In the end of June, EvenBet’s Head of PR and Events Ekaterina Giganova visited iGaming NEXT Valletta to see what occupies the minds of industry experts and if their agenda aligns with the company research results. Here’s what she told us after the conference.
iGaming NEXT has gathered all the forward-thinking industry leaders, as always. It is a must-visit summit for those who want to keep up with the trends in the online gaming market. The conference proved many of the trends and challenges EvenBet Gaming has outlined in the latest research summary published in our blog (the yearly white paper is coming at the end of 2023).
The images for this review were generated, according to the latest trends, by AI.
The trends, modestly identified by ourselves and lively discussed at iGaming NEXT
1. Engaging content
DALL·E 2: a woman playing a crash game
During several retention and acquisition panels, speakers pointed out that the entertaining content factor is becoming more crucial: engaging games have both acquisition and retention potential, and these are not slots, no matter how good the design and music are (even if they stay the most profitable for casinos). This correlates with the growing demand for crash games and mission-based mechanics in the casino vertical.
2. AI to rule the world?
DALL·E 2: the conference discussion of AI and Chat GPT
AI and ChatGPT were the hot potatoes of this iGaming NEXT: mentioned during half of the panels, they had several benefit talks and discussions in the main and technology tracks. The success could be compared to Beyonce’s performance. At the tech panel on AI, people were standing across all the free space available (myself included, as I was two minutes late after the insightful gender issues panel).
During EvenBet Gaming research, everyone looked forward to the revolution caused by AI tools. However, the iGaming NEXT public turned out to be more cautious and sceptical. Indeed, using AI and ChatGPT 4 can decrease the operational burden, from working with emails to providing the first line of user support, but there are still numerous limitations to its use in creative tasks and more sophisticated tools such as proactive player protection, so inspiringly described by Jade Pecorella from Playtech. The change is coming, but it looks more like evolution than revolution.
Note one thing: probably in the months to come the industry will need a brand new type of professionals: AI trainers and managers. Likely, it’s time to change the skill set if you are among the specialists threatened by Chat GPT 4 rapid expansion.
3. Regulation grievances
DALL·E 2: Brazil could do well by finally regulating
Regulation (the number three trend according to the research) is always a controversial subject at industry gatherings, though, after all, it usually comes to a single point: the regulators are not talking enough to the industry, and it leads to over-complicating the entry to the markets and removing the entertainment from gambling, so much needed by the casual players. And “in this case, only addicts are left,” – Alexander Stevendahl, Videoslots. Too bad the regulators are never there to listen.
The only different panel focused on the regulation was dedicated to the South American markets: from praising how it was introduced in Colombia to explaining the complicated situation in Brazil. While waiting for the laws to pass, several states in Brazil allow the operators to work in a sort of legal limbo, giving them a chance to work but creating huge risks as there are no clear taxation policies or legal demands.
4. Crypto as a saviour
DALL·E 2: banking vs crypto
The final trend mentioned by our research was the rise of crypto in iGaming. That is an opinion shared by the iGaming NEXT experts as well, with different predictions, such as the increase of its use in the US market by 2024, leading to bigger deposit amounts, or turning to crypto as a solution to the payment issues since the payment processing is still one of the most daunting problems faced by an operator.
What else can we retain from iGaming NEXT?
There’s no such thing as a Latam market. It’s more complex than that, and among other issues, we have to take localisation for every country seriously. – Fireside chat on South America updates with Ramiro Atucha (Vibra Gaming), Witoldo Hendrich Jr (Hendrich Advogados/Online IPS), and Thomas Carvalhaes (Vai de Bob).
Ideas of potentially profitable businesses to launch now: a sweepstakes project in the USA, AI-based SAAS for B2B, or a Telegram casino with payments processing directly in the app. – Predictions: Re.Visited with Pierre Lindh (iGaming NEXT), Robin Eirik Reed (HappyHour), and Tim Heath (Yolo Investments).
Today, the regulation makes it expensive to acquire, and the acquisition brings too many legal risks, so retention efforts should be doubled. – The Customer Conundrum: Is Retention Over Acquisition a Sure Bet? with Oisin Lunny (Galaxy of Om), Magnus Olsson (Play’n’Go), Paul Foster (Crucial Compliance), and Antoine Bonello (Aspire Global).
The only point of differentiation between online casinos for players is the brand that delivers what they are looking for. But there’s too much pressure in everyday operations, and we don’t think enough about the long-term. – Branding During Economic Uncertainty with Ivana Flynn (Comeon Group), Martin Bradley (MTM), Ihor Kozyavkin (Pelicanpartners), Samira van Diepen (Content Labs), and Peter Grech (BRNDWGN).