iGaming Leaders RoundTable Part 2: Understanding The True Value of Streaming Platforms
Streaming platforms, indubitably, have provided the iGaming industry with fresh opportunities for player engagement and growth. They have changed player expectations – not just in the way people consume gaming content, but also in how people create new revenue opportunities.
Now, in Part 2 of our double-header RoundTable session, iGF discusses with its panel of experts how new technologies in iGaming–coupled with evolving consumer habits–are impacting a range of verticals. We explore regulatory considerations and, most importantly, the exciting new types of gaming products that are expected to emerge on the market as a result.
- Max Francis, CEO and Founder at Black Cow Technology
- Troy Paul, Co-founder and CEO of SGG Media
- Tereza Melicharkova, Head of Marketing at Swintt/Glitnor Group
- Michael Pedersen, CCO at Livespins
How necessary is regulation in streaming? What is the public perception of this form of gaming, compared to other sectors within gaming?
Max: “In my opinion, regulation is critical. Unless you’re going to ask streaming platforms to KYC their users properly to ensure only those over the age of 18 are accessing casino and slot streams, you need to create rules around what can be said and what can be done. Without regulations in place–even if they are light-touch–, it would be almost impossible to protect vulnerable players from the content being streamed. Some streamers are just looking to make as much money as quickly as possible, with no consideration for being responsible. As we have seen across this sector, sensible and proportionate regulation can underpin long-term success for everyone in the loop, including platform providers and streamers.”
Troy: “Regulation is important, and platforms need to make sure they are not promoting irresponsible gambling. Twitch got it right by making sure that all streamers are representing licensed casinos.”
Tereza: “I think further regulation for streaming is absolutely necessary, and I expect there will be major developments in this area as the format becomes more popular. At Swintt, we really place a major emphasis on Responsible Gaming and upholding the reputation of our brand, so we try to make sure that we’re collaborating with the kind of streamers that truly represent our values. Ultimately, these streamers are acting as an extension of your company; and as brand ambassadors you have to ensure that they’re encouraging betting in a responsible and sustainable way. As our primary focus is to protect the players, what we really want to show is the entertainment value of our games and how much fun you can have playing them, so we really want to work with streamers that convey this message rather than the gambling side. We don’t encourage players to bet outside their comfort zone.”
Michael: “This has been a hot topic even before Twitch took the decision to [sanction] a handful of casinos from its platform last year. It’s worth pointing out that Twitch did not ban casino and slot streaming, just a small number of casino operators it felt were not using its platform responsibly.
“Streaming is a way of consuming online slots and casino play, so regulating streaming itself is probably easier said than done. Of course, it is possible to safeguard players and that’s why Livespins sits within the casino lobby. This means that players have access to all of the Responsible Gambling and safe gaming tools that operators are required to offer players under their international and local licences. We take this a step further by ensuring that our streamers know how to stream responsibly and ensure that players are always having fun.”
Which other new forms of gaming do you see being successful in the coming years?
Max: “Multiplayer games will absolutely dominate online casino game lobbies. Right now we see it as a huge untapped market, alongside esports. These verticals are growing at lightning speed in the Far East, with momentum behind these verticals already heading west and into the established markets of Europe. Of course these games will need to be offered within robust regulatory frameworks so that players are protected to the same standards as when spinning the reels on slots, but so long as these frameworks are in place these will be the verticals of growth in the coming years.”
Troy: “Exchange wagering is something that has proven incredibly popular in Europe. This is when players effectively bet against one another on the event outcome. This has just started to happen in New Jersey and, given the player base in the US, this has the potential to be huge.”
Tereza: “As these questions have rightly identified, streaming–and the bet behind and staking options that come with it–is a form of gaming that we expect to become increasingly successful in the coming years. Being able to watch a streamer and share the wins with them is certainly a very interesting trend, as it moves traditional verticals like casino and poker away from pure gambling and makes them more of an entertainment format. As such, we certainly expect streamed betting to become a lot more common. But another form of gaming we also expect to see take off soon is social gaming. When you go to a land-based casino, the social aspect of talking to players and dealers, and sharing the highs-and-lows together, is obviously a huge part of the overall experience.
“In my opinion, the goal of online casino has always been to emulate this communal feeling in the comfort of your own home. With this in mind, I expect we’ll see more live, multiplayer games that connect players and allow them to interact and win together being released in the coming months, with live slots being just one example.”
Michael: “Crash games are taking the sector by storm. These fast-paced titles deliver action-packed gameplay and are highly social and have been extremely successful in certain markets. Skill-based games are also gaining popularity: Players are increasingly looking for more control over the outcome of the game and no longer want to sit in isolation hitting the spin button.”
What needs to happen for these forms of gaming to become more mainstream?
Max: “It’s sensible regulation, as mentioned in the answer above. Specifically, for esports, combining this with tournaments being more widely broadcast on TV and using the latest technologies to monitor games for match-fixing and other fraudulent activity will really catapult it into the mainstream.
“When it comes to multiplayer, it boils down to developing and delivering quality games for them to really fly. And that’s exactly what we focus on at Black Cow – helping operators and providers to deliver these kinds of products.”
Troy: “It is already happening. We are seeing more and more sports betting products and content being created every day. At the moment, it is just an issue of licensing. As more states start to see the benefit of it, so too will more licence it. And the more successful and mainstream it will become.”
Tereza: “I think the answer to this question is one that applies for the entire field of online gambling – and that is that in order to become more mainstream, we have to change the reputation of the industry and how it is perceived in general. I think all online gambling companies–be they operators, suppliers or affiliates–have a duty to think more responsibly in terms of how they develop and distribute games, as well as how they conduct their marketing and promote their services. Anything that we do has to be sustainable and follow the mindset of promoting responsible gambling, so it’s essential that companies work hand-in-hand with the regulators to find the best way to ensure players see gambling as an entertainment rather than a means to an income.
“I think as we get better at this and reshape how online gambling is viewed in the public eye, we’ll remove some of the stigma and people will start to appreciate that it’s just another way to have fun – and streaming will certainly be a big part of that.”
Michael: “These game types are already on the cusp of entering the mainstream and, as the worlds of mobile/video gaming and gambling become more intertwined, they will be more widely played both by new audiences coming to online casino for the first time and existing players looking for fresh experiences.
“This is exactly what we have seen with Livespins: We appeal just as much to new players that are coming more from the world of streaming, as we do to those who have been engaged with a casino brand for some time.”