CONFERENCES

WGES 2016 Day 2 Recap

TAGs: Alon Tvina, Conference, DMI International, Johan Tornqvist, Magnus Jern, Marco Castaldo, Microgame, optimove, Play'n Go, Rebecca Liggero, Video, WGES, WGES 2016, World Gaming Executive Summit

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The World Gaming Executive Summit 2016 returned to the W Hotel in Barcelona for a second day of sessions, networking, poolside meetings and an evening packed with activities for delegates. The conference rooms were full and delegates were in and out all day, with a nice buzz surrounding day two from start to finish.

Several C-level panels took place today, featuring CEOs such as Playtech’s Mor Weizer, Kambi’s Kristian Nylen, Stanleybet’s Giovanni Garrisi, SBTech’s Richard Carter, BetConstruct’s Vahe Baloulian and the list goes on. Topics covered throughout the day ranged from industry consolidation to future opportunities in gaming, omni-channel experience, mobile gaming, innovation and more.

Without a doubt, omni-channel was one of the more popular topics throughout the day, with moderator Melissa Blau pointing out how the land-based industry has progressed from “should we have a digital strategy” to “how can we have a digital strategy”, completing the omni-channel experience for their customers.

Today’s “Creating a seamless omni-channel gambling experience” panel featured Carter, Baloulian and Marco Castaldo of Microgame. Carter started off by saying its a challenge to provide a solid omni-channel experience, especially when working with multiple suppliers. Castaldo agreed and said its all about integration and the platform is key, a platform that needs to be designed to slot all these technologies into. He said the probable answer is you either go to one supplier, or do it all yourself.

Castaldo also pointed out current regulation is not designed for omni-channel and the concept of a single wallet is beyond the scope of regulators. He said the same exact platform is not going to be able to work in every market as well, another challenge for global operators wishing to offer an omni-channel experience to all their customers.

Carter agreed and added he believes in the future regulators, over time, will come to see the advantages of omni-channel and make the appropriate changes for their licensees.

While land-based operators see an opportunity for rejuvenating their offers via an online strategy, a word of caution from Castaldo was not to get too intrusive in the player’s life as omni-channel further develops, as there could be a backlash.

This afternoon’s “How should land-based casinos implement a digital strategy” panel discussed a number of the same issues as above and Johan Tornqvist of Play’n GO said land based and digital is a new channel that needs to converge, but there are of course regulatory challenges.

In Tornqvist’s experience at Play’n GO, a supplier mostly working with the online gambling industry but also working with smaller terrestrial properties such as cruise ships and retail betting shops, he said having an online option for the land-based players has yielded positive results.

Today’s “Delivering a more engaging mobile experience” panel was delivered by Magnus Jern, President of DMI International. He said the 4th mobile revolution is here and we now have ubiquitous mobile computing, meaning, mobile is part of everything. “Technology adoption usually takes longer than we forecast but when it happens it goes faster than we expect”, he said.

Jern outlined five main areas of challenge for operators who wish to provide the best mobile experience to their customers:

1)One customer view with personalized content and timings. Customers expect brands and services to communicate in one voice via email, SMS, chat, push notifications, web, apps, etc. The communication must be personal, with the right content being delivered at the right time.

2)New generation media consumption. Brands must find new ways of engaging with users where they are. Follow what players are doing.

3)Privacy by design. Customers are willing to give away a lot for a great service (ie Google and Facebook). Design new services for privacy.

4)Disruption in payments. Mobile payments are finally becoming easier across the board, focus on making payments easier for the customer.

5)Divergence in device format. There are all sorts of different devices with different screen sizes these days, for example, smartphones, tablets, phablets, iPhone, desktop, etc. This can be challenging for developers.

In conclusion, Jern said its important to avoid “mobilizing” an online gambling business, rather operators must reinvent for mobile. He also emphasized the importance of putting the customer experience first and making sure users are involved with any and all testing processes along the way.

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