Q&A with Simon Hammon: How online casinos choose slot games
Q&A with Simon Hammon: How online casinos choose slot games
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Published with the permission of Find My UK Casino.

To get a better understanding of the process operators go through when building their online casino game lobbies, we spoke to Simon HammonChief Product Officer at Relax Gaming.

What do online casinos look for in the games they stock?

Hammon: Considerations vary depending on the brand, but most operators share common views. Providing quality and differentiation are key decision points as they are fundamental to creating an online casino experience that is identifiable with the casino brand and that customers trust.

With so much content for players to choose from, operators look for games that will stand out and resonate either on design, mechanics or with local preferences.

This essentially means that operators seek variety and quality in the games they stock, but always keep in mind the preferences of their players.

Some new casinos, for example, are more focused on online slots while other sites may focus more on live casino games instead. It just depends on their brand and what their players like. 

How do online casinos choose which providers to work with?

Operators seek to offer games from a wide range of providers, including big name developers like Big Time Gaming and Red Tiger to up and coming developers such as Fantasma Games.

This means players can access chart topping titles such as Bonanza and Pirate’s Plenty, as well as exciting new games that offer loads of excitement and big-win potential.

It is often the case that once a provider is added to an online casino game lobby, so long as its games prove popular among players, additional titles from that provider will be added.

Hammon: Often a decision to take content is rooted in familiarity of the supplier brand, particularly if they have an established history of delivering good content.

To gain the attention of online casinos, new suppliers need to offer a game or style of content that differentiates from what is already available and resonates with the online casino’s players.

That being said, if there is no buy-in from the operator, even with an integration into a big casino, a great game can be buried too far down a long list of titles to ever fulfil its potential.

Hammon raises an interesting point about where operators decide to place games in their lobbies – again, this is not done at random and is based on the popularity of a game.

But how do online casinos know the games they offer will be popular with their players?

Online casinos use instinct and data to pick out the best slots. Slot and table game providers are constantly innovating to design and develop the next blockbuster slot that will top the charts for weeks and months on end.

This sees them experiment with online slot math and volatility, while also working on unique bonus features that take excitement and big win potential to the next level.

But this is risky for suppliers and operators alike – what if they design a game and an operator stocks it but ultimately it proves to be a flop?

Hammon: Operators have a deep knowledge of their players' preferences and with the right data points, a supplier can develop a solid understanding of perceived popularity by player groups.  

Ultimately, the players are the real critics and naturally, through your successes and failures, you get a good feel for what will and won’t work. But there is no golden formula for a hit game.

 How do online casinos add games to their lobbies?

There are several different ways online casinos can integrate slot, jackpot, table, instant win and live dealer games into their lobbies, but they all require the use of a remote game server (RGS).

Games are built on the provider’s RGS, which holds the logic of the game, and is then delivered to the operator as a packaged game ID that then works with their payment and bonus systems.

Online casinos can either undertake integrations with individual providers, or they can work with a content aggregator to add games from a range of developers via a single integration.

Relax Gaming develops its own in-house content but also aggregates games from other studios which it provides to online casino sites such as PlayOJOLucky Vegas and AHTI Games.

 Why do online casinos use game aggregators?

Hammon: This is a combination of commercial and technical viability. Operators may often want to trial, showcase or use new content to support strategic ambitions such as diversifying their portfolio. Using an aggregator can often mean quicker access to such content, paired with commercial simplicity. The operator will decide how a supplier can best complement their strategy. Ultimately, content is king, and many operators are using a selective approach to offer differentiation. However, in certain markets with diverse player preferences, it can make sense to take full catalogues of quality content as a range of content may resonate more widely. 

This is why most UK online casinos and slot sites offer a provider’s full suite of games as it means they can meet all of their players’ different preferences.

What are slot game aggregators and how do they benefit players?

Slot game aggregators allow online casinos to access the widest possible range of quality content and have that content delivered via a single integration.

They do this because it means they can offer players more choice, and also to help them stand out from their rivals by offering more games or stocking new and exciting providers.

Hammon: Players want to see and experience new content and concepts. Just like with any other entertainment sector, gaining access to new ideas and content that offers something different to what one is used to keeps the industry fresh and exciting.

So next time you are playing your favourite slot games, you now know how they were chosen and how they got from the provider to the casino.