This week is an important week in the iGaming calendar. It is Responsible Gambling week, during which the whole industry makes a huge push to promote responsible gambling practices and to remind players that when the fun stops, stop.
As a software supplier to the sector, other than to ensure we provide RG tools for our operators and keep them compliant, technically we don’t need to do as much as the operators themselves for their customers, right? Absolutely wrong.
At Bede, we are acutely aware of the huge responsibility, influence and control we have over protecting gamblers and are absolutely committed to working with our clients to find better ways of keeping our customer’s customers safe.
This year, we announced our new vision to become the “Safest Place to Play”. This was a strategic and passionate decision that has been embraced by all Bede staff. We know that we are not fully there yet but are fully committed to the cause. We set ourselves extremely high standards and understand that despite having some of the strongest RG tools in the market, there is still a lot more that can be done and that we can do both internally and externally to promote, invent and support better responsible gambling practices.
RG Week is, in its essence, about reaching out to players and making them aware of the risks but in house, at Bede, we also recognise the need to look after our staff and engage them with RG as much as possible.
It has taken a few years to come to this realisation. Since our inception six and half years ago, our main focus for staff has always been to look after our people and to give them a great environment within which to work. Generally this has been healthy snacks, free lunches, the latest coffee machine and Friday beers – but as the company has grown and we’ve matured, it became very apparent that it wasn’t just about the freebies and little extras. We also have a duty of care to our staff in terms of both mental and physical health.
Our staff is in the highest risk category for problem gamblers. Not only because of their demographic (males aged 18 – 35, which make up 74% of our workforce) but also because they work in the industry and with so much exposure to gambling practices it can normalise the gambling experience, making it harder to spot problem behaviour. Statistically, someone in our team will have a gambling problem (3-5 gamblers out of every 100 will struggle with some sort of problem gambling or risky behaviour; we employ over 170 people). Staff may not realise that they too are vulnerable. So this year, Bede is getting into action, kick starting our own internal campaign and dealing with it head on.
In line with Bede’s vision of becoming ‘The Safest Place to Play’, we want to engage everyone from QA to finance with active thinking on how we can build the best tools to help players stay safe online. And we aren’t only passionate about the players, we are also passionate about the well being of our staff, so we’re starting the conversation about how to make Bede the safest place to work.
Across the week, our dedicated RG team will be posting all sorts of messages about responsible gambling; educating and raising awareness amongst our staff to not only be mindful of their risk but to also put RG front of mind when creating our amazing business too. We are running a couple of internal competitions to increase engagement, will be making a few announcements and have a brilliant young man coming in to talk about his first hand experience with problem gambling.
These are the beginning steps on this very important journey for Bede, with many more to come. In the same way we transform our clients’ online offerings, we are looking to transform the way the industry is perceived, to put the player first and to ensure that gambling is fun and safe for everyone. Watch this space.
We’re here to help. Let’s talk about Responsible Gambling.
Tech Talent is an annual event hosted by Sunderland Software City, to attract some of the NE’s undiscovered tech talent. Last Thursday, 25th May, we exhibited at Newcastle’s Crowne Plaza to talk with local talent and to ensure they know who we are and what we’re about.
The North East is a pretty great region for tech, so we were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tombola, Scott Logic, Leighton and Opencast. It was great to see what other companies have on offer, chat about their efforts in the region and share knowledge in the tech community.
We spoke to a real mix of potential candidates, from students through to industry professionals and those who wanted a complete career change. Our goody bags and drone footage certainly drew in the masses and we spoke with some really promising talent who will hopefully be applying for some of our current vacancies. It was also inspiring to see what other companies in the region are doing to attract and retain talent, boost employee engagement and how we’re all working to get the North East firmly on the map as leaders in tech.
What did we learn?
Education around tech subjects is increasing rapidly within the region, and there are lots of exciting ways we can grasp and help to cultivate this. The prospect of degree apprenticeships is really exciting, especially as tech is becoming a lot more specific within companies – it’s a such a good way to grow talent within our company and nurture a fantastic workforce. Our Summer Placement Initiative is a great example of supporting development and growth within a thriving business.
