The first day of the last EiG (RIP) took place today at the Arena Berlin with two more days to follow before the event officially becomes part of iGB Live! in 2018. This year’s focus for EiG is “Generation Hybrid”, an investigation of how to take our operations to the next level utilizing the latest developments such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain, social advancements, engaging millennials and more.
As usual, EiG’s vibe is intimate, open and encourages participation from the audience- it’s an event built for the exchange of ideas and discussion. Sessions are split into three tracks, “NEO 2027”, “Legacy 2017” and “Moment”, covering topics pertinent for the future, the present and some that may full under the radar, respectively. These tracks are delivered on open air stages across the expo floor, all visible and easily accessible from the booths and networking areas.
Today’s “Opportunities in Africa” session featured Christian Tirabassi of Ficom Leisure, Yahya Wane of Moobifun and moderator John Kamara of Global Gaming Africa. Wane kicked off the discussion by pointing out how 90% of internet traffic in Africa comes from mobile phones, emphasizing the importance of operators understanding this jaw-dropping figure before making any moves into the market.
All panelists touched on the importance of finding solid local partners and reminded the audience Africa is a huge market with many different cultures, languages, governments, regulations and so on.
“My advice would be, if you want to go in Africa, to be able to give yourself all the means to understand your market, understand the trends that are marking Africa and to realize that Africa is not just one big country with a president called Nelson Mandela”, Wane told CalvinAyre.com.
“Its 54 different countries, different jurisdictions, different regulation, different rules and different arguments that you can put on the table. So get the right partners onsite, get the right local partners get the right technology which is mobile and then you’re fit to go to Africa”, he added.
“The time is now”, he said.
Over at the Neo 2027 stage we sat in on a panel discussing the developments in Artificial Intelligence and how the technology will change the face of the online gambling industry. Speaker John O’Malia of Vaix.AI explained how the combination of personalization and content is key for today’s consumer and AI is the technology making this possible.
“When we speak to a customer, instead of sending them generic emails of action that’s happening at the weekend, ‘bet now’, we like to find a way to speak to their existing preferences and the things that they like to see”, O’Malia told CalvinAyre.com.
“So the games that they might like to bet on, the players that they favor, and find a way to wrap that into a more compelling offer. That’s very effective it tends to lead to higher player engagement and more turnover for the sportsbook and more fun for the player”, he added.
For operators who are looking to implement AI into their strategy, O’Malia advised them to start experimenting immediately so they’ll be an early mover and therefore have an edge. “AI’s going to re-shape the landscape”, he said.
To alleviate fears of professionals who are afraid of losing jobs to AI, O’Malia explained how there is still a human element that must be involved in marketing and brand strategy, for example and said AI is a tool that will help us do our jobs better. While its true AI will allow for the automation of tasks that have traditionally been completed manually, as businesses grow with the use of AI, there will be a need for more employees, so net net there’s a positive, he said.
One of today’s more unique findings was the presence of kittens at the Endorphina booth and Jan Urbanec explained the motivation behind bringing in the cute little creatures.
Urbanec said there were three main reasons justifying the marketing move, first of all to promote the soon-to-be-released “AristoCats” slots game Endorphina has up their sleeve. Second reason was to provide an opportunity for delegates to play with the kittens and enjoy a few moments of relaxation in an otherwise draining conference environment. The third reason was to support a Czech-based animal charity by collecting donations from delegates.
EiG has traditionally provided a nice home for regulators and jurisdictions such as the MGA, Alderney and Isle of Man. This year we caught up with Toni Uri, the new head of eGaming for the Isle of Man Government. Uri explained how he has spent over 20 years working in the gambling industry for the likes of IGT and G-Tech and is very much enjoying his move to “the other side” so far.
“We’ve been licensing some of the new technologies in the new gaming aspects, we have a Blockchain lottery that’s just come out, we have ICOs that have come in for casino coin, we’ve licensed eSports and skins betting and we’re working very close with our regulators who are putting together the framework to make sure these are well regulated and well-structured for the island. So its new technologies moving forward”, he shared.