While omni-channel is definitely one of the biggest buzzwords in today’s gaming world, don’t let it distract you from the opportunities it presents. 2015 brought us a constant stream of stories in the M&A columns and none more interesting than those regarding the convergence of land-based and online operators.
Whether the intention is to avoid the bottom line hit from increasing taxes such as Point of Consumption (POC) in UK, or a more traditional market and product consolidation play, the trend now is to paint all customers with the same brush; be they mobile, desktop, betting shop or casino players.
Generally speaking, the key limiting factors are regulation and market readiness. Think of online gaming regulations as an erratic gate-keeper; their word can’t be trusted until the ink dries, rely on them too much and you could be stuck in a cash-burning holding pattern for a while. Operators and providers alike are queuing up in dozens of markets waiting to apply for licenses, or scaling back operations to avoid being in the firing line when the regulators have legislation to prosecute and claim those lucrative back-taxes.
There is a question over whether the market is truly ready for the omni-channel, however in most cases it is the law-makers that are restricting change.
Regulations for SBG (Server Based Gaming or remotely connected land-based terminals) are even more vague and are still infantile in most markets. The recently published SBG draft regulations for some Spanish jurisdictions seem to not understand the intricacies of modern solutions, referring to traditional cycle times for slots, rather than RNG games (Random Number Generator) for instance.
Combine online and SBG and you have yourself an “omni-channel experience”. Put simply, a player can use their account on whatever device or machine they like, sharing funds, bonuses and limits between them.
Some markets are more advanced than others, whether it has been driven by a genuine demand from players, or operators disrupting the experience with innovative technology providers. UK has shown great promise in the betting shop sector, USA in the casino market, South Asia in gaming salons, etc, however the true value (and dramatically increased player experience) of having land-based terminals driven by online technology is yet to be realised.
About a year ago Mediatech announced the launch of our Candy land-based project, when we successfully launched a commercial-pilot into North Spain. Since then we have been working hard to improve the customer and operator experience. We are now rolling out localised solutions for Asia, West Europe, East Europe and Spain and have been working hard to increase our portfolio of world-class game and terminal providers available through our platform with over 17 game companies and 7 hardware manufacturers.
Our product line has been fundamentally built for the purpose of omni-channel, since before the buzz even existed. Candy is a natural extension of our market-leading gaming platform called IRIS which offers a full suite of open APIs to integrate into native apps, websites, terminals and even casino management, loyalty and retail systems.
For many firms, embracing the omni-channel opportunities means instigating a big shift in strategy. Among several new operators that Mediatech Solutions launched in 2015 was Spanish gaming giant R.Franco’s first foray into online. However where the relationship has really grown is with their aspirations to offer Server Based Gaming to the huge Spanish land-based market of over 200,000 AWP machines.
Mediatech has integrated its Candy software onto R.Franco’s custom built SBG terminals and they can now offer Sports Betting, Slots and Table Games via retail, allowing their online customers to use their same single wallet for both online and retail, giving players a single view of their gaming history, bonuses, pending bets and payment methods.
To manage such a diverse customer base across retail and online, customers have a single back-office view of all their players and gaming terminals via the IRIS platform, including a consolidated view of all data from the various game and payment providers.
Due to market demand for more choice, competitive pricing and localised content, we’ve also recently updated our business model to be much more accommodating and flexible for game providers to partner with Mediatech. We have been fortunate enough to recently sign distribution deals with some world-class providers with recent additions from Coral, Habanero, Booming Games, Spin Cycle, Kiron, Golden Race, Global Bet, Softbet, Playson, Skillrock and gg626.
We are looking to continue this growth in 2016, with more features in our IRIS platform, more innovation in the Candy retail product line, more game providers and new clients who are ready to take their operations to the next level.
Come and meet Daniel and the team at Mediatech Solutions on Stand S6-210 at ICE Totally Gaming this week, where it has partnered with Grupo R.Franco to show the full power of omni-channel gaming.
Daniel Graetzer is the Executive Director of Mediatech Solutions, a global provider of products and services for online and land-based regulated markets. Daniel has worked in the digital industry for 15 years, was Technical Director of one of Australia’s leading digital agencies and has consulted and chaired numerous technology start-ups.