We also learned that we’ve got it pretty good here at Bede, many of the exhibitors and candidates were inspired by our work environment, ethics and culture …we may have even had a few converts from some employer competitors!
Joe Saumarez Smith, chairman of Bede Gaming, was a guest and roundtable chair at EGaming Review’s Power 50 conference in Marbella, Spain. He reviews the two day conference.
The Power 50 is one of my favourite online gaming conferences and not just because it is held in sunny Spain. The relatively small number of attendees and the fact most are the major decision makers within their companies is a big plus. It also means that in discussions people are more willing to share their experiences and admit what is going badly for them, as well as what is going superbly.
Unsurprisingly, the two main themes of this year’s Power 50 were what is happening to online gaming regulation and the potential opening up of the US market.
Regulation and in particular the need to ensure that Responsible Gambling measures are put in place by all operators was a particular theme across almost every panel and roundtable. The recent UK Gambling Commission fines were widely discussed and there was a general surprise that no operator had yet lost their licence. Over a couple of drinks later in the evening I heard that there is a £10 million plus fine for a household name in the offing, which will certainly cause some big problems for the overall industry.
The imminent announcements around PASPA – which at the time of the conference had not been announced but of course is now the main topic of all conversations – was something that was widely discussed. While most operators were excited about the prospect – especially those who already had businesses operating in New Jersey or Nevada – there was also a feeling that if PASPA was repealed that it wouldn’t be as simple to make money in the US as many commentators would be expecting. Some of the more experienced (or should I say cynical or realistic?) operators were concerned about the potential high levels of protectionism against European operators coming into the market but their greatest concern was the likely level of taxation. Most states seem to be expecting an enormous payday from sports betting and have very little idea about what the correct level of tax should be to allow for a competitive product. Talk was of multi million dollar licence fees, $20 million security bonds and tax rates similar to land-based casinos (mid 30% and upwards) which would make sports betting economically unviable. Add in the sports leagues’ desires for an integrity fee and it starts to get hard to see how anyone is either going to have a decent product or make any money.
I chaired two sessions of roundtable discussions about how the online gambling industry could improve its public image. Surprisingly they were two very different sessions. The first group agreed that the industry has a massive problem with society’s general perception of online gambling (and gambling altogether) while the second was more bullish, saying that the industry was going through a bad patch but that society needs to accept that gambling is a legal activity that pays high taxes and that it is better that it exists in full view rather than as a black market. There was a bit more of nuance to the arguments than that but the opinions did strike me as being quite different, depending on the individuals in the room. It would be pushing it to say that we agreed on a way to radically improve the industry’s public image but there was a feeling that in the UK in particular there is not a single person to whom the media can come to who represents the industry in a credible way. That person could acknowledge that gambling is a ‘sin’ industry but that it is better that it is taxed and highly regulated and that for a large percentage of customers gambling is a fun pastime which does not negatively impact them. However for the small number of people who have problem gambling then the industry should be showing that we support addiction programmes and that we do everything we can to stop them from developing those problems further and to stop gambling. How the industry finds and funds that person was not something we tackled in the hour long sessions but there did seem to be an acknowledgement that it would help a lot to have that person in place to represent the industry.
As ever, the Power 50 was brilliantly organised and I regret that I was not able to represent Bede Gaming better in the Annual Online Gambling Hill Climb Cycling Challenge over a 11km course, where I could only manage second place, 12 seconds behind David Shapton of Akur Capital.
Rank’s migration to Bede over 2 years ago has been a well documented affair. Watched closely by the industry, it is no secret that it has been a hugely successful partnership with significant digital revenue gains enjoyed by the operator, across its brands. And while we are very proud of these achievements, there is a lot more to Bede than just one of our favourite clients!
Now that ICE is over and the year is getting into full swing, we took the opportunity to reflect on last year and what we’ve done to ready our business for a bumper 2018.
With two EGR Power 50 clients, buzzing interest and a huge USP in the modernity of the Bede platform, our absolute main and paramount focus is on our tech. It is the developing, building and securing of new ways and solutions for our clients to create outstanding experiences for their players that drives us. We want to support them in smashing their digital targets and ambitions.
