Totally Gaming interview CEO, Michael Brady on his thoughts on the online bingo sector, where he urges the industry to adapt.
While the online bingo sector is at something of a crossroads, there are some interesting new developments on the horizon.
Totally Gaming: How would you assess the state of the online bingo sector in 2017?
Michael Brady: I think it’s at a bit of a crossroads. The days of doing what has always been done are over, and those that stand still will continue to lose market share. There are obviously regulatory and taxation headwinds which we need to battle, but there are some good things happening and some promising developments on the horizon.
There is plenty of potential for growth not only in the world of bingo and slots, but in adjacent sectors like lottery, which has been a missed opportunity to date.
TG: What were some of the key issues that arose during your panel at the Online Bingo & Slots summit?
MB: I think one of the main takeaways was the pressing need for choice. Choice for players and choice for operators in order that they can provide it. So much of what has gone before has been ‘one size fits all’, rigid and inflexible. But players aren’t all the same and the technology that serves them has to be adaptable to their different requirements.
It’s something that the industry is really starting to think about: the power to differentiate is so important now and having access to platforms – like Bede’s Hub and Play – that give that control back to operators is an essential part of any digital offering and will be even more so in the future.
TG: What are the main challenges currently facing the online bingo sector, and how is Bede Gaming working to overcome those hurdles?
MB: I think regulation is biting and will continue to bite for some time to come. Advertising and the way that is changing is also a challenge for everyone involved on the player-facing side, with knock-on effects for suppliers like us as well. These are things that need to be met head on, with innovative solutions being found to protect not only the vulnerable, but the viability of the industry too.
There have also been big changes in player attitudes and demands in recent times. That is bringing about new market realities, including the need for better player data acquisition and the better implementation of that data. This, in particular, is where operators with cumbersome, outmoded legacy technology are struggling.
TG: What would you say to those operators who still believe online and land-based bingo are rival – and not complementary – sectors?
MB: It’s probably not for me to tell them anything, as their customers will do the talking for me. In fairness, there aren’t that many around who still have these very defined sectors, but those that do are missing out on a whole lot of opportunities. Those that have got an omni-channel solution can still do an awful lot more.
The challenge for all of us is to harness the technology available to drive innovation and find better ways to leverage some of the great brands we have in this industry.
TG: More generally, was the Online Bingo & Slots Summit a successful event?
MB: Yes, I thought so. There was a good mix of people there from both within the sector and external to it, which always brings about lively debates. It’s always good to get different perspectives on the same issues and challenges. I think there’s a recognition that with the right mindset, technology, and desire to innovate, we can all move forward and provide a far more satisfying user experience for the players.
Bede has strengthened its casino offering by striking a deal with live dealer provider Ezugi.
Under the agreement, Ezugi’s full suite of live casino games including blackjack, roulette and baccarat, have all been integrated onto Bede’s content platform, PLAY.
Through Ezugi’s products and services, Bede’s clients will be able to provide their players with the same excitement, trust, and sophistication found in the real casino gaming experience.
Michael Brady, CEO of Bede Gaming, said: “The live casino market is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry and as such is highly important that we offer our partners a wide-selection of live dealer games to choose from.
“Partnering with Ezugi, one of the industry’s premier providers, will ensure we meet our client’s expectations. We’re thrilled to be working alongside them and to share their full portfolio of innovative games.”
Sagi Ifrach, Commercial Director of Ezugi, added: “We’ve been admirers of Bede Gaming for some time now and it’s great to be working alongside such a high-performing gaming platform.
“Partnering with Bede was a no brainer for us and following a straightforward integration, our games are now available to their customers via Bede PLAY. Enhancing our partners’ offerings is what we strive for and this will clearly bring fantastic opportunities for both Ezugi and Bede.”
Bede PLAY offers a completely flexible gaming solution, combining the top content in the industry with first class marketing tools and robust security measures, and it is quickly establishing itself as the first-choice option for innovative operators globally.
Red Tiger Gaming announces today that its suite of market-leading slots games are now live on brands operated by Intellectual Property and Software (IPS).
