If the pace of the pre-coronavirus world was already fast, the luxury of time has now completely disappeared for iGaming operators trying to keep pace with the gambling industry’s digital and technological transformation.
Avraam Tosounidis, CFO and Co-Founder at Campeón Gaming Partners (CGP), looked at some of the new strategies and tech upgrades brought in by CGP this year, before assessing the underlying reasons why these changes would or might not ‘stick’ and their ability to meet new player demands.
Tosounidis admitted that the pandemic has brought about a faster pace of changes, adding that there is a link between the length of the crisis and permanence of changes to the business in terms of what constitutes the “new normal”.
“In situations of extreme uncertainty, leadership needs to learn quickly what is and is not working and why,” he explained. “This requires identifying and learning about unknown elements as quickly as they appear. Prior to the crisis, CGP had already been increasing the cadence of our digital and technological transformation.
“We started from the basics, remote workforces and automation. A common theme emerging is the widely held desire to build on the flexibility and diversity brought through remote working.
“Learning how to maintain productivity even as we return to office buildings after the lockdown ends, and even as we continue to automate activities, will be critical to capturing the most value from this real-world experiment that is occurring.”
Tosounidis expanded on some of these basics to outline more concrete changes to technology, investments in which “won’t be undone post-crisis” so will be there and ready if required.
This included the introduction of facial recognition, voice recognition, gesture controls, high definition displays, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
He added: “We are trying to make long-lasting changes to our platforms. In the coming times, we will see more technological advances in the gaming sector. The future development of the gaming industry will move towards greater integration of the real world.
“We will see more global AR games and gadgets, encouraging the new generation to immerse themselves in the online casino gaming world completely. Online gaming has come a long way, and gambling is not left far behind either. Now we have the ability to allow our players to enjoy a real casino-like feel.
“We are also constantly trying to enhance our data security. Recognising any security gaps that need immediate address in order to minimise the risk.”
Any security gaps extend, inevitably, beyond player data safeguards such as facial and voice recognition to the use of safer payment methods.
“Money flowing around land-based casinos makes players a prime target for fraud,” said Tosounidis. “Digital security techniques help to ensure that digital transactions are limited, and money laundering is fully eliminated.
“The blockchain technology has also made online transactions safe and secure. Using crypto wallets and cryptocurrencies allows for safe transactions, as no details of the player are disclosed. This has boosted up the customer base in online gambling, as they feel safer while depositing and withdrawing money. Moreover, by using cryptocurrency, players will not even have to pay any commission.”
Moving through the customer journey, data-driven decision making and artificial intelligence (AI) were highlighted by Tosounidis as crucial elements for delivering a stand-out UX.
“Customer centricity is crucial for those looking to succeed in the iGaming industry,” he said. “We are evolving big data technology due to its ability to extract, analyse and process data from large data volumes. In iGaming, data is used to determine a player’s in-game activities, preferences, and interactions with other participants.
“Apart from personalised experiences, big data succeeds in ensuring players engage in their favourite games, responsibly. There is no doubt that data has a huge role to play, and now, with AI and new machine learning techniques, data can be processed faster for informed decisions to be made on time.”
Picking up on the best use of AI, he continued: “It allows processes to occur in real-time, which assures gamers of positive experiences. The iGaming sector stands to gain from AI’s ability to make suggestions on customising games and which ones to play since this trend will lead to more creative innovations.
“Interestingly, AI has a security feature that helps regulate the industry. It can detect unusual behaviour to protect the software from hackers. Moreover, it complies with the latest standards and regulations.”
Moving boldly doesn’t mean moving thoughtlessly, said Tosounidis, who stressed that taking bold action and the ability to learn from such action are highly interrelated.
“The real-time ability to learn during a crisis is in fact the one ingredient that can turbocharge our ability to scale quickly,” he concluded. “If a silver lining can be found, it might be in the falling barriers to improvisation and experimentation that have emerged among players, operators, markets, regulators, and organisations.
“In this unique moment, companies can learn and progress more quickly than ever before. The ways they learn from and adjust to today’s crisis will deeply influence our performance in tomorrow’s changed world, providing the opportunity to retain greater agility as well as closer ties with our players, employees, and providers. Those that are successfully able to make gains ‘stick’ will likely be more successful during recovery and beyond.”