So what have we done?
What is our motivation for 2018?
How are we going about achieving our mission of becoming the first choice gaming platform in regulated markets?
Last year, we concentrated on 4 areas with the aim of streamlining processes and improving environments for the business and our customers, so all stakeholders would benefit from better operational efficiency and smoother workflows. We also took into consideration what we thought would be the hot topics for 2018 and focused on developing a platform ready for the future.
Those four areas are Scalability, Delivery, Partnership and Compliance.
Continuing to find ambitious digital solutions for our high profile clients and becoming Sun International Group’s preferred technology partner, makes it impossible to sit still, particularly where our technical team is concerned.
Tech companies can face unnecessary roadblocks by accidentally creating silos of knowledge by having specific teams for specific jobs. All that does is ring fence information rather than empower solutions.
In light of this, Bede made the decision to restructure staff into Feature Teams to create cross product knowledge and encourage a “hive” mind. This means no disruption in the face of sickness, holidays, movement and actively encourages innovation and flexibility across the board, providing an army of adaptable engineers.
Understanding that management of change is just as important to ensure process efficiency and stickiness, we introduced a Timebox methodology. Timebox takes an holistic view of a project and employs an agile approach as opposed to a linear schedule, thus identifying the most important part of the project at the beginning – is it the deadline? Is it a feature? What part is non-negotiable and is it possible to deliver all requirements, on time and on budget? If not, what can be pushed from the sprint, to make sure it happens?
These important activities, to be identified at the beginning of a project by our rapidly growing solutions team and upheld throughout its lifestyle, are vital to managing expectations and delivering projects on time and on scope.
It’s the 21st Century way of making sure tech processes flow, making it a perfect fit for Bede values and providing our operators with a swift and accurate route to Go-Live.
So it’s all very well restructuring teams and introducing processes to manage transition but how effective is it? What impact has it had on project delivery?
Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. Not only as a business – billing and timesheets have nowhere to hide – but it also means that clients see more projects and more features delivered.
We delivered 41 projects in 2017, with those missing the deadline averaging being over by just 1 sprint (2 weeks). Over 3000 games now run on our platform and we delivered 6 supplier integrations in 2017 – that is an average of 8 weeks set up time, the fastest in the industry.
We spent a whopping 44% of our time on self-investment and developing our own platform, the results of which, all our customers are free to use and enjoy. This is a really important statistic, it means that as well as performing bespoke projects at the request of our clients, we are fully committed to ensuring our platform is the best it can be for our operators, for marketing, operations and compliance.
Highlights of features and projects that can now be used cross-clients:
Player Summary in PAM (Player Account Management)
Games Management System
Fairness to Customer
Single Customer Journeys
One of the fantastic initiatives to come out of 2017 was our Bede Feedback Forums, given the maddeningly catchy moniker BFFs. The BFFs are conducted quarterly by our product team, who visit every customer office to carry out platform workshops.
These forums are so valuable to both parties as we receive real feedback on our products and develop a genuine knowledge of our customers’ needs and requirements. It means our clients gain instant confirmation that their requests have been heard and receive first hand demonstrations of new features and how to use them in conjunction with their marketing strategies.
The workshops also generate common themes, as well as customer specific requirements, which are fed into the product roadmap, giving operators direct access and influence to developing a platform that is essential to their digital offering.
Putting partnerships at the heart of Bede is a vital part of our strategy. Our customers are active members of Bede, not passive recipients of a product; we’re all working together for a shared roadmap.
2018 is the year of responsible gaming and we’re bringing together industry leading operators to drive excellence in platform level compliance. We’re taking it above and beyond minimum regulatory requirements to provide our customers with the most robust and fair gaming platform in the market.
We’ve already made several changes to features, which go further than is needed to keep operators ahead of the curve and we are introducing more improvements to the roadmap for 2018.
Get excited for requirements to come
In depth view of player summary and applying more security and scrutiny to accounts for enhanced player protection are all on the agenda.