IPS, which is powered by Bede Gaming’s platform, operates casino and bingo brands in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, including Pink Casino, 21.co.uk, Health Bingo, Bingo.ie, Svenska Casino and Rosa Casino.
The deal means players will now have access to top-performing titles such as Dragon’s Luck, Arcade Bomb and Lucky Wizard, with the supplier’s innovative jackpots to be added in the coming weeks.
The integration includes Red Tiger’s ground-breaking Smart Spins promotional tools, which offer a uniquely flexible suite of bonusing and cross-sell functionality delivered via an in-game dialogue module.
It follows hot on the heels of several new high-profile Red Tiger partnerships with GVC, PokerStars, iGaming Cloud, Betsson and the recently announced supply deal with Rank Group.
Red Tiger’s Managing Director, Gavin Hamilton, said: “This is yet another great deal for Red Tiger Gaming, putting our award-winning slots games in front of new players in the UK, Ireland and Sweden.
“Our games take player engagement and fun to the next level, as demonstrated by their outstanding KPIs. We believe they will be a great addition to the IPS brands, and will be a big hit with their players.”
Michael Brady, CEO of Bede Gaming, added, “We are always seeking top quality games providers to strengthen our products and give our clients, like IPS even greater choice, so integrating Red Tiger was a no-brainer for us. They are a fantastic addition to our list of premium partners.”
Ian Erskine, MD, IPS, said, “Integrating Red Tiger’s award-winning slots was a straightforward decision for us. We always look to bolster our portfolio to give our players an even better playing experience and Red Tiger Gaming is the perfect partner for this. We are particularly excited about adding the Red Tiger jackpots, proven in the industry to drive player engagement and increase lifetime value.”
Red Tiger Gaming has rapidly become well-known in the industry for its quality games and innovative bonus tools that drive incremental revenue, and recently took home the trophy for Innovation in Slots Provision at this year’s EGR B2B Awards.
Just over two years old, the company is now at full pace with its European roll out.
CEO, Michael Brady, is quizzed by SBC News on forming one of the fastest growing tech companies in the UK and how out of the box thinking is fuelling the company’s rapid rise in the gaming industry.
Having formed one of the fastest growing technology companies within the betting and gaming sector, Michael Brady, CEO, of Bede Gaming tells SBC how his firm’s growth has been driven by thinking outside the box and working on new industry dynamics with its growing portfolio of clients
SBC: Hi Michael, Bede Gaming is one of the newer industry platform providers. How and why has your team gained noticeable and significant industry partnerships in a short space of time?
Michael Brady: Primarily because we have taken a far more flexible and open approach to platform provision, particularly when compared to legacy providers. Bede was born out of our own frustrations with other providers not being flexible or fast enough to fit with companies’ digital objectives. We identified an opportunity to offer a platform in partnership with operators, rather than simply rolling out a one-size-fits-all solution to everyone. This means sharing APIs with operators and allowing them to personalise and differentiate their offering to players. We aren’t restricting clients to only follow our path, they can follow their own direction and Bede’s APIs mean integration is lightning fast. We integrated the Kambi Sportsbook in 10 weeks for Rank, for instance. Through a single integration, operators can get access to nearly 2000 games across multiple providers. The result is a platform that gives operators the control to react swiftly to the challenges of the industry, whether they be adapting to new legislation or entering emerging markets.
SBC: How does the development and planning of your operations and services differ from industry legacy platform providers?
MB: I would say there is a fundamental difference in the way we develop. We are far more collaborative than legacy providers, many of which have achieved scale to an extent where they have lost touch with what operators want. We heard many operators telling us that they’d love to leave their legacy provider, but there was no viable alternative. Bede proves there is another way; we plan our offering around the demands of our clients, so that means building strong relationships. We’ve done exactly that with the likes of Rank Group, and it has been mutually beneficial for both sides. Feedback on our platform allows us to improve immeasurably and because we build on a single code base, all operators benefit from all updates. This open approach results in a scalable model rather than the silos created by some legacy providers.
SBC: As an industry tech stakeholder, Bede is unique in offering three integrated services (platform, white-label and games content), how do you maintain an effective balance between each provision?
