WGES 2017 Main Summit day 2 recap

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The second day of the WGES Main Summit took place today at the W in Barcelona, a continuation of networking, sharing of ideas and learning with the most senior executives in the gambling industry.  Last night’s official conference BBQ and party were both well received and likely resulted in a few late arrivals to the conference floor this AM.

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While today was certainly quieter than Day One, delegates enjoyed a number of sessions dedicated to the lottery side of the industry, player acquisition strategies, retention, an inspiring keynote speech and closing poolside G&Ts.

Marcus Geiss, CEO of Navidad Foundation, has had years of experience working in the lottery industry and participated in today’s “Lotteries do not have to be boring” panel alongside Andreas Kotter, CEO of West Lotto.

Despite the majority of his peers, Geiss believes millennials should not be the target group of lotteries as these customer groups are looking for instant entertainment.  “Gambling is entertainment.  Lotteries are a “dream” and the dream lasts until the next draw- they are a completely different story than gambling”, he said.  He added as we become older, we move away from spending money on entertainment and spend on the dream, for our kids, for our family.

“As we get older, lottery becomes an interesting product.  I think this will continue to the future, so I don’t see this as a big risk for the future”, he said.

Kotter talked on the importance of shifting the focus to customers which sounds easy, but is a huge shift for traditional lottery organizations.  He believes in five years time lotteries will still be relevant, seeing as they are so deeply rooted in societies and very well accepted.

The importance of highlighting winners of huge lottery jackpots was covered as well and according to Geiss, its difficult to win the money, but there are winners.  “You have to shout out the stories when people win…without knowing about winners, people will think its not possible.  You need winners & success stories”, he said.

Today’s keynote speech, “Coping with Generational Change” was delivered by Connie Dorrestijn of Holland FinTech.  Dorrestijn talked on where the FinTech and gambling industries intersect and said the gambling industry reminds her of the banking industry back in 2008- dominated by mostly white men and a few females, with a bad reputation.

In 2008, the banks were in the bad book.  In the gambling world, there is regulation, but the outside world sees gambling as “bad”, she said.  Work with regulators to make that reputation far more acceptable.  Regulation is an opportunity. What people don’t know they don’t love.  Open up more and you’ll be loved, she said.

Dorrestijn advised the audience to avoid focusing on age groups such as “millennials” and said “it’s the behavior, not the age” and said to “focus more on the experience than on the technique of the offering”.

She pointed out how the gambling industry in general has a lot of money that they’re sitting on, so the motivation to make changes and innovate is not at a high, even though it should be.  Dorrestijn covered the importance of studying the movements of disruptive and said “Blockchain is what internet was before we had a browser”, both full of promise and full of challenges.

When it comes to delivering the best product to our customers, Dorrestijn advised to use story telling to gain customer insight as opposed to surveys.  “Ask customers how something made them feel- how did you feel playing the game today, how did you feel in the casino…you will get much better feedback that way”, she said.

Helen Walton of Gamevy participated in a number of sessions today as a chair and moderator and really enjoyed her time at WGES this year.  Walton closed out the event by encouraging delegates to take what they have learned over the past three days and make an effort to actually act on it, as our tendencies as execs are to get wrapped up in our day-to-day work load when we return to our desks.  Unless we make a commitment to learn from events like WGES and make changes, our industry will not be able to innovate, she said. spoke with WGES organizer Adam Shaw at the conclusion of the event who confirmed we’ll be back at the W in Barcelona for WGES 2018.  Shaw emphasized the unique opportunity WGES provides for senior executives in the gambling industry who wish to learn and network with their peers in a relaxed environment, something Terrapinn has succeeded in delivering for their delegates over the past ten years.


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