition. This provides the ultimate gaming experience. Since being introduced to the market, the tool itself has gone from strength to strength, enjoying spectacular results since launch.

Positive results across multiple indicators

Within two hours of the campaign going live, the Average Bets and Average Rounds indicators of the promo winners showed an increase of 127% and 143% respectively.

When we compare a player’s session to the following week,   with the same number of hours by the Average Rounds indicator, we can conclude that participation in the Flip to Win campaign has a positive effect on the length of the spin session, exhibiting a 45% increase.

With the Flip to Win tool to the fore, the average session duration indicator shows that the length of time participants play for is extended by approximately 25%, ensuring that retention dramatically increases.

Thanks to these results, the effect of the Flip to Win promo tool has reached its goal in terms of retention, extension of sessions, and bets placed.

It has shown that it primarily affects important KPI indicators as short, three-hour campaigns can influence these parameters, which means a win-win situation for both the operator and us at 3 Oaks Gaming.

The quality and unique nature of promotional tools has never been more important!

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