SBC Business Correspondent Mark McGuinness caught up with Finnish based gaming platform specialist’s Martin Prantner on his views as to why established operators could benefit from running their own independent platform.
Martin is CEO of Finnish based Finnplay Technologies, an independent platform provider who delivers complete customised gaming solutions. Martin holds an MBA from Cranfield and is an i-gaming industry veteran with 13 years relevant experience.
MM: Why do you think operators select only a few vendors for their gaming technology?
Martin: The iGaming industry has grown quickly. Most gaming companies face a constant barrage of changing regulations, compliance with ever growing scrutiny from governments on topics such as consumer protection and social responsibility. Combine this with an increasing tax burden on gaming revenue and downward pressure on gross margin; it’s not hard to understand why operators perhaps select more known vendors with profit generating games.
However this has perhaps come at the expense of innovation and control of the platform. There is an oversupply of technology, with similar gaming content being offered thus restricting choice for both the iGaming operators and their gaming customers. They are therefore competing for market share by stealing share from their competitors as against growing the market or looking towards lucrative underserved niches.
MM: So why should operators consider switching to an independent solution?
Martin: In an ever increasing competitive landscape, our belief is that differentiation and innovation have slowed due lack of platform independence. Gambling consumers are becoming more sophisticated, more discerning and demanding to whom they spend their gaming money with. Indeed in the eyes of the gambling public, gaming brands pretty much appear to have the same ‘skin’ and front-end product features and thus only really compete on promotional aspects of the digital marketing mix, by offering the largest free money bonuses, which can’t be sustainable in the long term for operators and their platform providers if on a revenue share or earn-out.
Therefore platform independence comes with the ability to control the company’s destiny and compete. As against being within a pecking order within a larger supplier where layers of account management, means deployment to market comes in much longer time scales meaning missed market opportunities.
MM: Isn’t there risks switching suppliers and a huge capital expense?
Martin: Innovation and owning your own independent gaming platform shouldn’t come with the mind-set of that it equals a massive capital investment and that it is a riskier business model. Nor should it be the case that, ‘we need to select a vendor with a track record in the space’. Or that it means that you may have an inferior product with which to compete. It should come with the mind-set of innovation equals the ability to differentiate your brand and react to market needs quickly. From a commercial view, the businesses owners or stakeholders should look to retain more of the gaming revenue flow which can be reinvested into research and product development pipeline.
The majority of independent platform providers have built scalable, modular open source approved technology ecosystems. This allows the brand owner to select the best of breed games available in the marketplace. In marketing terms this could mean the brand has access to the best 3D slot games available in the industry. This then removes another perceived barrier that if an existing operator switches platform providers, that they immediately lose access to the best mainstream games or products. It means alternative products like digital currencies can be integrated into the platform, thus allowing much needed competitive advantage quickly.
MM: What does the future hold in your opinion?
Martin: Technology and innovation are the lifeblood of our industry. They have gotten us to where we are now. They are crucial for the continued development and its future success.
Operators need to react and deploy technology and new products very quickly before the opportunity with the market evaporates. Independent vendors are perhaps more entrepreneurial in their spirit and outlook to embrace new technology solutions quickly into the marketplace for the benefit of their clients. Therefore selecting or partnering with an independent platform for a modest investment could be viewed as creating a testing ground in which to market test new ideas and products quickly.
Martin Prantner -CEO Finnplay Technologies