MB: Increasingly, operators are looking for ways to bring these different components together without sacrificing quality, and that is at the heart of what we do at Bede. Having a truly open platform, like ours, allows customers to choose the suppliers they want to work with, as well as knowing they have access to the best-in-class providers already integrated with Bede. The three different services we offer gives operators the flexibility to pick the option that is right for them. As integration is such a straightforward procedure, we are able to build relationships across the board with suppliers and content providers, and in many cases offer a greater depth of integration than an operator could achieve if they went the direct route.
SBC: Your team has placed a significant emphasis on client security and data protection? Why is this a core dynamic for your firm’s development and strategy?
MB: Security is a critical issue for operators today, and this will only increase when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes law in May 2018. The GDPR places a greater level of accountability on data processors on issues such as information security breaches. It means that if an operator is not completely confident in the security of its data, it is playing a potentially catastrophic game. This was the motivation behind Bede applying for and achieving ISO 27001 certification, which verifies our platform to the highest security standards in the industry. Only a handful of providers have the certification, so it places us much higher than our competitors in that it marks us out as taking the right measures to protect our partners. With Bede, they are in safe hands.
SBC: Looking ahead what new services and provisions does Bede want to bring to market in the coming months, what should industry stakeholders keep an eye out for?
MB: We are always developing our core platform and also expanding our content aggregation service, Bede PLAY, with additional titles from the best games developers around the world. Operators are looking for this combination of flexible platform and world-class content provision to compete in the fast-changing gaming landscape of today. Bede PLAY brings together the best land-based and digital content and provides operators with Bede’s powerful marketing tools, all from a single integration. Legacy platforms simply don’t offer the level of control and speed to market operators are after but we are showing there is another way. It will only be those who can adapt to the challenges of newly-regulating markets that will succeed.
The right platform can provide a strategic and competitive advantage for those operators brave enough to modernise.
We are seeing a new breed of agile platform provider challenge gaming’s legacy suppliers and offer a range of solutions that hand power back to operators.
In recent years, several young and agile operators, particularly on the mobile channel, have successfully grabbed market share from more established rivals by tearing up the rulebook and offering a product that reacts to their customers.
Invariably, these products have sat on modern platforms rather than the bloated, industry-standard technology that tends to stunt innovation, personalisation and creativity.
Today’s modern platforms offer all the upsides of more established technology, but with greater agility and choice, and those who have made the switch are already reaping the rewards.
Content is king
We are increasingly seeing operators demanding a platform that can offer a broad choice of content without having to compromise on which suppliers operators can integrate. This is of important to those operators offering an omni-channel proposition which requires matching major land-based content with its online equivalent.
Traditionally, the choice facing operators was to either endure the lengthy process of direct integrations with different suppliers or compromise with a pre-packaged content aggregator that was missing many of the biggest names.
These are no longer the only options. Not only are some operators now using multiple platforms to broaden their offer to consumers, but modern content platforms, such as BedePLAY, can offer a range of content from major suppliers which was not previously available in one place.
Additionally, the right platform can also allow for integrations that can even go deeper than if an operator directly integrates with the content supplier. This might include additional personalisation and functionality that taps into the underlying infrastructure, and the ability to fine tune the player experience or enable more intelligent marketing.
Operators no longer subscribe to the notion that a standardised turnkey offering will suffice; instead they demand a one stop shop that offers best-in-class products and content across the verticals, while still allowing for localisation and customisation.
Security is another critical issue when it comes to customer data. Operators are now demanding peace of mind via the highest possible levels of security, and they understand that an information security breach would have a catastrophic impact.
This is even more vital when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters law in May 2018. The GDPR places a greater level of accountability on data processors on issues such as information security breaches, and operators are looking at their platform providers to ensure compliance.
It was with this in mind that Bede recently completed ISO 27001 certification, which is the international standard for information security and is only awarded following a comprehensive audit. Bede is one of just a handful of suppliers to have gained the certification, but we believe it will soon become a central demand of all operators.
The meaning of agility
Combining security, compliance, content and functionality within a single, flexible platform remains the primary challenge for all suppliers, and it is at the heart of everything we do.