GAMstop, UKGC RTS, GDPR and CMA requirements will all be part of the platform as standard facilitating processes for operators to maximise experiences for players in a safe and secure way.
Sarah Hitchcock, Product Director at Bede, comments, “In 2017 we prioritised shifting the way we work to focus on strategic demand and preparing ourselves to scale in various ways. We now have three high performing, world class products to take to market in omni, PLAY and platform and are committed to becoming the first choice platform in every way.
“I’m excited for 2018, as we look to lead the way in compliance and regulation, going above and beyond what is required. We’re not sitting still, we’re building up to set the new standard in game playing platform. 2017 was a big year for Bede but 2018 will be bigger and better. it’s a great time to be a part of it.”
First seen in iGaming Times: https://www.igamingtimes.com/2018/01/08/bede-gaming-south-africa-sun/
Ross Haselhurst, commercial director at UK-based Bede Gaming explains the why and wherefores of expanding into South Africa with casino giant Sun International.
iGAMING TIMES: Much of the sports betting industry has turned its attention to opportunities in Africa this year. Why has Bede felt now is the right time?
ROSS HASELHURST: Most of the growth across Africa has been in the sports vertical with casino thus far lagging behind. Bede has focused on securing an extremely well-placed partner in Sun International, which should smooth our entry into the market. We had been in discussions with Sun International on a number of opportunities since late 2015, so we’ve had our eye on Africa for some time. I suppose you could say we’re ahead of the curve on that one, and the opportunities are no less compelling going into 2018 and beyond.
iGT: Why have you chosen Sun International as your partner in the move?
RH: We really couldn’t have asked for a better partner, they just tick all the boxes for Bede in that respect. They dominate the African market, especially in South Africa where the opportunity in sports is considerable, and we are optimistic that other product verticals will regulate in the coming years. Sun have the perfect footprint across the continent and Bede have the ideal product set to support their ambitions. Furthermore, Sun’s position in Latin America creates huge potential and opens opportunity further afield too.
iGT: What makes the South African market distinctive, in terms of the challenges and opportunities it presents to sports betting operators?
RH: As with entering any market for the first time, the regulatory landscape always provides its challenges, but Bede are well positioned and well-practiced in meeting regulatory requirements in many jurisdictions. Looking specifically in South Africa, one of the most notable challenges is around the requisite certification processes for the regulator at each release cycle, where Bede have set the bar on our short release cycles. However, for the South African market we have had to make provisions for a much slower release pace, so as to allow for certification to run its course. It’s not too often that we’re asked to slow down delivering new features, but we’ve been able to accommodate the requirement while still delivering into our other markets at the same high release cadence our customers have come to expect.
iGT: How does Bede’s technology suit or solve these particulars?
RH: First and foremost, we are truly an open and modular platform, we’re absolutely supplier agnostic. Not being tied to a particular provider for compliance or a particular service or feature, such as payments, or wedded to a particular CRM, gives our customers an incredible amount of flexibility to differentiate in their chosen market. We also offer, a plethora of existing integrations, as we have, for example, with Kambi Sportsbook, which also gives our customers a more ‘out-of-the-box’ experience should they need one. The key ultimately is choice. Our architecture sets us and our customers up well for the scenarios mentioned, and with real-time data at our core, we’re able to meet and often exceed the needs of even the most demanding regulation.
iGT: People often say that South Africa’s more developed infrastructure makes it a good place to test the waters before moving into other African markets. How true is this for you?
RH: Our platform sits entirely in the cloud and is built upon Microsoft’s Azure, so straight away we remove any headaches that come with traditional on-premise deployments and having to source new infrastructure and such. Being able to rely on Microsoft’s global data centre presence means this is seldom a concern for us.
Looking forward we see Latin America as a huge opportunity for us, Colombia especially, but we are also keeping an eye on North America.
Head of Partnerships, Mark Rehorst-Smith, gives his take on this year’s SiGMA.
SiGMA, “Summit of iGaming Malta”, now in its third year, was bigger this year than ever before, with the show being a focal point for the flourishing iGaming business out there. It was great for Bede to attend and catch up with a number of our existing suppliers, along with exploring some new opportunities both B2B and B2C.
