How will these measures change the way suppliers develop content once the market opens?
Tamas: The main thing that will change is that retention will have even more focus. It has, of course, been a hot topic in the slots market for quite some time, but providers will now try even harder to retain more players for longer. We have seen a trend of online gaming in general, especially in the regulated markets, moving in that direction anyway.
We would naturally like more customers to return over and over again. We want players to come back every week and spend within their budget and have a great time in the casino or on a particular game. That’s how the online business will thrive and grow in the long term.
Robert: Once the market has settled down and we are able to assess the impact of the changes, the restrictions may prove to have influence on suppliers’ attitudes towards the type of games they design. We could see a return to the low top prize/high hit rate scenario that was initially prevalent in other markets, particularly where there is a stake cap. Those erring on the side of caution will likely stick to the lower 250x, 500x and 1000x models instead of taking a risk on the 100,000x multipliers that are common in the region. Time will tell.
Mark: Game studios must take all compliance requirements seriously and establish internal processes to ensure these are prioritised. At iSoftBet, compliance is at the core of our development process to enable our partners to reach regulated markets in a swift and agile manner.
We continue to develop a portfolio to fulfil German market requirements and can adapt our features and functionalities in a configurable way to support any regulatory changes. Naturally, at any time there is a period where suppliers look to perfect their content so they can hit the ground running when the markets open, but if any changes are made, it will be to make compliance an even more vital part of the game development process.
Vsevolod: For slot developers who easily embrace regulation and flexibility, such as Playson, nothing changes. Established providers are already accustomed to developing content for multiple markets and will be in a position to tweak their processes accordingly to ensure the games are appealing for German players. The focus will always be on creating great games that are sure to resonate with players.
Alexia: In our case, agility and speed of response to market changes have always been a priority. Most of the new regulations are managed through API configuration solutions, meaning that no drastic product changes are required while the restrictions are effective for German players. This means we’re able to adapt quickly and remain ahead of changes – to the benefit of our customers and partners.
This is the starting point to address the short notice obligations, but a bigger change in the design and production of games may be required for long term success and we’ve been focused on local-market content provision for some time anyway. Since we’re only at the beginning of this learning curve, there are still several avenues to explore.
The product itself has to stand out even more given the constraints, but it is a natural consideration that taking a more holistic approach towards distributing the same game with variants or options in different markets is a must.
In any case, the objective of the new regime seems to be ensuring that all the stakeholders abide by a certain vision of online gambling and the rule-breakers are sifted-out immediately. The industry hope is still to achieve a more flexible regulation through collaboration in the medium-to-long term with the important common goal of player protection remaining at the forefront.