While our industry has talked at length about the importance of an agile platform, it is less common to see precise use-cases outlined for exactly how such a platform enables operators to move faster than their competitors and achieve a tangible edge that is felt on the bottom line.
One such example is in emerging and newly-regulating markets, where operators must move quickly to personalise their offering in a manner which remains compliant with local legislation.
Speed is of the essence in these newly-regulated markets; operators who want to make an impact need to be thinking of integrations in terms of weeks rather than months. Otherwise, marketing costs soon spiral as incumbents secure their position.
A second example is adapting to new regulation in an existing market. We will likely see operators facing such a challenge in the UK in 2018, with a potential ban on daytime advertising and new taxes on free spins both on the cards.
Such changes completely transform the way operators need to market their proposition to customers, with the bingo vertical set to be particularly hard hit.
Operators are now demanding a platform provider they can work closely alongside with, to identify, develop and implement effective strategies to mitigate the full effects of the changes.
This could include all manner of new and innovative approaches to bonusing and broader marketing, be those new promotional mechanics or even new gaming products. The only thing that is certain is that those who are stuck on immobile, legacy platforms will not be able to alter their offering quickly enough to capitalise on the opportunity.
Buy or build
Operators are now clear on what it is they need to succeed in the modern gaming environment. The question most face is whether the best way to achieve this is by buying or building the technology themselves.
The arguments against engaging a third-party supplier have weakened considerably in recent years. Provided platforms are no longer one-size-fits-all propositions, and the best are flexible enough to hand true control to the operator anyway.
While switching from a legacy platform is undoubtedly a risky undertaking, we have seen some major players in our industry come unstuck while trying to build new components in-house that paper over the cracks of their existing technology.
And as we are already seeing, those who think the safest option is to do nothing are quickly finding that they can no longer hold ground against more agile competitors.
Bede CEO Michael Brady moderated a lively panel looking at innovation in bingo and slots featuring Gary Keaney, Director of Bingo Products at Playtech, Helen Walton, CCO and co-founder at Gamevy, and Simon Collins, founder of Gaming Realms.
The panel debated the key challenges and opportunities for the sector, with a focus on creating more engaging content, differentiating titles and gaining a better understanding of player preferences.
Michael Brady, CEO of Bede Gaming, said: “It was a pleasure to moderate a panel featuring three of the most experienced and innovative minds in the bingo and slots sector.
“Bingo is at something of a crossroads, with changes in regulation, advertising and customer attitudes forcing us to adapt to new market realities.
“Accordingly, it is critical we search for solutions to these challenges by driving innovation and finding new ways to better leverage brands and technology.
“Bede has focused a great deal of resource and energy over the past few years in building a market-leading proposition that gives flexibility and choice to operators to give them the power to create and differentiate, but we are certainly not resting on our laurels.
“There is a lot of growth in bingo and slots to come, particularly in the highly-regulated lottery sector, so we need to be ready to adapt to capitalise on these new opportunities.”
To listen to the panel in full, please visit: https://bingoconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/8-Game-Innovation-in-Slots-and-Bingo.mp3
We are delighted to announce that we have been granted ISO 27001 certification by the International Standards Organisation (ISO), in recognition of our continued offering of the most secure platform provision available to operators in regulated markets globally.
ISO 27001 is the international standard for information security, awarded by the ISO after a comprehensive and complete audit. With operators demanding the highest standards of security, Bede undertook the rigorous certification process to display its absolute commitment to best practice and placing security at the heart of the business.
It’s not just operators who are demanding better security, today’s players, who are well aware of the potential of data breaches, are also joining the call. We take this request very seriously and wanted to ensure piece of mind when it comes to the use of our software.
Gaining the certification proves that Bede meets the ISO’s strict requirements when dealing with information security and as one of the only gaming platform providers to be awarded such certification, it confirms our security status is of the highest order.
The independently assessed certification carried out by certification company, eCOGRA, further demonstrates that we are prepared for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming law in May 2018, which places a greater level of accountability on data processors on issues such as information security breaches.
On our mission to become the industry’s first choice gaming platform, we want to lead the field when it comes to protecting players’ data. This certification shows that our gaming software stands up to the highest level of scrutiny, providing a credible, secure and trustworthy alternative to the market.