The variety of products available on the content side was encouraging, with a mix of both innovation on existing verticals and also the evolution of streaming content. It’s proving to be a good place to see developments in gaming content and to keep in touch with suppliers at the forefront of the industry.
This conference is definitely one, where we’ll be looking to put in a regular appearance. 2018 will see us pushing Bede PLAY – our content aggregator platform, which offers operators industry-leading marketing tools with which to achieve their digital ambitions, rapidly – and as we continually grow the quality of our content, both in terms of suppliers and innovation, it’s important that we’re making the right partnerships and SiGMA is a fantastic platform to do that.
So we’ll see you in Malta next year for sure, but in the meantime, feel free to contact us to talk content, products and partnerships. We’ll definitely be able to help.
For those in the gambling industry who only want to work in regulated markets, Germany has been a frustrating country. There have been several regulatory false dawns and I shudder to think how much lawyers and consultants have made out of the shenanigans around the various on/off licensing sagas. Meanwhile operators like Star Games and Bwin have been making a fortune from German customers.
On the legal front it only gets messier. While it looked like the 16 Länder had finally agreed a workable interstate treaty on sports betting, which would have come into force on 1 January 2018, Schleswig-Holstein blocked it on the basis it does not incorporate legislation for casino and poker. They instead said they would prefer to reintroduce the legislation that saw them licence 23 online casino and 25 sportsbooks in 2012.
Meanwhile, the German tax authorities have written to all the big operators, reminding them to make sure they are paying VAT at 19% on their gross gaming revenues since 1 January 2015. According to my market sources, almost everyone has complied, which means that the vast majority of the German online gambling market is now effectively paying tax on their not entirely legal revenues. When the tax authorities of Frankfurt am Main III (online sports betting) and Berlin Neukölln (online casino) bank those payments, is that a tacit admission that the federal government is effectively giving permission for European operators to take money from German customers?
At the same time financial markets’ appetites for light grey revenues seems to be growing, with revenues from countries like Germany and Sweden only moderately discounted to fully regulated markets and even profits from places like Japan and Norway attracting decent multiples.
Speaking to chief executives of some big operators and software companies who have until now stayed out of Germany, it appears that their patience may finally be cracking. Earlier this month (Oct 3) Scientific Games took Germany off its banned list, although that perhaps was more a reflection of the fact that once they acquire NYX OpenBet it will have some fairly substantial revenues from what must now be Europe’s second largest online market. I am expecting several other big companies to open up Germany as an acceptable market over the next 12 months.
What are the consequences of this? For Germany’s tax authorities it should mean a decent payday. Likewise for their media companies, who also seem to be a lot happier about the risks of taking advertising from gambling companies.
But what will the politicians and legal authorities make of it? It feels like the gaming operators are hoping that Germany goes the same way as Sweden where, slowly but surely, a very light grey market becomes taxed and regulated. But this is by no means a certainty. A large number of the states are extremely conservative in their outlook and are particularly opposed to any increase in access to slots and table games. Sports is less of a problem, not least because thanks to the likes of Tipico, there are betting shops on most high streets and footballers, like Oliver Kahn, advertise sports betting on national television. Casino and poker are definitely not certainties to make it through the licensing process.
For the next couple of years, it doesn’t look likely there will be huge changes from the current situation. But as more operators enter the market, the push for a fully taxed and regulated market – by both operators who want to fully legitimise their revenues and by politicians who don’t like companies operating outside the law – can only become greater.
Written by Joe Saumarez-Smith, Chairman Bede Gaming, for EGR Intel. The original can be found on their site at http://egr.global/intel/opinion/playing-the-long-game-in-germany/.
This article is printed with permission from EGR.
Operators have long struggled with the question of whether it is best to buy or build their technology, but perhaps this is the wrong question to ask. There is an alternative.
How an operator accesses the best products and technology to deliver a great user experience has changed in recent years. Around six or seven years ago, the vast majority of operators opted to licence their technology from third party suppliers, recognising the need to outsource due to lack of internal expertise. However, as many operators selected the same technology partners, many ended up looking like clones of one another and lacked the ability to differentiate.
