The future of gaming between technology and regulatory restrictions
Gaming sector continues to evolve, day after day, hand in hand with the development of technology. Despite the restrictions imposed by national and territorial regulations, imposing limits on businesses.
The debate at the Enada show in Rome promoted by GiocoNews.it talks about it, aimed at the evolution of the gaming offer, between online and retail. That is, looking at multichannel as a development strategy (and, in some cases, as a safety) for companies of the sector.
“We have been talking about multichannel for a long time, in our sector, and even if the goal of the so-called “omnichannel” may in some ways still appear distant for many operators, it doesn’t mean that nothing has been done. Indeed, on the contrary, many changes and new developments are taking place, that are creating new opportunities”, Marco Castaldo, CEO of Microgame, one of the speakers at the debate, explains. One of the issues addressed in the debate is also the impact of the Dignity Decree on the sector with multi-channel system, that seems to offer a solution or at least an opportunity.
“Multi-channel system allows integration between operators and the two channels, enhancing and making strategic the affiliation network on the ground”, Castaldo adds, also highlighting the “democratization” action carried out on the sector by the Dignity Decree, since before the total “ban” on advertising the market was drugged by an over-promotion of the big names of the field, that invested huge amounts of money in advertising by putting on the spot the smaller subjects”.
Furthermore, according to Ludovico Calvi, President of the Global lottery monitoring system, “Italy, even if we don’t fully realize it, represents an incredible workshop which continues to be a reference point in the world. This is why even in the face of the restrictions imposed by the Dignity Decree, the Italian operator will be able to transform the limit into opportunity. For example, we are already seeing that a “pure” online operator today is forced to look for a land-based partner to be able to stay on the market and this opens up a new scenario different from all the other European and world markets”.
In any case, the transition won’t be so simple: or, at least, not immediately. Domenico Mazzola, Altenar’s commercial director, is sure of this: “I am not sure that the evolution is necessarily oriented towards omnichannel – he explains – I believe instead that the experience of retail will be skilled through that of online. This is because, at least reasoning in the short term, there are still rooted differences between the two segments. It is obvious to everyone that the land-based store, to date, is attended a lot by non-young people who love to go to that particular location also to socialize and chat with friends and acquaintances. While the online segment is generally characterized by younger users who are accustomed to the use of some technologies and in any case more oriented to personal play, perhaps even live following the game at home. Then, there are also characterizations based on territoriality, with some geographical areas or particular cities where the closer store represents something difficult to replace, due to a cultural setting and a particular tradition”. For this reason, according to Mazzola, “those who will specialize in creating ad hoc solutions for the various experiences in use will have greater chances of success. At least until certain differences continue to exist”. But that is not all. There is also the national context that influences developments, “inevitably slowing them down – according to the Altenar’s manager – given that – especially in Italy – political and regulatory conditions suddenly change and even to talk about developments looking ahead over the years becomes difficult. I therefore consider more useful to focus on specialization, dedicating resources to the development of specific solutions suited to your business. That the user experience is the same is not, after all, so true. At least not for everyone”.
Italtronic’s senior consultant, Mario Brescianini, explains the advantages of the online gaming offer and the problems of gaming model during the Enada fair in Rome. “The launch of an online gambling offer is a scalable project that requires a very limited investment and represents an important incremental revenue line, even if it should (partially or totally) cannibalize current slots collections installed in the same places.
This is what Mario Brescianini, Italtronic’s senior consultant, affirmed during the conference entitled “The future of gaming between online and retail”, which took place this morning, Tuesday, October, the 9th, at Enada, the gaming fair in Rome. “Multi-channel system – Brescianini explains again – represents today the greatest opportunity for gaming companies, both in terms of development and business growth and in terms of marketing, especially for small and medium-sized companies that can catch in the online further driving elements for their land-based activities”.
“For the operators – Brescianini continues – it is therefore a new challenge that however has interesting perspectives and that must be fully understood, because we need to optimize and develop solutions that allow an ideal integration between the two channels, favoring mutual well-being”.
Online gaming offer – Brescianini explains – is a useful supplementary product for completing the gaming offer. It can be a useful tool to oppose the lower collection due to the entry into force of timetables or even the replacement product, where the slots have been switched off due to distances and/or local regulations and allows the operator to increase the revenue from the games, but also from the supply of drinks and food thanks to the flows of customers who use the devices for paying bills, mobile phone top-ups”.
According to Brescianini, the advantages of an online offer can be summarized in some points: no concession needed (in fact, it is possible to operate as a commercial network for a third-party concessionaire); zero or minimum initial investment (skin hypothesis of third-party concessionaire); product complementary to the current slots offer to the operators; no additional cost for the proposal of the new product and for the collection; use of in renting terminals to automate players registration activities and loading/unloading account; margin for the operator higher than the standard Awps margin (thanks to taxation on the margin). During the Enada conference, Brescianini reiterated that the “so-called top-up or Pvr stores (bars, tobacco shops, arcades, etc., where slots are installed) are businesses where, after contractualization with a concessionaire authorized to collect remote gaming, new players interested in opening an online gaming account can be registered.
According to the Italtronic partner, Brescianini “the current model mainly has two critical points from the strictly operational point of view: on the one hand, there is a constant exposure of the concessionaire towards the Pvr network, and on the other the fact that the number of players registered and gaming volumes heavily depends on the operator’s actions and initiative (which is often not cooperative at all. There are also the problems from the point of view of compliance with the regulations of Adm and tracking of financial flows, since the operator must identify the players and collect the cash proceeds of the charge cards of the gaming account.
Today all the concessionaires work in the ways described above, but Adm seems oriented towards a more strict observance of anti-money laundering regulations and could explicitly prohibit some practices.
A device is now available on the market that on the one hand automates some operations, avoiding the direct involvement of the operator and, on the other hand, by using a platform enabled for online payments, it allows to always identify the author of the transactions that are always tracked and of an exclusively banking nature.
The device – Brescianini ends – also allows to avoid the allocation of a ceiling to the operator as the players, in order to recharge their gaming account, must necessarily deposit cash or make a transfer from their e-wallet”.