If you want to talk to us about our complete gaming platform and how it can transform your business, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0) 191 280 3730.
How to break free from the shackles of legacy technology
Ahead of this month’s EGR Breakfast Briefing, Michael Brady of Bede Gaming explains why established operators need to embrace new technologies if they are to hold on to their share of the market
Around this time of year, industry insiders like to predict what trends will emerge over the coming twelve months and how they will shape the sector.
Online gaming is still a very exciting sector to work in. It continues to generate double-digit growth despite increasing pressure from the economic landscape, increased regulation and higher taxes. We just hope that regulators work together, and with operators, to take a pragmatic approach to new regulations.
As we move into 2017 there is an emerging need for operators to make their businesses more efficient and scalable in order to absorb these costs, and to be capable of entering newly regulated markets as they open on a global basis. However, to do that operators need a modern, flexible platform or risk being left behind.
Modern technology and thinking, and specifically, how younger firms are embracing it and leveraging its power, is enabling them to accelerate past the more established operators. These previous start-ups have entered the market with a digital-first mind-set, with their platform at the core of their IT strategy.
By doing so, they have grown exponentially and rapidly, with the potential to change the established order.
Be bold and brave
The new year should bring about a new way of thinking for established operators. They need to be bold and brave, and break free from the shackles and limitations of their legacy technology.
They have the knowledge, experience and might to push the boundaries in ways that many smaller operators can only dream of, but at present many are simply resting on their laurels. Instead they must invest in technology and bang the drum of innovation, not just to remain ahead of the curve but to improve the player experience.
Taking an omni-channel approach is vital, but many have yet to crack the code when it comes to offering a seamless experience across retail, desktop and mobile.
Retail should be considered in the same way as digital channels; a single account, one universal wallet, one multi-channel loyalty programme and promotions should link seamlessly across land-based and online play. It is also key for operators to have a 360-degree view of the player, and to harvest information regardless of what platform they are using to access their sites and products.
A numbers game
Big data has been a big topic over the past two to three years, with the conversation set to continue long into 2017. Operators understand they need granular level customer data, but struggle to get access to it, to transform it into usable insight, or put it at the centre of their customer communication and management.
That is why it is important to choose the right technology platform, ideally one that uses real-time data and messaging to target players with the right offer at the right time, automatically.
When it comes to the platform we recommend using a single code base and modern architecture to enable scalability. Here at Bede, we give our operator partners even greater control by allowing them access to open APIs for all platform functionality and tooling.
The next level
Technology has always been a driving force behind industry growth, but following recent M&A activity, many continue to rely on their legacy platforms to keep things running smoothly under the hood.
With huge integration processes and procedures to manage and oversee, it is only natural that the day-to-day running of the business takes a back seat. But 2017 should be all about operators and suppliers getting their heads down, and driving our industry forward.
Smaller firms are already taking advantage, dialling in on new technologies and leveraging their vastly superior capabilities to make strides.
Some of the established firms certainly have some catching up to do, but choosing the right platform and infrastructure will go a long way to fending off the competition and cementing their position in the top tier.
If they don’t, 2017 could see in the introduction of a new world order in the gaming industry, one where smaller, more nimble operators lead the charge.
Click here to find out more information about EGR’s Breakfast Briefing in association with Bede Gaming on 19 January
Judges chose Bede Gaming’s bingo solution on the basis of its substantial growth over the past 12 months, its flexibility that allows clients to provide a differentiated solution in a crowded bingo market and for the regular product refreshes on a fortnightly release cycle which keeps the Bede bingo product fresh for its many customers.
Sarah Hitchcock, Bede’s head of product, said: “We are delighted the judges recognised the strength of the Bede bingo product and the huge advances we have made over the past year. It is a credit to our entire team and we are very grateful for the recognition in what is undoubtedly the online gambling industry’s most important awards.”
Other shortlisted suppliers included Playtech, Dragonfish, Microgaming, NYX and Relax Gaming.
Bede Gaming also won the 2014 EGaming Review Bingo Supplier of the Year Award.