Providing tailored solutions for individual operators was neither cost-effective nor technically viable for many platform providers. Instead, they provided a one-size-fits-all option to each brand, placing the onus on them to ensure their marketing and not their product proposition was what made them stand out from the crowd.
With costs rising, some operators decided to take their technology in-house. These projects have produced somewhat mixed results to date. Some have seen success, but the majority of these have been private businesses who can commit significant budget and have focused on a particular vertical, like sports, for example.
In most cases, however, operators cannot make the sort of commitment required to construct a platform equivalent to that produced by a dedicated third party supplier. Operators have more pressing priorities and focus their expertise in other areas, on which their businesses rely.
At Bede, for instance, the last 6 years has been dedicated to building the most flexible solution in the industry. It’s hard to shortcut this, especially if you’re looking for a quality product as opposed to a quick fix.
However, this isn’t to say that operators shouldn’t look at building a platform as an option. Indeed, it is crucial that suppliers do not ignore the compelling reasons for operators to build their own technology, particularly in Europe’s mature markets where thin margins put additional, and sometimes heavy, pressure on internal efficiencies.
And this is where we’re saying there is an alternative route. One that allows operators to build their own functionality on top of a flexible and open platform. That delivers a differentiated proposition without sacrificing quality or refocusing critical business resource towards lengthy in-house projects.
It is vital that operators look at the technology that is now available and understand that they can use it to take back the control they’re looking for to deliver their own digital objectives.
Delivering a future-proof alternative to an existing legacy platform is perceived as a risk, particularly among major PLCs whose board and shareholders are under a lot of pressure to maintain growth. In this case, it’s almost always easier to go for the safe choice but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right choice.
And with aggressive challenger brands making their presence felt, operators that prevaricate could find themselves at risk of losing market share.
This alternative approach allows operators to license a high functioning platform and also have the power to build upon it, making the technology act as the enabler to differentiation, choice and control.
All this is to say that the divide is no longer as black and white as it was those six or seven years ago.The technology is now available, and accessible, for future-proof alternatives to the static legacy platform options.
Some Tier 1 operators have taken the plunge and immediately reaped the benefits. It’s no secret that the likes of the Rank Group, who switched to Bede in 2016, has seen digital revenues soar since.
This example shows the importance of ensuring that technology does not act as a roadblock for delivering a stronger product and experience to customers. With an open, agile and proven platform upon which operators can build, they are free to focus on what they are good at.
So, if you are struggling with the buy or build conundrum, it might be worth considering that you really can have your cake and eat it. To create a truly differentiated unique offering, the question should not be not whether to buy OR build but where you can buy AND build.
Bede Gaming, the award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry, is continuing to build on its partnership-led approach by holding a client and key supplier day.
Bede Gaming is building an alternative route for operators, that gives them the flexibility to build their own differentiated offering on top of an established and high performing platform. This approach has been at the core of its business and appeals to a whole range of clients; from those looking to migrate platforms to those looking for a full white label.
The provider’s commitment to pursuing true partnerships with its operating partners is reflected in its approach to holding regular dialogue with its clients about its platform and how its use and are now going a step further with an upcoming VIP client day. The latest initiative in its quest to offer the highest levels of service and responsiveness.
To be held from 27-28 September, Bede will be hosting a forum and feedback session for its clients at its headquarters in the heart of the North East, Newcastle, before treating them to a fine dining experience and the British Masters golf tournament at nearby Close House.
Michael Brady, CEO of Bede Gaming, said: “At Bede we have built our success on a foundation of treating our clients and suppliers as true partners, and ensuring that we take their feedback into account is a core part of our long-term growth strategy.
“This is the first, in what we hope will become a regular date in the calendar for all our partners.
“Hosting an event like this is reflective of our open approach to the thoughts and needs of our partners. We recognise speaking to our operators and suppliers on a regular basis is a key part in ensuring we continue to deliver products of the highest quality and shows our commitment to offering a first class service.”
Founded in 2012, Bede Gaming employs the latest in modern technology to provide secure, high-quality products to create a world class gaming experience.
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.