Fresh from completing a research study into ‘The Power of Fast Payments’ that yielded such an eye-catching set of takeaways for the industry, we went back to Trustly to delve deeper into the data that really matters for gambling operators.
We’ve taken an educated guess that those interested in fast payments may also be here looking for fast answers. So, for the quick and easy responses from Head of Sales Nicholas Tucker, here goes:
Has the value of payments been overlooked by the industry? No. Has the ‘race to the bottom’ approach to bonusing opened the door for payment innovation? Definitely. Are operators unjustifiably concerned about losing revenues from instant withdrawals? Yes.
In any case, Tucker proceeded to deliver some must-read insight into the influence of Pay N Play and where the company’s flagship product is seeing the biggest uptake, as well as some of the more surprising findings from last month’s fast payments research.
SBC: Do you think the value of payments has been overlooked by the gambling industry?
Nicholas Tucker: No! Personally, I think that successful gaming operators have always viewed payments as a core pillar of the success of their operations. The last thing you want is to lose the player at the first hurdle when they try to make a deposit or create a bad wagering experience by making it hard to access winnings.
As a whole, we see much more expertise and innovation in payments within the gaming vertical compared to some others we work in. Essentially, for an operator to be successful, it needs to make payments as easy and frictionless as possible for the consumer.
When you look at the cashier of a gaming operator vs an e-commerce or travel merchant, you will see far more payment options. I think this reflects the level of value and dedication placed on making payments possible for the player.
SBC: Has the slowing of the ‘race to the bottom’ approach to player retention opened the door for payment-based innovations to take centre stage?
NT: Definitely. We were seeing fierce competition between operators all trying to attract and retain players by offering huge bonuses (with hidden and confusing wagering requirements) but without much regard for what players wanted in terms of experience.
Also, regulators are beginning to step in by simplifying or restricting the size and frequency of player bonuses, hampering this model of acquisition and retention. Through our Pay N Play product, we have helped operators switch the focus to player experience by offering a simplified registration and deposit process and improving the speed that winnings reach the player’s bank account.
I think increasingly we will see payment, game and affiliate suppliers working closely with the operator to enhance the player experience rather than simply offering them a bonus to play more. The operators with the best player experience and strongest brand recognition (based on values players respect) will come out on top. This is what we have started to see in the Swedish market since regulation.
SBC: Part of the research summary was that operators are worried about losing revenues when in fact instant withdrawals represent a revenue growth opportunity; was dispelling these concerns one of your biggest commercial challenges?
NT: Yes! I have had conversations with some of the largest sports betting brands that indicate a very significant proportion of their revenue comes from cancelled withdrawals.
It requires a big change in mindset to adopt a new approach, especially when some stakeholders within the business are worried about the impact on the balance sheet.
However, once one operator in a market offers instant withdrawals (and it embraces the revenue growth opportunity), others soon follow as players begin to expect the functionality as a hygiene factor when considering which brands they play with.
SBC: What were the surprise findings from the research?
NT: Contrary to the belief of some of the more traditional operators, we have found that players increasingly prioritise the speed and access to winnings as a key driver of loyalty towards a brand. This is especially prevalent among VIP players. Out of the 1,700 players across nine countries that we interviewed during the research, we found that 94% want instant access to their winnings.
Given the high cost of acquiring new players, it is more important than ever to keep active players happy by catering to their needs over the long term, such as instant withdrawals. Interestingly, 80% of players said they would gamble more if they were offered instant withdrawals by the operator.
Another interesting find was that more people remember their bank login details versus their card details. Now that the ease of logging in and authenticating a bank payment is improving dramatically, supported by PSD2 and Open Banking, there is a genuine opportunity for direct bank payments to become the method of choice in markets where card schemes have previously dominated.
This provides a platform for innovation around player registration, ID verification, source of funds and responsible gaming checks in markets like the UK.
SBC: Finally, your Pay N Play product has quickly become an ‘industry standard’ in Sweden; in which other countries are you seeing the biggest pick-up?
NT: We have seen fantastic growth in Finland and Estonia throughout 2019 and we are also seeing rapid adoption in Germany and recently the Netherlands. We expect the first brands to go live in Denmark by the end of the year and are hoping the product has a disruptive impact on this market, which has traditionally been card-focused.