The Online Bingo and Slots Summit has served as the annual gathering point for the online bingo industry for over a decade, holding its relevance as a “must attend” on bingo professionals’ calendars.
This year the event took place at London’s Mermaid Centre and attracted dozens of delegates, all with the common goal of discussing the latest and greatest in online bingo and enjoying networking opportunities with friends and peers.
A series of panels and sessions took place throughout the day, broken up by lunch, coffee and refreshment breaks. Topics covered included everything from live bingo to the future of slots and mini-games, integrity, compliance, product innovation, marketing strategy and more.
Michael Brady of Bede Gaming, long-time iGaming professional and attendee of every single Online Bingo Summit to date, served as the moderator of today’s “Product as a Priority” panel.
“I do think [the Online Bingo and Slots Summit is] a really valuable event. There’s a lot of old friends in the room and a lot of people who have worked really hard to build businesses in the online bingo space”, Brady exclusively told CalvinAyre.com.
“Some of these people here I see once a year, so I find that really good. Its great to meet with people who have had recent successes, have sold businesses, are building new businesses”, he added.
“Its quite evident that social responsibility and the increasing pressure of regulation and compliance is a big theme. Every single operator is feeling it, every single technology provider is feeling it. As much as we absolutely welcome that, we see the trend as good, there’s no doubt that innovation has been a little bit stagnated because of the efforts to retain compliance and it times interpreted and implemented against quite vague standards”, he said.
Despite regulation and compliance limitations, innovation is still happening in our space and according to Bede, lottery and the US market are several areas to watch.
“There’s a lot of innovation around the lottery product and around the bingo product. And I think that innovation has come from the emergence of lotteries within the regulated markets that are opening up”, he said.
“We are looking at the US market, I can’t say too much, but we’re making some waves already and I think over the next couple of months Bede will probably arrive on the scene in quite a big way across North America”, Bede added.
Simon Collins of Gaming Realms, a pioneer in the online bingo space, participated on Bede’s panel and talked on the success of free-to-play social games on mobile and how the bingo industry can learn from them.
“I think one of the common themes seems to be in the new games that you see is massively multiplayer, so Clash of Clowns, Fortnight…it’s a multiplayer experience. So what we think we need to do is look at some of these technologies and capabilities and start to build out content that fits”, Collins told CalvinAyre.com.
“The challenge is that Google and Amazon and the other app stores are sometimes a bit cautious around real money gaming so we’ve got to be careful about which territories and which markets we look at and that restricts the innovation a little bit, but I still think we can learn from some of these great companies on how to build a more successful business for ourselves”, he added.
Today’s “Marketing Strategy in a new wave of compliance” panel covered topics such as compliance headaches and how they have impacted wagering requirements and the general direction of online bingo businesses, retention vs. FTDs, how compliance with GDPR has impacted budgets and strategy and the impact of all of the above on affiliates.
“Compliance and GDPR have changed many aspects of marketing, both acquisition marketing and CRM, but ultimately most of these changes are to the benefit of the consumer”, panelist Allen Turner of BGO Group told CalvinAyre.com.
Platinum Sponsor Chris Dean of Yggdrasil delivered a presentation this afternoon and talked on how innovation is inspired within his organization and the advantages of being a “mobile first” online bingo operator.
“I think there is maybe a bit of an unfair advantage with us coming later to bingo than maybe the others, in that the [mobile] technology has improved and we think the time is right”, Dean shared with CalvinAyre.com.
“We can develop a product that does give you a good game experience, you’re able to have very engaging chats and sochat space in many games as well, all in one. So I think it’s the evolution of technology, I think it’s a little bit of innovation as well, on our side, some of the chat features and some of the mini-games as well”, he said.
When asked about their Platinum sponsorship of the Online Bingo and Slots Summit and his experience at the event today, Dean had nothing but positive feedback to share.
“Its been really good, this is obviously the premier event for bingo in the gaming calendar. We’re bringing this new product to the market, we thought it was a great opportunity to introduce it to the community here and we’re very proud and happy to be joining the bingo community”, he said.